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44 A Marco Island Makeover

Mark P. Finlay Architects bring timeless sophistication and oceanic light to this Marco Island penthouse Story by Anastasia Storer | Photography by Kim Sargent

60 A Bewitching Backyard Casts a Spell

Lisa Gilmore Design brings “livable glamour� to this Brightside home, creating magical spaces both inside and out Story by Anastasia Storer Photography by Amy Lamb/Native House Photography

74 Coastal Refinement

A full renovation of this waterfront condo reveals a warm and sophisticated vacation home Story by Emily Ballard | Photography by David Palermo

84 Empyrean Elegence

Interior designer Rhett Josey gives this Bonita Springs home a dazzling remodel, turning it into the star of the neighborhood Story by Anastasia Storer | Photography by Neil Landino

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Editors Letter Ask the Experts Kitchens Profile

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Editor-in-Chief Matthew J. Kolk mattkolk@me.com 203-820-1092




Managing Editor James Eagen


PREMIER ISSUE FALL 2017 Contributing Photographers

Contributing Writers Deborah Brannon, Lisa Gant, Susan Heller, Lollie Mathews, Jennifer Jackson-Outlaw, Jessica Rivest, Kait Shea Jane Beiles, Michael Biondo, Phillip Ennis, Tria Giovan, John Gruen, John Hannon, Paul Johnson, Neil Landino, Mark La Rosa, Tim Lee, Daniel Milstein, Janice Parker, Durston Saylor, Debra Somerville, Eric Striffler, Jonathan Wallen, Woodruff/Brown Photography

Matthew Kolk

Partner and Editor in Chief


itchens have always been known as the “Heart of the Home” and the “Nerve Center of the Family.” With this in mind, we have produced for you our First Annual Kitchen + Bath Issue.

Various industry professionals have shared with us some pretty amazing projects in a wide range of styles, some will surely inspire you when making the decision to either remodel or design your new kitchen or bath.

Technology, new designs and a myriad of new materials are being introduced daily and as a follow up to this story, we are currently producing a story for our Summer issue, in which we will be sharing some of the latest and greatest that we had seen at the annual Kitchen and Bath Show(KBIS) in partnership with some of our valued advertising partners. We look forward to sharing these exciting and innovative new products with you shortly. We hope that you enjoy this issue as much as we have putting it together for you.

Matthew Kolk


Partner and Editor in Chief

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Copy Editor Elena Serocki Graphic & Web Design East Coast Home Publishing

Publisher Shelley E. McCormick smccormick@eastcoasthomepublishing.com 203-545-7091 Account Managers Alessandra Flanagan Patrick Giddings Lollie Mathews Business Development John Oleynick East Coast Home Publishing 8136 Gerbera Drive #7203 Naples, Florida 34113 Fax: 203-286-1850


Gulf Coast Design + Decor is published four issues per year. To subscribe: www.eastcoasthomepublishing.com; Subscriptions: one year, $28; two years, $50. Back issues can be purchased at www.eastcoasthomepublishing.com. For editorial inquiries: Editor, Gulf Coast Design + Decor 8136 Gerbera Drive #7203 Naples, Florida 34113 or e-mail: mattkolk@ To learn about about our fabulous new title, please contact Sh me.com. For advertising inquiries: Please call Shelley McCormick at 203-545-7091. ReproMcCormick, Partner of East Coast Home Publishing at: 203-545 duction whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All projects described in this publicaor for smccormick@eastcoasthomepublishing.com tion are for private, noncommercial use only. No rights commercial use or exploitation are given or implied. The opinions expressed by writers for articles published by Gulf Coast Design + Decor are not necessarily those of the magazine.

is proud to be new members of the C

Over 15 Years of Publishing Excellence

EAST COAST HOME PUBLISHING 8136 Gerbera Drive #7203 Naples, Florida 34113 eastcoasthomepublishing.com


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NAP 239

NAPLES 239.262.7677

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DELRAY BEACH 561.243.0799

SARASOTA 941.316.0936


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Special Dads Deserve a Special Garage. Give One To Yours This Father’s Day

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We appreciate your desire for


You expect no less than renown and achievement. When you engage professionals to design and create your custom home. To reimagine and remodel a single room or the entire structure. And to maintain the lasting beauty and integrity of a residence that expresses your singular aesthetic. We’re proud to have devoted over three decades to astonishing the most discerning clients with our capabilities in custom home building, renovation, and estate management. Share your most extraordinary wishes with us. We’re uniquely qualified to fulfill them.

b c b ho me s .com

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239-643-1004 3696 Enterprise Avenue Suite 100 Naples, Florida 34104

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Shop Local Naples Leather & Fine Furnishings presents to you the trendsetters in accessories for this spring. Subtle elegance paired with vibrancy will refresh you interiors without taking away from the space. Lets let the sun in.

Cloud Lamp The double-thread nature of the silk makes it elegant and durable. Slubs and irregular threads on the shade are genuinely natural and distinctive, with slight variation from piece to piece.

Trendy Hip New Age in Gold 100% Cotton

Natural Leather and Hide Hand cut natural hair on hide and leather pieces skillfully sewn to create an elegant, high fashion pillow.

Natural Leather and Hide Hand cut natural hair on hide and leather pieces skillfully sewn to create an elegant, high fashion pillow.

Christopher Guy Wool & Silk Collection ”I was fortunate enough to visit the lifelong residence of Coco Chanel located at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris, which remains in its original state. Within the house, the Camellia, Coco’s signature flower, is featured as a small detail in her treasured Chinese lacquer panels. Her signature flower is incorporated into many of my own designs in homage to her work, including this rug. “ — Christopher Guy




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Kathy Ireland Pillows Hampton in Silver

Lazer Cut These exquisitely detailed designs are laser cut from genuine leather and perfectly finished with a metallic foil treatment; enhancing its elegance, while creating a look that is both vintage and contemporary.

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Prismatic This amazingly artistic rug could adorn a wall as easily as a floor, with its modern abstract design and rich use of blue and grey hues. This hand-tufted rug features a thick, luxurious wool blend pile, carved for added dimension and texture for the perfect combination of durability, comfort, and artistic appeal.

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Fern Schmidt of Norris

How long have you been in real estate? I started my career in commercial real estate in Atlanta when I was young, and when I relocated to Naples, Florida, in 1999, I began working in residential homes. I’ve always had a passion for real estate. There’s a satisfaction you get from helping someone find what they need or desire within or without a budget. Knowing this is usually their biggest investment, I am always honored to be part of this life event with them. When did you get involved in the interior design and furnishing industry? That was four years ago. In my mind I still consider myself as being in the real estate industry, but as a “matchmaker.” Let me explain: a realtor or sales associate finds their clients a home, but the last step is making it their home. I step in with the relationships I have within the industry. I learn about their buyers, and then set them up with a designer who will meet their needs and, just as important, provide a wonderful and memorable experience. A buyer may ask to interview many designers before making a selection, so it’s important that I whittle down the choices to meet the buyer’s needs so time is not wasted. The same concept goes with builders: the idea is to match a designer who will fit the builder’s needs, creating a model or spec home that will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers by working together. There are many factors to be considered—the lot, the surrounding and/or development of the environment, the lifestyle, the buyer—that will be incorporated in the inspired design and quality furnishings that enhance the overall look to match its price range. Do you compete with realtors? No, I will not do this, and I keep my license inactive. Not in any way do I want to compete or do referrals for sales. If I learn that a client needs a realtor, I will suggest a few realtors who specialize in that area, but under no circumstances do I get compensated with a referral fee. The industry knows this, so I am able to know what is going on in the community, especially new projects, the wave of the market, etc. I am a huge cheerleader for the industry, and I get excited with their sales and successes as though they were my own. They understand that I am not selling to them, but actually providing a service. They have the confidence of knowing that their buyers are taken care of long after closing, and that reflects back to them. I get excited with builders when a model or spec home has become a point of interest to realtors and the public to sell quickly. This inspires the builder to work on the next project, and my goal is to continue working with the builder on future projects. Do you deal only with realtors and industry builders? No. I work with anyone in the real estate industry who has a client who needs design and quality furnishing services. This can be a mortgage broker, insurance company, title company or architect. Do you consider yourself part of the real estate and building industry team? Most definitely! When realtors go to get certified for being specialized in luxury living, a designer is mentioned as being a part of their team. I work with those in the industry to find the perfect designer for their team. This means not only styles, budgets, new construction and remodels, but finding the perfect fit for personalities, working together with methods and schedules, and building those true, creative and sincere relationships. When I work with builders, it is gratifying to know the selections and furnishings of the model or spec home are a tangible part of the growth of our communities and set a standard of lifestyle.

Photography by Neil Landino


What is the difference between working with realtors and working with designers? Business-wise, you will find there are more similarities than differences between the two. Each realtor has to promote himself or herself, just as a designer needs to, even if they work with a brokerage or design/furnishing firm. Their goal is the same: to provide unique, topnotch services to grow their business with referrals. If the buyer/client isn’t happy with the whole process, he can be reluctant to jump into the experience again. The goal is to have such satisfied buyers/clients that they are excited to celebrate the results of the process not only with their friends and family, but with everyone who was there every step of the way!


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What has been your experience working with designers? It has been an eye-opening, educational experience that has lifted my mind and imagination. I see details I didn’t see so much when I would show properties— for instance, the importance of backgrounds, textures, the numerous products and selections, and more of the cosmetic part that it takes to create the lifestyle the homeowners want to call their own. I’ve become aware of what the designer needs to know: the education they must keep up with regarding textiles, furnishings and appliances; the numerous vendors they must contact with knowledge of products, so they can provide clients with what they desire; and the relationships they need with vendors, builders and contractors to make deadlines. Designers must keep up with the latest trends and products to create the style of the client’s dreams, whether it be traditional, contemporary, coastal chic or modern. There are different variations of vocabulary for each, which usually depends on where the client is from or has traveled. Do you enjoy what you do? Yes, very much so, to the point that I keep up with everything! Recently I expanded my career by joining Norris Furniture and Interiors as director of business development, working with four locations from Naples to Sarasota. My home base office is in the corporate office in Fort Myers, and I travel up and down the Gulf Coast to see clients face to face. I truly care about the people in this industry, plus their buyers/clients. In my mind they are not just business partnerships, but extended family. Whatever I can do to be a part of their success is gratifying. I’ve been in Southwest Florida for almost 20 years, and am very much a part of the growing communities, supporting charitable events and local businesses.

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What is the best advice you can give a potential buyer? I always say, “Hire a specialized realtor and designer,” even if you are looking at new product and development. Interview a few to see if they understand your needs, and find out about their credentials. Take the time to do this because it is one of your biggest—if not the biggest—investment. I would always look for a full-time realtor who is a resident in the area you are considering. This realtor will have the most knowledge of what is happening in the industry; he or she is well informed about new and upcoming developments that you may not be aware before they are marketed, from single-family homes to high-rise condos. It’s important to find out if the realtor has developed a real team around them, including a mortgage company for financing approval, insurance agents, title company, real estate attorney, architects, builders and designers. The designer will save money in the long run by making the right choices at the beginning, avoiding wasted time and money on costly errors. He or she needs to be brought in before closing to assist with new construction selections, and—for a smoother transition if you’re furnishing a complete home—can start on the interiors and furnishings before closing with a floor plan, even if you’re bringing only a few items to the new home. Resources: Norris Furniture & Interiors Fern Schmidt 14125 South Tamiami Trail Fort Myers, Florida 33912 239.690.9844 norrisfurniture.com

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MCS CLOSETS & MORE MCS Closets & More has several divisions; can you please tell us a little about each one? MCS specializes in handling all facets of cabinetry, including kitchens, bathrooms, utilities, custom built-ins, full closet systems, garages and outdoor kitchens. With a full staff of designers and unprecedented follow-up service and warranty work, we can do everything from adding a few laundry uppers or putting in a simple closet system to planning and installing full custom designs for multimillion-dollar homes. What trends are you seeing in kitchen cabinetry? Some of the latest trends in cabinetry include ultramodern looks with fully integrated appliances, as well as contemporary looks with just about any finish that even the most discerning clients will love. We specialize not only in creating truly spectacular designs, but in making sure kitchens and bathrooms are exceptionally functional for the perfect Florida lifestyle. Which trends should homeowners avoid? I do not believe there is a trend for clients to avoid. Each of our clients has a different taste, which we cater to on a personal level, leaving a lasting imprint on their lives for years to come. What do you feel gets overlooked in cabinet design, and why? Budgets. We go either under or over on design without one. With budgets, we have a far better idea of the direction the design needs to go with details and appliance selections. No budget causes us to do more redraws than anything. We waste hundreds of hours each year on redraws. 18

What criteria should people consider when designing a closet to make the most out of the space? Most important would be to always start with the type of closet you want, whether it be the “Cadillac” or just something economical. After that, look at what you use most and work down the line, making sure you take care of the most important things first. What new trends in closet design are you implementing? Our 360 systems are creating noise. Closets are quickly becoming the second kitchen of the home. Lots of our clients want to bring everyone into their closets now to show them how awesome they can really be. You work with builders on spec homes. What can you offer in designing the closet space and kitchen pantry that will attract a home buyer? Color and spacing are huge in catching the consumer’s eye. If consumers don’t see the value, they won’t get excited about it. Resources: MCS Closets & More MCS Cabinetry Mark McNeill 6321 Metro Plantation Rd. Fort Myers, Florida 33966 239.208.9428 mcsclosets.net mcscabinetry.com


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From Fire Emerges Art Story by Amber Foster | Photography by David A. Monroe and Felix Kunze

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hen you think of glass art, your mind automatically travels to blown-glass trinkets or stained glass. The artwork of Marlene Rose, however, is a truly unique visual experience. Brilliant, colorful glass is blended with discarded remnants of modern life, creating artwork that is both ancient and modern, with each piece having a life of its own. “When I cast the sculptures, I include in them relics of modern life: interesting objects that have been tossed away, or industrial waste items that seem to unite present and past,” Marlene explains. Marlene has been an artist for as long as she can remember, but she was not interested in working with glass until she took a class taught by Gene Croft. “I didn’t think I would like it, but ultimately I fell in love,” she says. “I’ve always been a thrill seeker, enjoying activities that give the thrill of an adrenaline rush, and I’ve also been a team player, participating in organized sports.” The adrenaline rush of handling 2,000-degree-Fahrenheit molten glass mixed with the teamwork required to complete the job brings forth a passion that emerges in each sculpture Marlene creates. To provide insight into her process, Marlene expounds on what she calls her “dangerous dance of creation.” The medium she uses, a technique called “sand casting,” is a fairly new form of working with glass. Unlike traditional glass blowing, sand casting involves a more timeconsuming process that blends the art of traditional bronze casting with glass molding. A mold for the glass is created by hand in sand. Molten glass is then poured into this sand form, allowed to cool, and removed from the mold. Since the sculptures take more time to cure than traditional blown glass, having a dedicated space that can acco22

modate this process is essential. Because of the relative newness of the technique, Marlene struggled to find a studio that was suitable, but ultimately found a place to call home in Clearwater, Florida. Watching art born of molten glass is enthralling and mesmerizing. Marlene works with a team to complete her sculptures, with each person doing his or her part in the intricate dance with fire. There is great energy in the room, with no one speaking during the creative process. Each role must be performed seamlessly to successfully produce the piece. While the finished product is delicate and beautiful, the process is both dangerous and physically demanding. All movements are perfectly timed, and everyone on the team knows how to do each step to prevent potential accidents and injuries. While in the molding process, the pieces are extremely delicate, and the slightest bead of sweat or brush of clothing can ruin it. Great care is taken to ensure that everyone is well rested and able to perform their tasks so that the finished piece is flawless. Working with spaces and lighting are a large part of her design process, and Marlene is often asked to create a sculpture to fit a certain space or design. “I want to share my art with as many people as possible,” she says. “I work very hard to create sculptures in all sizes and a range of price points to make the work available to as many collectors as I can.” Often assisted by her husband, an architect, she uses computer-assisted design to help her clients envision how their commissioned piece will look in their space. Marlene is constantly fine-tuning and pushing her medium to new boundaries. She has been commissioned to create giant sculptures


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that tested the limits of her process, and to design around unique environments that required her to adjust her process to the piece being made. One of Marlene’s most difficult designs involved incorporating her sculpture into a water feature. She enjoyed the challenge of synthesizing all the elements with her work, and the end result was a seamless integration of art and function. These challenges inspire her to keep reinventing and reimagining her art form.

Marlene’s art transforms the space in which it is installed, elevating it beyond functionality and transporting viewers to another place and time. “When people first view my work, they feel a certain aliveness inherent in the work itself,” says Marlene. “My goal as a artist is to inject life into whatever I create—to make the piece come alive.” Resources

Indeed, Marlene finds inspiration in all things around her. Studying art history, she became interested in African art and then other cultures, seeking out bold shapes and simple lines for her pieces. She also finds inspiration in everyday life. “The butterfly line came about when I saw that my small children were in awe of those creatures,” Marlene says. Another line was influenced by her motherin-law, also an artist, and created as a tribute to her. Each piece is unique and one-of-kind, giving the space it occupies energy and vitality. “I call these pieces ‘evocators,’” says Marlene. “They are kept moments, shards of what I have seen, unnamed emotions, visions, concepts and memories.” 24

Marlene Rose 411 Cleveland Street, No. 266 Clearwater, FL 33755 727.447.7673 marlenerose.com Marlene Rose Gallery 411 Cleveland Street, No. 266 Clearwater, FL 33755


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A magnificent collection of fabulous kitchens and baths from our favorite designers

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esigning around neighborhood architectural requirements and guidelines can be difficult, but the experts at the award-winning Stofft Cooney Architecture & Design took the task in stride, creating this stunning master bathroom as part of a recent home design. The titular principals, Randall Stofft and John Cooney, bring decades of experience and a desire to create extraordinary, sophisticated designs for their diverse clientele.

drop and flanked by his and her showers done in beautiful white marble. The double sinks echo the contour of the tub, adding natural curves to soften the more angular shapes of the vanity cabinets. The bright white chosen for the tub and sinks is the perfect counterpoint to the dark brown of the wood, brightening the space without becoming harsh or obtrusive.

The modern, minimalist design and clean, simple fixtures of this elegant bathroom allow the views to become the principal visual element “Space and natural light are paramount in our designs,” says John for the space. All clutter and distractions are removed, creating a balCooney. Here, the clients’ vision for their new home enabled the firm anced, tranquilizing space that is perfect for inviting the beauty of to take advantage of the Florida sunshine and beautiful views at every nature to calm the mind after a busy day at work. opportunity. In the master bath, large plate-glass windows dominate the space, allowing Stofft Cooney to design the room with an open Resources: floor plan and lots of wall space devoted to windows. This lets in as Stofft Cooney Architecture & Design much light as possible and permits the property’s foliage to serve as Randall Stofft the bathroom’s privacy barrier, truly bringing the feeling of the natu- John Cooney ral world into the room. The clients’ interior designer added artful 633 Ninth Street North touches—a leaf-shaped rug in front of the vanity and a glimmering Suite 300 tree sculpture—to further create a visual link between the bathroom Naples, FL 34102 239.262.7677 inside and the lush trees and vegetation outside. stofft.com Dark black walnut wood and natural stone are used not just here in the master bath but throughout the interior and exterior of the house, Sarasota Office giving the bathroom a strong visual connection with the rest of the 100 North Washington Boulevard #1 home. The stark contrast of the wood against the gentler, subtler hues Sarasota, FL 34236 on the walls and floors enhance the tranquility of the space and invite 941.316.0936 the visitor’s gaze to stop and rest for a moment. The luxurious soaking tub is centered against a windowed wall back28


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erscoe Hajjar Architects is not your ordinary architectural firm. The full-service company hearkens back to the days before architecture and interior design went their separate ways. “We get involved with the interior architecture as well—anything that’s glued down or screwed down, we like to say,” says Rob Herscoe, who founded the business with Michael Hajjar back in 2003. Not only do they provide architectural design, they will advise on materials and finishes, down to the precise elevation and layout of custom kitchen cabinetry. Rob and Michael have more than 30 years of experience as architects, and this decades-long honing and perfecting of their craft shows in the way they masterfully manipulate the modernist aesthetic. “Contemporary work is actually as varied as more traditional work,” Rob explains. “You can be authentic to a style, or just to parts of a style, or you can be more eclectic and take license with it.” That willingness to experiment with the contemporary aesthetic, combined with a strong understanding of the style and the expertise to know where and how to play with the principles of the aesthetic, sets the tone for a project’s design. When architects can be this fearless and creative, interior designers and homeowners feel emboldened and are given the freedom to do the same, with beautiful results. One client’s bathroom is given playful touches like a bubbly ceiling light fixture, fluffy cloudlike bath rug, and faux fur vanity stool. In another, a homeowner hangs a brilliantly colored, eye-catching piece of art just outside the shower. A third bathroom amps up its indulgent, luxurious ambience by using exquisite Calacatta white marble for not just the countertop and shower, but for the walls and floor as well. “Some people are afraid of the potential coldness of contemporary architecture,” says Rob. “But you can always rectify that by selecting a materials palette that is warm and friendly as opposed to austere. Between the design and materials, you can dial up or down how minimalist or brutalist modernism is.” Lighting is yet another way Rob warms up a room. “Light is no longer just for illumination; it accents the architecture, acts as decoration to complement the design, and adds ambience.” In kitchen spaces, the design team aims for simplicity, and Rob finds that in many of their kitchen projects, they are eliminating upper cabinetry, letting pantries and other elements such as kitchen islands provide the storage. This frees up wall surfaces, allowing the firm to add windows to bring more light into the space. With the popular open kitchen floor plans seen in contemporary design, Rob believes the kitchen island can be its own statement, and he often designs them to “speak” to the rooms they are adjacent to, instead of mirroring the look of the kitchen. This creates a seamless transition and flow between the two spaces. Adroit experts of their craft, Herscoe and Hajjar are not bound by the conventions of architectural style—rather, they use their talents to explore and discover ways to create unique, special spaces for their clients. Resources: Rob Herscoe and Michael Hajjar Herscoe Hajjar Architects 22 Tenth Street South Naples, FL 34102 239.643.4010 hharch.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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esign should be transformative,” says Lou Shafran, CEO and founder of Naples-based Pacifica Interior Design. “Great design creates interiors that are comfortable, inviting and timeless. The space flows and gives a full experience, but is able to easily evolve as needed, to avoid becoming dated or outdated.” Lou began her career on the West Coast, designing the interiors of top custom homes in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. She brought that Pacific coastal aesthetic with her to Florida, wedding East and West coasts into an elegant style that is uniquely her own. “We aren’t interested in design fads or trends,” she says. “Our interest is in giving our clients spaces that are classic and timeless, yet playful and fun. We want something that will last a lifetime.” The Pacifica Interior team perfectly balances timelessness and fun by keeping the basics simple and then providing lots of places to play with the design. “White is always in style,” Lou explains, “but it can be seen as cold. It’s the elements you add that bring color and interest.” Her approach to the popular contemporary aesthetic is both intuitive and insightful. “Contemporary can be one of the most difficult forms of design because it can feel uninviting—until you realize its foundation is in the modern art style, and let that knowledge guide you. The lines are clean and straight, and the neutral palette is the perfect canvas. Thus, you need the extra touches that come from the art you choose for the home. You have to let the art take the lead.” Lou’s choices in art, materials and lighting fixtures give these rooms that all-important personal touch, creating spaces with warmth and appeal. Lou’s unique vision and approach to design can be seen in features such as kitchen alcoves accented in dark colors to stand out and show off objets d’art, and in playful touches like spotted kitchen island chairs in blue and gray, colors echoed in diamond-shaped tile used as a wall accent. Her predilection for choosing chandeliers for bathroom spaces is inspired and visually stunning, immediately elevating the ambience of the rooms and providing a touch of romance and luxury. Abundant use of mirrors is another aspect of her bathroom design, something she feels is paramount to creating a wonderful experience in these rooms. “Bathrooms need beautiful tile and beautiful mirrors,” she says. Lou uses mirrors to make bathrooms feel large and spacious and to reflect light, giving the rooms a bright and airy feel. Other luxurious details abound: a plush chaise lounge, a silver-toned table holding a pair of stunning crystal candlesticks, and beautiful, subtly veined marble for countertops. With Lou’s guidance and expertise, Pacifica Interior provides exquisite, transcendent experiences with their designs, creating spaces that are beautiful to look at but, more importantly, comfortable to live in. Resources: Pacifica Interior Design Lou Shafran 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road Suite 130 Naples, Florida 34109 239.325.1411 pacificainteriordesign.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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ometimes a project takes an interesting turn, becoming more than just a renovation. Such was the case for Jon Levy and his team at BIG Renovations when a client asked for a kitchen and bath remodel.

dants over the island add a touch of luxury and golden light to warm up the space. The white, taupe and gray palette is gentle and soothing, letting the lush green palms capture the eye. An unobtrusive induction cooktop keeps the lines in the kitchen clean and contemporary.

“The first thing I noticed when I saw the space was the floor plan,” says Jon. “The kitchen was closed off and completely separated from the living and dining rooms. Its placement wasn’t optimal from a functional standpoint, and it also wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, given the open concept that is so popular in modern homes today. I presented the client with two proposals: one was a simple kitchen remodel, and the other switched the locations of the kitchen and the guest bedroom.”

The master bath also struggled with floor plan issues; several walls divided up the space, making it feel cramped and small. Jon eliminated the walls, creating a single open space. The tub was removed entirely—something Jon says more clients are opting for in their bathrooms—allowing room for a large walk-in shower. A textured, wallpaper-like film on the shower window lets in sunlight but can’t be seen through, to preserve privacy. The double-sink floating vanity is underlit with motion-sensing lights, giving the bathroom a rich, luxurious feel and easing late-night trips to the bathroom. The same underlighting can be seen in the kitchen, where it adds a soft glow beneath a row of push-latch cabinets.

The client trusted Jon’s assessment and chose to go with the more extensive proposal that flipped the locations of the two rooms. This decision allowed Jon to completely transform the condominium into an exceptional, one-of-a-kind home. The two rooms shared a wall, facilitating the plumbing switch. Removing one interior wall opened up the kitchen to the main living area, which immediately caused the space to feel expansive and airy, as it now had large windows on both ends to let in the light. The kitchen, dining area and living room are now in line with one another, which makes entertaining a breeze and creates an easy flow to the living space. The glass-front refrigerator has a sleek, high-tech feel, and was a request from the client, as it enables the homeowners to see easily whether they need to head to the store. The striking marble veining on the kitchen island is a bold statement piece for the room, while the polished nickel pen-

Jon visually connected the rooms with the use of a waterproof “wood” vinyl flooring, and by choosing Hancock cabinetry from Wellborn Cabinet in a soft white for all the spaces. The finished remodel is remarkable, giving the clients a condominium that is truly unique and contemporary. Resources: Jon Levy, Owner BIG Renovations & Design Inc. 6646 Willow Park Drive, Suite 3 Naples, FL 34109 239.304.5336 bigrenovations.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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f you’ve ever felt out of your depth when contemplating the building process of your new home or remodeled room, you weren’t a client of the Naples-based building company BCB Homes. The company prides itself on its Learning Center, a special location at its office where clients can explore and experience building materials firsthand, including wall surfaces like stucco and drywall, different types of roofing and flooring, and numerous window and door styles. To the naked eye, this might look a lot like a showroom, but it’s not.

“We use the center to take our clients through the build process,” says Travis Smith, a vice president of BCB Homes. “We talk about the different materials and their pros and cons, so our clients can make informed decisions before we actually begin building. We want our clients to know what they’re getting before construction begins. 36

For example, one major brand produces cooktops are beautiful appliances, very aesthetically pleasing and quite popular. But we want our clients to know there is only one service repairman for that product in all of south Florida, so if they choose the brand for their kitchen and there’s a problem, it’s going to be at least a month before they’ll get a repair.” That in-depth level of client education and exemplary customer service make BCB Homes unique among custom home builders. And when this is combined with the company’s 25 years of experience, it’s no wonder the firm has won dozens of coveted Sand Dollar awards over the years. When it’s time to build, BCB Homes ensures that every material chosen is installed with perfect attention to detail, something that’s vital in contemporary and modern home styles. “That’s the challenge with contemporary style—there’s little to no embellishment, so there’s


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nowhere to hide,” Travis explains. “When your sightlines are visually out there in the open, it has to be perfect. There’s no room for error.” That level of care and expert knowledge of materials shows in all the team’s work, where the contemporary aesthetic is displayed in lines that are not just clean and simple, but crisp and focused. Sightlines are open and wide, imparting a bright and airy feel to even smaller bathroom spaces. Coffered ceilings and exposed beams add visual interest to spaces without detracting from the overall look and feel of the modern aesthetic. Builders bring the vision of a home into reality, and the contemporary style presents a beautiful canvas upon which clients and their interior designers can play and explore. They can add an ornamental paisley pattern in the kitchen and vases in complementary gleaming green hues, or

choose a shimmering wallpaper to add glitz and texture to a bathroom. Whatever choices they make, they knowing that the execution of the chosen materials will be to perfection in BCB Homes’ capable hands. Resources: Barbie Kellam, Sales Director Travis Smith, Vice President BCB Homes – Headquarters 3696 Enterprise Ave, Suite 100 Naples, FL 34104 BCB Homes – Downtown Location 296 14th Avenue South Naples, FL 34102 239.643.1004 bcbhomes.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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he kitchen has always been the heart of the home, but in today’s contemporary and transitional designs, the kitchen has become much more than a place to prepare meals—it is the main place where families come together. “People really live in their kitchens,” says Kevin Reid, president of SOHO Kitchens and Design. “They’re being used as living and entertaining spaces, not just the place you go to cook. This is the reason we are designing bigger kitchens with larger islands.” Kitchen islands have become gathering places, where kids do their homework and family and guests share a glass of wine and conversation. Space planning is the key component for SOHO’s projects when renovating the kitchens in older homes. “We look for both visual and actual ways to open up the space,” says Kevin. “By also repurposing the surrounding areas of the kitchen, we are able to gain more usable square footage to work with.” For smaller homes and condos, where physical space is always at a premium, open and glass-front cabinetry helps to create the illusion of a larger room. The contemporary style, with its clean and open kitchen designs, has become increasingly popular; the open design blurs the lines between living room, kitchen and dining room until they become a single expansive living space. Family members and guests can be comfortable in the living room and still feel connected to those is in the kitchen. Having kitchens as living spaces means they must be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Kevin and his senior designer, Brad Simmons, have over 40 years of combined experience in designing cabinetry for rooms that are both visually beautiful and optimally laid out. For this kitchen and bathroom project that was done in collaboration with VIV Homes’ interior designer, The Property Stylist, SOHO’s cabinetry takes center stage in both the kitchen and the wine station. In the kitchen, the clean lines and choice of white for the cabinets perfectly complement the waterfall marble that creates the kitchen island. To add a touch of elegance, backlighting is used in the glass-paneled cabinets near the ceiling. For the wine station, the design team chose a more transitional, coastal look, using a rich, dark wood to create a lovely visual distinction between the kitchen and dining areas. In the bathroom, Kevin decided to go with simple vanities designed to blend in with the rest of the room to avoid making the space feel cluttered or closed-in. He echoed the larger mirror above the vanity with mirrors in the two central cabinet doors, enhancing the illusion of a much larger space. It is a beautiful solution, making the smaller space feel more open and bright. SOHO Kitchens and Design’s expertise and eye for detail result in kitchens that are sophisticated and luxurious, with a timeless quality that will always be in style, no matter the current trends. Resources SOHO Kitchens and Design Kevin Reid 1610 Trade Center Way, Suite 1 Naples, FL 34109 sohokitchens@gmail.com 239.992.7646 sohokitchensanddesign.com

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etermining a client’s practical needs for a room is the first step in the design process for Kim Collins of Collins & DuPont Design Group. “I like to ask how they use their kitchen—how many cooks and what type of cooking they like to do. Storage needs are also important. Then I can ask about their wish list,” says Kim. From there, Kim creates a design that brings those needs together in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible, while ensuring maximum functionality.

Kim’s goal for this kitchen project was to maximize the glorious views. She eliminated a large section of cabinetry to add more windows, and instead of a straight line of plate glass all down the wall, she opted for the far more fascinating creation of multiple windows. The white trim around the glass gives one the impression of framed photographs, each individual window seeming to exist to focus the gaze on a specific view of the client’s stunning landscape. The result is a series of beautiful visual vignettes. When views are the focal point for a space, ofttimes the other elements of the kitchen will be designed to fade away, to avoid distracting from the view. And while Kim chose a neutral, earthy palette that certainly allows the verdant greenery outside to take center stage, there is nothing re40


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ceding about this space. It defies easy description and at first glance, doesn’t even appear to be a kitchen at all; the functional aspects such as the sink, appliances and exhaust hood are all masters of disguise, barely registering to the eye when you gaze into the room. The strong architectural beams above and the sleek, reflective surface of the marble countertop on the kitchen island below draw attention towards the far wall, where the multi-hued mosaic adds texture and a sense of gentle motion to the space. A lovely symmetrical viewscape is presented by centering the exhaust hood between the two windows followed by the exquisite pair of tall cabinets on either end to anchor the look. The cabinet doors are simply gorgeous, with their intricately-patterned veneering formed by using a clever combination of walnut and gray zebrano woods to create the beautiful Chiaroscuro effect that also gives the illusion of shifting color as you move about the room. What was on this client’s wish list, you ask? “The client had a vision for a movable bar that they could walk behind,” Kim ex-

plains, “so we engineered a unit that would be able to pivot open and closed.” This intriguing request is flawlessly executed here with a curved counter that can be pulled out or pushed flush to the side of the kitchen island, concealing a wine refrigeration unit and the open shelving that holds all of the bar accoutrements. This kitchen and bar space provide a truly unique and creative interpretation of the contemporary aesthetic. The lines and shapes are clean and simple, yet the end result is the perfect example of what Kim calls “livable luxury.” Resources: Collins & DuPont Design Group Kim Collins, Vice President, Principal Owner 8911 Brighton Lane Bonita Springs, FL 34135 239.948.2400 collins-dupont.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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A Marco Island Makeover Mark P. Finlay Architects bring timeless sophistication and oceanic light to this Marco Island penthouse Story by Anastasia Storer | Photography by Kim Sargent

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Holly Hunt Studio Laredo cast-glass panel and walnut coffee table provides a central hub for the surrounding furniture: Holly Hunt Savon sofas, an Adriana Hoys Bolero daybed in front of the built-in console, and Lancaster swivel chairs. Schumacher, Cowtan & Tout and Holly Hunt pillows add comfort and layered texture to the room. Top Right: Blainey North Swanson ottoman with Holly Hunt Great Plains fabric rests under a Holly Hunt Meridian mirror. Maya Romanoff sunburst wallcoverings dress up the elevator doors. Right: Robert Marinelli Fujian bronze console holds a Tara Lynn Winslow decorative pot lit by a Bright Group Jonathan Browning Chamont trapeze light fixture.


ark Finlay, principal of the design firm bearing his name, describes his team’s approach to design as chameleon-like and evanescent. Every project is a new, creative journey starting from the client’s needs and desires and leading to the final destination: finished space that exceeds the client’s expectations while leaving no discernible trace of the team’s “hand.” When a project is complete, “you can’t tell that we did it,” Mark says. There is no recognizable “Finlay style”—every space is uniquely the client’s own.

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Emerson Bentley alligator leather-wrapped console holds two Michael Aram Butterfly Gingko lamps. A Nancy Corzine Allan Knight lamp rests on top of a Stanford Furniture Lauren round end table. Above: Kathryn McCoy clear quartz-framed mirror reflects the view from the great room, with a Baker villa club chair in a Swaim animal print fabric and an Arteriors floor lamp. Custom built-in walnut bookshelves with Maya Romanoff bedazzled wallcovering interior

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Dennis Miller Altura walnut dining table is encircled by EJ Victor Allison Paladino Hansen chairs upholstered in a textured Zinc fabric. A Shakuff light fixture hangs above the table.

Mark founded the firm in 1984 and, by purposefully diversifying its projects and keenly focusing on providing stellar, personalized service to clients, steadily nurtured and grew the business to its now 30-person staff, which includes both architects and interior designers. With an impressive, award-winning portfolio, featuring both commercial and residential design projects, the firm sees a lot of repeat business—a testament to its focus on client satisfaction and service. This business model of architecture and interior design under one roof is considered new by many, but Mark explains it is in fact a return to the old model from the turn of the 20th century, when all aspects of design were handled in-house. “Our clients love that they have to go to only one place for all their design needs,” says Mark. Adds Tina Anastasia, the firm’s director of interior design: “We spend a lot of time together as a team, working on the design theory and concepts for each project.” Both believe this collaborative team environment is one of the cornerstones of their success; often, the team has already begun preliminary discussions about what a project might need before they even meet with the client. Many of the firm’s projects have both architectural and interior design elements, and the Veracruz penthouse on Marco Island, FL, was 48

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no exception. For this project, it was Tina and her team who did the heavy lifting, completely redoing the interior. Architectural expertise was needed, though, when it came to reshaping the floor plan and designing the many built-ins and cabinetry throughout the home. Everything is new, from the wall and floor coverings, to the furniture and built-ins, to the finer details such as the light fixtures and art. The client brought nothing to the space, placing her complete trust in the design team. Letting in the Light When the team got their first look at the penthouse, they knew immediately that they needed to open up the space. “It was too closed off,” says Tina. Adds Mark: “It was a maze. There was no clear flow through the space. You weren’t sure where to go.” The design team wanted to take advantage of the views provided by the penthouse’s location; the Veracruz is a 26-story condominium situated on Cape Marco, the most southwestern point of the island. This gives the penthouse spectacular views on both sides: the main living space looks out over cerulean seas and sky, while the bedrooms all have views of the mangrove islets of Ten Thousand Islands and the Rookery Bay Reserve.


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Custom Yorkshire walnut and Lasertron Direct stainless-steel cabinetry. Paul’s Marble Depot countertops in Calacatta Gold match the marble flooring in the foyer.

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Baker Arcade table with backlit beachglass-style top and custom walnut and glass bookshelves

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Finlay’s team removed the interior walls of the main living area and transformed three small, cramped-feeling rooms into a single expansive space while simultaneously clarifying the movement through the home. Now the space breathes effortlessly without obstruction, yet each area—dining, living and family—is still clearly delineated through the clever, almost subliminal use of ceiling shape, light and floor coverings. Furniture also plays an important part; an intriguing aspect of the firm’s space planning is that it begins laying out the furniture on paper as the architecture work is in process. “This lets us and the client begin to visualize the finished space, so we know each room will fit their needs before we actually start physically placing the furniture,” Tina explains. Stepping out of the elevator into the vestibule, you’re enticed to pass through the leather-inset double doors by the sight of the shimmering blue-green vase ahead—its organic shape reminiscent of sea coral—centered atop a bronze console whose simple, strong lines offer a counterpoint to the delicate curves of the vase. The woven walnut wood wall behind provides additional visual interest without overwhelming the eye. The visitor doesn’t know it yet, but the color of the vase gives the eye a hint of what’s to come. The moment you step into the foyer, your eye cannot help but be drawn to the light and then captivated by the view, which draws you forward into the home’s dining area and main living space. It is breathtaking, more so in the late afternoon, when the western skies are ablaze in the intoxicating colors of a Florida sunset. For a moment, the walls vanish and the illusion is complete; it feels as though there is no wall or glass, and the entire space is open to the outside. Once the awe of the view dissipates, you’re then able to pull your attention back to the interior and appreciate the exquisiteness of the home itself. Neutral Sophistication The client’s primary request when she came to the firm was for a neutral palette. Neutrals can be daunting to work with—they’re seen by many as the equivalent of visual pablum—but in the capable hands of Tina and her team, they instead become a soothing, layered tonal canvas that allows the views to take center stage, particularly in the main living area. Between the now-open expanse of the space and the neutral palette, Mark and Tina knew there was a risk of the space feeling cavernous and Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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A pair of Holly Hunt Ralph Pucci walnut rib chairs flank the Robb & Stuckey twig stool, and a Rudin John Pomp console holds a Baker tree branch lamp. A Ferrell Mittman sectional upholstered with a Holly Hunt patterned fabric on the frame and solid fabric on the cushions is matched with a Baker ottoman and Swaim lounge chairs. Left Bank painting embraces the neutral palette and golden browns of the walnut wood

cold. It was essential to find ways of bringing a sense of pleasant coziness to the room, in addition to creating the visual separation of the three different living areas within the single space.

and touch. The textural landscape extends to the wall and floor coverings as well; bamboo, silk and wool rugs, and beaded wallpaper, leather and plaster are all used to add visual and tactile texture to the home.

To achieve this, the team selected all the fabrics to create a rich, visual smorgasbord of subtle, beautiful patterns and sumptuous textures, softening the space and making it welcoming and comfortable to sight

Holly Hunt’s Great Plains fabric collection in a variety of cream, beige and taupe hues are the workhorses of the color scheme, being utilized in the sheer draperies that frame the picture windows as well


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as in the large sofa and sectional furniture pieces in the main living area. The collection’s textures and patterns add depth and interest without becoming a distraction. Pillows and additional furniture pieces in complementary fabrics are layered in to soften and add to the plush, sumptuous look and feel of the space.

and bring warmth to every room in the home. In the open kitchen, the wood gives an intriguing, upscale “farmhouse” aesthetic, and in the office, it adds a masculine touch, while its polished surface refracts and reflects the light, brightening the sole room in the home without an external window.

Golden-brown walnut wood was chosen to complement the palette

The master suite—one of Mark’s favorite rooms in the home—unGulf Coast Design + Decor

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Bed dressed with Legacy bedding and Romo bed pillows and duvet cover. The headboard is custom Tudor House in Holly Hunt stingray leather.

Guest bathroom with custom walnut cabinetry and Ming green marble

Vanguard furniture dresser flanked by Baker Castle corner chairs and Wendover art

derwent a transformation into a secluded, serene refuge. The neutral palette shifts away from the predominantly warmer hues seen in the main living space to an ever so slightly cooler palette. Here, the design team brought out cooler taupes and greiges to mix with creams, imparting the room with a feeling of tranquility. That same restfulness is extended into the master bath, where the team’s mechanical ingenuity truly shines. Centered in their respective spaces within the room, the tub and shower are designed in such a way that both have views looking out over the bathroom’s balcony. The curved walls around the tub were custom-built to capture water spray from the overhead shower head, but also to focus the gaze from the bathroom entrance through to the view outside. The shower is particularly ingenious, with all-glass walls and hidden plumbing so it appears to float in the room. Visual Vignettes Also important in making the home warm and cozy are the small areas within the larger spaces that the design team put together to add more visual interest. “The vignettes are a way to stop the eye and allow it to linger in a particular place,” says Tina. “We wanted these areas to impart a feeling of intimacy in the space.” Some of the vignettes—such as the one that greets you in the foyer—are meant solely for the eyes. But others have a function beyond being a pleasure to look at; they help to break up and define the space around them, or they offer a chair in which to sit and rest. 54

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Foyer lavatory with Phillip Jeffries Japanese Rice Paper wallcovering, floating Thassos counter with a Kohler glass vessel and THG faucet. Dennis Miller Fuse lighting London sconces frame the GlassCrafter Park Avenue mirror.


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Jerry Pair Ironies Strider blue resin and silver metal bed dressed with a Donghia Sahco duvet cover and James Hare and Donghia Sahco pillows. Century furniture Samantha nightstand in mirrored silver leaf is complemented by the Swaim chair in Pollack checkered velvet.

Vanguard furniture Skyler nightstand with Visual Comfort lamp and Emerson Bentley club chair

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Century Furniture Omni bed and Garrett Leather paneled headboard

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At the back of the great room is one such space: A single luxurious Baker Villa Club chair invites you to curl up with a good book and cup of tea, gaze out at the sky, or simply spend time in quiet contemplation. A nook nearby holds a built-in bookcase with a glimmering Maya Romanoff bedazzled wallcovering that is as pleasing to the eye as the objets d’art displayed. The home’s main living area is a shining example of the Finlay team’s expert ability to layer spaces-within-space. This expansive room that could feel cold and empty is instead homey and inviting, with each of the three functional areas discernible while remaining seamlessly part of the whole. For the dining area, it’s the octagonal ceiling—mirrored in the custom-cut shape of the Palace bamboo silk rug beneath it, and in the shape of the chair backs—and the burnished sheen of the custom Joseph Jeup Evans buffet that demarcates the dining area from the great room. To the left, the ceiling shape is again reflected in the multihued patchwork-style octagonal shapes of the small rug that defines the conversation area breaking up the space between the dining area and the family room. The great room is given a formal air via the glowing golden light from the ceiling’s backlit rectangles, the precise furniture formation around the Holly Hunt Studio glass and walnut coffee table, and the straight lines and structure of the built-in bookcases on the room’s primary wall. On the opposite end of the space, the family room is much more relaxed,

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Baker Patricia sofa done in Holly Hunt Great Plains Melody fabric, paired with Lancaster club chair and Stanford furniture Liam chaise

the furniture arranged to be casual and intimate. The curved wall embraces another vignette—a sitting area created to provide a space for private conversation. Echoes of the Sea The views are always front and center in the home, but the design team found a beautifully subtle way to bring the outside in. There is an exquisite attention to detail in every room, and in the details you often glimpse the colors and shapes of the sea—appropriate for a property located on a Floridian island with a view of the water. From the custom plaster wall in the family room with its ribbed undulations that evoke ocean waves, to the splashes of blue and green in the glass and ceramic objets d’art and artwork on the walls, hints of the ocean are everywhere. A more subtle nod to the beach and ocean can be seen in the lavatory off the foyer; here, a pale-green glass vessel rests on the vanity, which was purposely floated to better show off the custom water-jet cut marble on the floor. And while the pattern is ostensibly a zebra stripe, it cannot help but also call to mind the gentle ripple of clear water over sand. The wave motif makes another appearance in one of the guest bedrooms, where the blue-green resin headboard ripples and shines like ocean waves. Indeed, each of the three guest bedrooms has additional oceanic color 58

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WS Bath Collection vessel sink with a Waterworks Formwork faucet


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Central all-glass shower with Holly Hunt dragonfly bench and Nestos marble imported from Greece

added to its neutral palette: silvery sea-green, shimmery blue and creamy seafoam. It is no exaggeration to say that the team at Mark P. Finlay Architects are true masters of the art of design. “Tina took the client on a journey she wasn’t expecting, but she was ecstatic with the results,” Mark says. Adds Tina: “As we understand the client better during the process, we’re able to make suggestions that can lead the client in new directions. It’s a very unique experience.” Indeed. The end result of this journey is a home whose design may best be called “elegant comfort.” Every room has a refined, sophisticated style that still feels relaxed and intimate—a home to be lived in, not simply displayed.


Circular tub is embraced by Oceanside tiled walls.

Mark P. Finlay Architects, AIA Mark Finlay, Principal Tina Anastasia, Director of Design 96 Old Post Road Suite 200 Southport, CT 06890 203.254.2388 markfinlay.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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A BEWITCHING BACKYARD CASTS A SPELL Lisa Gilmore Design brings “livable glamour” to this Brightside home, creating magical spaces both inside and out Story by Anastasia Storer Photography by Amy Lamb/Native House Photography

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The exterior kitchen and dining area take center stage in the backyard, with a commanding view over the pool. Golden light adds warm ambience for evening entertaining.

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The client’s “Big Green Egg” is cleverly integrated into the countertop next to the grill, so it blends in with the rest of the kitchen.

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The beautiful crystal chandelier and patterned rug elevate the look of the outdoor dining area and add a rich, formal touch.


erein lies the tale of how the “Big Green Egg”—a tremendously popular backyard barbecue accessory—hatched the perfect plan for this beautiful outdoor living space designed by Lisa Gilmore Design.

A Unique Designer for a Unique Project A native Floridian, Lisa grew up in an artistic home, which influenced her early love of art and design. “As a teenager, I was obsessing over HGTV and watching it all night,” Lisa says. “My great-grandmother was an art teacher, but teaching wasn’t the right path for me. I wanted to work with creativity and art in the home environment.” After graduating from design school, Lisa jumped right into working for some wonderful designers in her home state. In 2009 she was hired by a well-known, intimate firm in Chicago, which was “an amazing experience,” she says. “I learned so much during that time, and had the chance to work on projects with completely different aesthetics and parameters than what I’d encountered in Florida. It was similar to a culture shock, and it expanded my vision as a designer. I brought all that with me when I came back to my home state in 2011.” Upon her return, Lisa decided to take the leap and open her own firm—and she’s been bringing her unique vision to design projects ever since. She believes that her Floridian roots, combined with the knowledge she gained in Chicago, is what made her successful. “I brought something new to the table that you weren’t seeing in Florida firms at the time,” she explains. “Livable glamour” she calls it, and the phrase beautifully encapsulates her philosophy of Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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A hanging daybed provides privacy from the pool and creates a secluded spot for contemplation in front of the outdoor fireplace.

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wanting people to feel that her design is approachable and livable, but comes with a touch of luxury and glitz. “I don’t want people to have these lovely rooms where they feel they can’t sit on the sofa or invite people over. I don’t want people to be afraid of design, or of using their rooms.” Part of her uniqueness stems from her love of exploration, from which she draws a lot of inspiration. “I love going to trade shows—I just got back from attending shows in Paris, where I saw so many wonderful new things. I’m always thrilled to find new artisans, new materials, new vendors. I have a rule that I never use the same thing twice, so I’m always using new materials, textiles and patterns.” As a designer, Lisa loves layering textures, patterns and color. She calls herself a “chameleon designer,” and her goal with every project is to ensure the finished space is as one of a kind as her clients. “I don’t want a design stamp or a signature style,” she says. “I’d be disappointed if someone would be able to walk into a space and know I was the designer.” The Big Green Egg and a Backyard for Entertaining Lisa’s passion for incorporating new materials and furnishings into her projects and being unafraid to play and explore with design made her the ideal choice for this project. “The clients came and asked for a backyard renovation where the only real priority for the husband was ‘to fit in the Egg,’” Lisa explains. “So that was where I started.” Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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Intricate architectural beams and a glimmering chandelier from Curry & Co. beautifully frame the great room.

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The stone fireplace flanked by two topiaries is a focal point for the great room, and brings the feeling of the backyard into the space. French doors on either side of the fireplace lead out to the front yard.



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The Egg has a very unusual, prominent look: large and green, with a textured exterior not unlike a golf ball, only bigger. What to do? Lisa began from the standpoint of “let’s not hide it,” she says. “Let’s address its existence, make it a focal point and yet find a way to make it aesthetically pleasing.” From there came the decision to build it into the counter, where its domed lid has a proud place next to the grill. There’s far more to this beautiful outdoor area than the Egg, however. The backyard is dominated by a large, curved pool with a waterfall feature and a pillared pergola area with an outdoor fireplace. The clients wanted something that would simultaneously wow their guests but still be a space that everyone would enjoy and feel comfortable in. Lisa began in the outdoor kitchen area, where the cabinetry and counters were reconfigured and replaced. She added a custom-designed exhaust hood that acts as an impressive visual element. She further included an island immediately in front of the grilling area and perimeter counter, allowing guests to chat with the hosts as they cook, or watch the latest sports match on the bigscreen television. A gorgeous glass mosaic Vihara tile with an elongated hexagon shape was selected as the backsplash material, but Lisa chose to cover the walls with it all the way to the ceiling. This adds warmth, texture and the illusion of movement to the outdoor kitchen, while also visually separating it from the adjacent dining area. The Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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A rustic dining room table offers a comfortable space for family dining, while the wet bar behind is perfect for indoor entertaining and cocktail parties

tile accent wall is a particular favorite of Lisa’s, as it has a lovely sparkle and shimmer that echoes the way light reflects off the water in the pool. Lisa’s choice to use a Low Country Laurel Bay crystal chandelier and a patterned rug as accents for the dining area immediately elevates the ambience; the space feels more like an elegant dining room than a covered patio. A backyard meant for entertaining needs conversation areas, so Lisa created smaller, more intimate spaces where guests can linger to talk and enjoy one another’s company. A freestanding fire pit provides a friendly glow and becomes a great place to warm one’s toes after an evening dip in the pool, with comfy chairs and a cushioned bench nearby. Another conversation area is tucked into a corner, with an umbrella for shade and lounge chairs that invite one to relax and read. The pillared pergola was an interesting challenge; with the fireplace and hanging vines and lights, the space felt as though it should be intimate, but its central location made that difficult. Lisa’s solution is both creative and lovely—a hanging daybed. The shape of the bed gives more structure to the space while simultaneously acting as a visual “wall” to elicit a sense of cozy seclusion. The bed is perfect for napping or a night spent lazing and watching the flickering flames; one can almost imagine Shakespeare’s fairy queen Titania happily dreaming away among the delicately patterned pillows that add a touch of sumptuous luxury. For Lisa, it was important to create a balance between masculine and feminine elements in the overall design. “We worked hard to create space 70

Wallpaper from France adds texture and warmth to the powder room. The marble sink offers an organic, natural touch to the space.


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that both the wife and husband would love,” she explains. “The Green Egg is masculine, so I brought in the delicate and beautiful chandelier to add femininity. The exhaust hood is a strong masculine fixture, but we gave it a feminine touch with the curved lines. The color palette of the Vihara tile is quite masculine, but its sparkle and glimmer are playful and feminine.” As one would expect, all the fabrics and materials used in the backyard are outdoor-friendly and marine-grade, able to withstand a simple splash from the pool or the strongest of Florida downpours. From Outside In The clients were so pleased with the backyard that they asked Lisa to renovate their great room, where they requested something monochromatic, with a calming atmosphere.

Arched, glass-paned front entrance doors are a stunning feature of the home. A beautiful star-shaped light fixture gives the entryway a soft golden glow. Custom gilded mirror by Leah Beth Fishman

When Lisa begins a project, she takes time to find the right mood. “I start growing a pile of things that speak to me about the project, and once I’ve gotten the voice of the home right, I start the editing process to narrow down the options,” she says. “After I have the visual touch and feel, I jump into floor plans and furnishings and start putting the puzzle together. Design is a very organic, exploratory process for me.” The transformation began with a simple coat of paint. “The client is a custom home builder, so the house was already beautifully constructed,” Lisa says. “Just that one simple change completely transformed the room.” The walls had been a darker beige tone; Lisa replaced this with the much lighter and brighter Benjamin Moore Vanilla Milkshake color. Immediately, the dark brown architectural beams stood out, turning them into a stunning visual element and highlighting the tall ceilings, which made the space feel more expansive and open. With the ceiling height and impressive beams, the room required the right lighting fixture to anchor it. Lisa chose the Lucien chandelier from Curry & Company, a lovely contemporary, mixed-metal fixture with delicate hanging chains resembling a draped necklace. Lisa then brought layers of textures and materials in a neutral color palette to the room, adding richness and luxury without compromising the clean, modern lines. Furnishings from CR Laine and Baker are elegant, yet contemporary, and Lisa adjusted the furniture placement to keep the sightline from the front entrance unobstructed. All the interior upholstery fabrics were made in America. While Lisa enjoys incorporating materials from all over the world, she is always conscious of supporting American manufacturers.

Original custom artwork by Jules Cozine adds a splash of color and attracts the gaze of visitors entering the home.

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She also enjoys finding and using pieces from American artists and artisans. For this project, Lisa was thrilled to work with two artists. Painter Jules Cozine created a custom painting for the home. “It’s ethereal and dreamy, and brings in a smidge of delicate color,” explains Lisa. Another artist, Leah Beth Fishman, created the pair of gilded mirrors that grace the walls on either side of the front entrance. “I sent her a photo of the pillow fabrics that had a geometric gray-and-white pattern, and told Gulf Coast Design + Decor


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her I wanted something that mirrored that, and she executed it brilliantly.” The star-shaped light over the entrance is antique mercury glass, and perfectly complements the duo mirrors, filling the entrance with golden light. Another mirror—the large one behind the dining area table—was something the client already owned, and it was wonderful serendipity that it fit the design so beautifully. Lisa placed it at the end of the room to reflect the light and make the space feel airier. The two narrow windows on either side create marvelous rectangular frames and shapes at that end of the room. The clients also asked Lisa to give their small powder room a makeover, which involved adding an arch in the same dark brown color as the great room beams for increased visual interest, a new countertop and an organic marbled sink. A shimmery wallpaper by the French company Élitis completes the look. Thanks to Lisa’s stunning design work and her ability to layer and mix materials to make inside and out act as perfect partners, this home has two breath-taking spaces for both everyday living and exquisite entertaining. Resources: Lisa Gilmore, Owner Crystina Castiglione, Assistant/Project Expediter Lisa Gilmore Design 2661 1st Avenue South Saint Petersburg, FL 33712 727.201.8902 lisagilmoredesign.com Jules Cozine julescozine.com Leah Beth Fishman gildingbyleahbeth.com

The front of this Brightwater home has a beautifully manicured front yard, with cypress trees flanking the magnificent front entrance.

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Walnut trim and beams with French polish, along with Venetian plaster, reflect the ocean colors and provide an open atmosphere.

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COASTAL REFINEMENT A full renovation of this waterfront condo reveals a warm and sophisticated vacation home Story by Emily Ballard Photography by David Palermo


The homeowners of this waterfront condominium have a full-time residence in Connecticut, but were looking for a vacation home they could escape to during those colder winter months. Having found the perfect location in place, they enlisted the services of Hilton Architects to completely renovate the space and redesign the home for optimal coastal enjoyment. Charles (Chuck) Hilton is approaching his 30th anniversary in the architecture business, and as the principal of Hilton Architects, he has been an innovative leader in highend residential projects. He says that over the years, his designs have been fairly traditional, but as the market has changed, there has been a shift to cleaner and more contemporary designs, especially on the interior side. With this in mind, Chuck sought to expand his business and add an interior design division to keep up with industry demands and his business vision. He had worked with Amy Andrews on numerous successful projects in the past, so the two agreed to merge her interior design practice with his architecture practice. The result was the launch of Hilton Interiors in the spring of 2017, a collaboration producing extraordinary work in the design field.

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The designer chose a neutral palette to evoke warmth and relaxation, with sand-colored tones that match the surroundings.

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The kitchen and dining space was opened up to allow for spectacular ocean views that were not accessible in the original design.

Room with a View When the clients of this home approached Chuck and Amy, they were seeking a place that afforded comfort and relaxation. Their children were grown, and they wanted a vacation home with easy access to the waterfront to facilitate their love for outdoor recreation. “They are active in a lot of recreational activities,” Chuck explains. “They are out in the water, surfing, playing golf and doing all sorts of things. It is kind of a pad for this active recreational type of lifestyle.” Chuck had worked with these clients on past projects, so he had great insight into what their vision for this home would be. His design process is a collaboration with clients: he asks them to create a wish list with everything they want, and then he writes out a program to present to them. He will show them lots of pictures and suggest a style or direction for the design, and then get their feedback. Since he had a great rapport with these homeowners, he and the clients were able to generate a concept that met all their needs and wants in a style that matched their personality. “They were forthcoming in explaining how they live and what their dreams and expectations are,” Chuck recalls. “And since we know and understand 78

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them, we reciprocated with visually descriptive images to share with them.” The condominium is a little over 2,000 square feet with two bedrooms, one a waterfront master, and the other an interior. Although it was built right up to the waterfront, which was ideal for the homeowners, the space did not fully utilize its prime location. “The one thing that was really important to them was to open it up because the way the walls were placed, the interior didn’t share or participate in the waterfront environment very much; the master bedroom and living room were the only water views,” Chuck says, describing the original layout. Chuck didn’t think a totally open plan was the right fit for the space, but his team was able to open up the walls and create wide openings between the rooms. The existing master bedroom had a lot of builtin cabinetry that was cluttering the room and blocking some of the views; they removed that to expand the space and achieve the additional light that was so important to the clients. The entire project was a gut renovation, all the way down to the studs. All the windows and doors were replaced, and the heating and wiring were stripped down and built back up.


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“On the architectural side of things, we used some traditional materials, but in a little cleaner, more contemporary way,” Chuck says. “For example, the inside trim is walnut, and all the finishes have a reflectivity to them to pick up the waterfront and environment.” They also used a French polish on the beams, with walls of Venetian plaster, which helps the reflection off the water bounce and travel into the interior rooms of the condo. Amy recalls the challenges of trying to maximize functionality of the space and meet all the items on the client wish list. In addition to enhancing the ocean views, she focused on improving the laundry room, powder room, storage areas, en suite guest room and master suite. “This was definitely challenging because we wererestricted in space,” Amy explains. “We achieved it: really having the view and opening it up, updating it, and making it feel family-friendly yet elegant. It was a fun process.” The goal was to apply a clean design without being too contemporary. The team wanted to make sure it did not come across as stark. With the new design, the dining room and kitchen now have stunning views over the water, a feature that was missed in the original layout. Outdoor Comforts With the property so close to the waterfront, a high priority of the design team was to create an outdoor space that was beautiful and relaxing and could withstand the harsh elements of coastal living. The guardrail was changed to metal and glass, elements that were less obtrusive to the view. Side windscreens were also replaced with glass to maintain the view and provide protection from the wind. The terrace surface was redone with stone that could withstand the sun and salt. “We used a stone that we could bring both inside and out, so as you stand in the living room and look out, it is one continuous surface that goes from one to the other,” Chuck explains. Amy added the final furnishings to capture the environment, and complemented the space with a long, linear custom-built fire pit that helps take the chill out of the evening air. Since the unit was part of a larger building, the renovation needed to account for loadbearing walls and utilities running to upperGulf Coast Design + Decor

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level units. The windows and doors were redone to be strong, durable and impact-resistant. This was a tricky process, Chuck explains, as it was important to stay with the residential feel of the property, but to install premium high-endurance windows. “The exposure and wear and tear that everything takes being direct waterfront is a big deal,” Chuck says. “You need to think about the materials with the outside and even inside, with tarnishing. The salt air is everywhere, and the sun is so pervasive in terms of fading.” For this 80

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reason the glass is laminated, which is great for UV protection as well as protection from the elements. Amy made sure to use insulated curtains and shades that drop down automatically to block the sun at high times. Taking into account the sandy feet that would inevitably enter the space, the team installed limestone floors throughout the main area, and filled the space with durable rugs and carpets the same color as sand. The entire condo was designed with a soft, clean and warm palette of neutral colors. Wood and stone details infuse the space and reflect the water-


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Wood mixed with lighter colors produces an elegant and refined design with the comforts of a vacation home.

front atmosphere. “If you go from room to room, you’ll notice consistent attention to detail, and consistent materials and palette throughout. It’s not that big a place, so if you were to do different things from room to room, especially with the rooms being so open to each other, it would get kind of busy and fight each other,” says Chuck. “We came up with a nice palette that could be customized appropriately from room to room, but also have a cohesive feel.”

The strategy was to employ a low-key color scheme to enhance the blue reflected from the water. Techniques used to visually open a somewhat small space include a sliver window in the bathroom, allowing a little view of the ocean, and a glass and stone shower. The completed project is updated home that oozes refinement. Comfort and warmth are found in every room, creating an ideal space for relaxing and watching the waves, or entertaining guests. Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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An innovative architectural design matched with a cohesive and individualized interior is what Chuck and Amy bring to their clients. This home has an idyllic setting and needed their touch to bring it to life and reveal the beauty from within. The team was able to achieve this on both the exterior and interior spaces. When Amy describes her aesthetic and her work, she revels in the quest. “Everything is a challenge and everything is fun,” she says. “Whether it is a super-contemporary beach house or a traditional farm house, it is fun to have things to research and projects to work on.” And that’s why Amy and Chuck of Hilton Interiors work so well together, and the beautiful homes they create are a true testament to their detailed work and elevated designs.

Resources A sliver window in the master bathroom offers an additional water view and makes the smaller space feel larger. Details such as thin tile and glass were used to visually guide one’s attention and make the space feel bigger.

Interior Design Chuck Hilton Amy Andrews Hilton Interiors 170 Mason Street Greenwich, CT 06830 203.489.3800 hiltonarchitects.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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EMPYREAN ELEGANCE Interior designer Rhett Josey gives this Bonita Springs home a dazzling remodel, turning it into the star of the neighborhood Story by Anastasia Storer | Photography by Neil Landino

Poolside view of the front entrance and lounge area. The faceted glass window design gives a breathtaking look out onto the backyard and pool.

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ll interior designers are artists. The home is their canvas, and the furnishings, materials and finishes are their paints. Using these tools, they transform a house from the merely functional into an artistic expression of the homeowner’s personality. And while every good designer can make a home beautiful, the truly great designers are able to go beyond beauty, breathing life into rooms and spaces, imparting them with emotion and energy. The inimitable Rhett Josey is one such designer. Rhett was born in New Orleans, a city that left an indelible mark on his imagination and heart, even though his family moved to Birmingham when he was very young. “New Orleans is the most bewitching city I’ve ever lived in,” he says, “and it definitely influenced my development as a designer, between the French Creole architecture and style, and the very individualistic, eclectic way people like to decorate their homes.” Rhett had originally intended to become an architect, but he soon realized he had a magical way with the spaces created by architecture, and thus he decided to go into interior design. “I discovered I was better at creating the vibe, feel and energy of the home,” he says. “My love of designing and building are still there, but I chose to focus on interiors, not exteriors.”

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The lounge has four graceful Athens chairs by Thomas Pheasant for Baker in a soft ivory leather. These surround a custom John Lyle bronze cocktail table, which holds a hand-forged abstract sculpture by Michael Aram, providing a central anchor point for the conversation area.

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A pair of Marge Carson drink tables are the perfect complement to the John Lyle bronze cocktail table. Defining the conversation area is a hand-knotted custom rug by Stark.

After graduating from the New York School of Interior Design, Rhett interned at New York City’s preeminent Parish-Hadley & Associates design firm, which is known for its enduring impact on American interior design. The firm was a powerhouse for four decades, its client list reading like a Who’s Who: the Rockefellers, the Gettys and, of course, Ms. Jackie Kennedy herself, when she asked the firm to help her renovate the White House. The influence of Parish-Hadley is still felt today through the work of the talented designers fortunate enough to have worked there, and Rhett is no exception. Since then, Rhett has left his sophisticated, dramatic touch on distinctive homes in Birmingham, Miami and Naples. He recently joined Norris Interiors at its Naples office, where he looks forward to continuing to create homes that fascinate and delight as a representation and reflection of his clients’ unique personalities and lifestyles. Rhett’s design process could quite possibly be called “home whispering.” He believes in respecting the architecture of a home, and takes time to walk through it, observing and listening. “The home will tell you the direction it wants to go,” he explains. “And I approach design first and foremost from the central idea that everything must be comfortable. A home is meant to be lived in, not simply looked at. While I always want my designs to have a ‘wow’ factor for the homeowner, comfort is still key.” A Celestial Transformation After meeting with the clients, walking through the home and chatting about their desires and ideas, Rhett’s vision for this home started to come into focus. “We talked for awhile about whether we wanted

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to tear everything out and start over, but in the end we decided to retain the architectural structure,” he explains. “The clients knew they wanted to freshen it up and make it current. The home was a true Mediterranean design with a strong Tuscan style, and that’s how I knew to shift to a more classical European salon aesthetic. The bones were already there to allow me to make the renovated home appear as though it had been there forever. I didn’t want it to be obvious that it had gone through a remodel.” Rhett also wanted to give the home a timeless quality and an airy feeling. He took inspiration from the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, whose style created visual synergy between a home and its environment. To achieve this, Rhett stripped out all the dark, heavy draperies and valances to allow in more natural light and give greater visibility to the lovely views of the home’s landscaping. He had all the walls repainted in Sherwin Williams’ Greek Villa, a pale, barely-there color that effectively erased all traces of the home’s previous Mediterranean Tuscan style, while also brightening the entire space and providing a beautiful blank canvas on which to work his magic. The combined effect of Florida’s lovely sunshine and the much lighter paint color suffuses the entire interior with a soft, gentle glow, giving the home an ethereal, dream-like quality throughout. It also makes the home feel more open and expansive; the lighter color visually pulls the ceilings upwards and makes the walls less confining, which gives every room the impression of being much larger. Rhett doesn’t just respect the home’s Mediterranean architecture, he lovingly embraces it, making it an integral, yet subtle, part of his de-

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The living area is defined by an octagonal rug hand-loomed in India. Opposite the sofa is a custom Lola chaise by Laura Kirar for Baker, with a pair of Lana swim chairs by Donghia completing the circle. A contemporary Bacco chandelier by Julian Chichester is a sleek, subtle visual accent to the room.

sign, and in so doing, utterly transforms it. The eye finds graceful curves and lines all throughout the house to complement the archways that are the primary visual architectural element of the home. “It was important to echo the lines of the arches in the house in my design,” says Rhett. “It’s not in your face; I want it to be quiet, but if you look, you’ll see them.” Contemporary Sophistication One of the most enjoyable aspects of interior design for clients is when the designer takes them on an adventure, exploring potential fabrics and furnishings. “We’ll walk the showrooms,” says Rhett, “and I’ll just watch and see what 88

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A floral-inspired Currey & Company chandelier hangs above the Arcade dining room table by Thomas Pheasant for Baker. Beautiful Baccarat crystal obelisks create a sparkling centerpiece.

the client gravitates to.” Rhett’s discerning eye and breadth of knowledge of materials and finishes allowed him to show these clients things they never would have found on their own—all while letting him discover their personal tastes and preferences along the way. For this project, it was a sofa in the Donghia showroom that became the starting point for the interior furnishings. “They fell in love with the cozy fabric and calm pattern,” he says. “That’s when I knew the color palettes and the textures they preferred. I had a custom, 10-foot sofa made in the same fabric and Pavel style for the main living area; the sofa’s got this lovely curve, and because it’s a tight back, the lines stay very clean and crisp.” It’s the simple, elegant lines that make the look contemporary, and all of Rhett’s design choices held to the two themes of graceful curves and clean lines. The contemporary aesthetic can sometimes feel a little bland and chilly. Not so here, however, as Rhett chose sumptuous, soft fabrics for upholstery, and gauzy, translucent drapes that bring a sensuality to his design in its most literal sense by offering an indulgent, luxurious sensory experience. The effect invites the eye to linger on the curve of a mirror, or the hand to rest on warm leather or blissful mohair. He also brought a feeling of glamour to the home right from the moment you reach the front entrance, where a faceted wall of glass lets the visitor see into the home. The effect is stunGulf Coast Design + Decor

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ning, and it’s Rhett’s favorite room in the house. “It’s dramatic and intimate, despite how open the space is,” he says. “It’s such an exquisite spot, and it sets the stage for the rest of the home.” It’s a favorite of the clients as well, in a case of real life reflecting the European salon inspiration Rhett began with. The homeowners use the room as their preferred place to sit and enjoy cocktails and conversation with visitors and houseguests. Divinity in the Details For Rhett, bringing the design of a home to life is like telling the client’s story: every room and space has its own tale to tell, but all of them interweave together to create the energy and emotion of the home. The key to this lies in the details Rhett uses to create a subliminal conversation between the rooms and spaces. Your subconscious knows there’s something special happening, but you can’t quite put your finger on it unless you’re really paying attention. Rhett’s use of metals is just one of these expert details. Gleaming gold and brass, shimmery silver and graphite details are found throughout the home, not just in the furnishings and larger sculptures, but as accents in the artwork and even as metallic thread in the comforter and pillow covers in the master bedroom. The metals are used to expertly accentuate a particular area and add visual interest, and also as a way to catch the light, which for Rhett is a key aspect of design. “Lighting is so much more than simple illumination,” he explains. “It’s an integral part of the design. Lighting fixtures are like jewelry for the home. They pull a room together, and the light itself—how it performs, the shape it casts—directly affects the mood of the room.” That ability that light has to change the way a room feels is why Rhett layers his light, starting with recessed lighting as a foundational layer, 90

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The serene guest bedroom houses a favorite armoire. A sculptural ergonomic Brazilian chair was added for a fresh, updated look.


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An Anneau chandelier is the perfect counterpoint for the Lyric bed by Barbara Berry for Baker. A Mike Talbot sofa with a pair of Baker stack bronze tables offers a quiet, comfy spot for morning coffee.

and then adding in chandeliers and larger central fixtures to anchor the room and add ambience. Then comes task and accent lighting in the form of side and table lamps. Rhett also believes all light should be on dimmers to give homeowners complete control over how the light in the home behaves, so they can adjust the lighting to the mood, from season to season and, of course, from day to night. “Homes are beautiful during the day, but I really believe it’s at night that a home comes to life,” he says. “It’s the time when people are most likely to be at home, and it’s when you can really start to play with the lighting and let it create the mood.” Rhett’s mastery of lighting is truly spectacular; using sparkling crystal to reflect and frosted glass to diffuse, he’s almost able to give the light a physical presence and texture. Exploring the rooms, one will find a painting in the back hallway with a soft, silvered background, and a metallic-chased abstract pattern in the foreground that contains a large loop shape. That same looped shape can be found in the sculpture that sits on the table in the front entrance lounge, and in some of the draperies. Such is the incredible

attention and care to detail that Rhett brings to his design. “A lot of thought goes into every piece and why I choose something for a particular room,” he says. “Everything is making a subtle statement, from the furnishings to the fabrics and window treatments, to the paintings and the objets d’art. I want to create layers of visual texture and detail so that even the homeowner will find something new about a room long after my work is done.” Bringing together a client’s desires in a home that is not only breathtaking for the visitor, but for the homeowner as well? That’s the magic Rhett Josey wields, creating heavenly homes that will remain a joy to live in for years to come.

Resources: Rhett Josey Norris Furniture 5015 Tamiami Trail North Naples, Florida 34103 239.263.0580 norrisfurniture.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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SOHO Kitchens & Design in Naples celebrated their grand re-opening. SOHO’s newly designed space shows the latest innovation in kitchen design. The new space will not only inspire you with great designs but it will also help you visualize new possibilities within your own home. 92

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DWAYNE BERGMANN INTERIORS Dwayne Bergmann Interiors welcomed over 100 colleagues, clients, vendors and friends to its new two-story showroom at 12195 Metro Parkway, Suite 1, in Fort Myers on February 2nd. The showroom is divided into three feature sections. It includes an exclusive European product line, Hunter Douglas products, and custom cabinetry from SieMatic, Wood-Mode and Art Craft, as well as custom drapery, hardware and flooring. Guests were escorted into the Design Library where the collaboration between clients and designers takes shape. It is adorned with a crystal chandelier, linen and table samples, a slideshow presentation of the company’s work, paintings, canvases, vases and more. The three-hour event concluded with remarks by Dwayne Bergmann, Principal, Conceptual Artist/Designer, who introduced a new interior designer, Robin McGarry, to the firm from the New York area, as well as paid tribute to his team and first clients and spoke about the goal of the cosmopolitan-inspired showroom. Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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Blinds & Designs of Florida


Story by Ashley Rose Marino

linds & Designs of Florida is the go-to place for any window covering needs in the Sarasota area. Brian D. Melle, the owner, has been in the industry for over 20 years, and his expertise shows in the quality of his work and his dedication to making sure his clients get the product they need, even if it’s not the product they originally sought. “What is the purpose of what we are putting in?” and “What will that product accomplish?” are two important questions that Brian and his excellent staff ask when making product recommendations for clients. Most companies will take your blinds order and send you on your way, while Blinds & Designs of Florida takes the time to see how the sun hits the windows of your home during different times of day, and how that changes through the seasons. You won’t get this kind of one-on-one care from just another window treatment retailer. If you’re looking for a box of basic “Made in China” vinyl


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blinds, you won’t find that here, either. Everything is custom fit for your home at this full-service shop. If you want drapes or cornices to accompany your newly covered windows, you can choose from the fabric selections in the showroom, or bring in your own fabric to add those all-important finishing touches. “You can’t buy a car with a crank-up window anymore,” Brian says. Likewise, “everything is moving toward home automation.” More and more of Blinds & Designs of Florida’s clientele are asking for automated blinds and shades, since automation adds simplicity and security to the home. You can program your shades to protect your home from the sun when it’s the brightest, and integrate them with the rest of your home automation products. Moreover, when your shades are moving, it looks like someone is home, even if you’re on vacation or stuck at work. This seemingly simple feature can help deter burglars from targeting your home, giving you peace of mind.


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For the past five years, Blinds & Designs of Florida has proudly served the Sarasota, Bradenton and surrounding Florida communities with top-notch service and expertise. Along with its dedication to innovation and customized care, the company also “has the largest selection of manufacturers around,� says Brian, and can work within any budget. From the friendly faces up front to the Hunter Douglas-certified window installers who work directly for the company, Blinds & Designs of Florida is committed to complete customer satisfaction from start to finish. Blinds & Designs of Florida Brian D. Melle 2123 University Parkway Sarasota, FL 34243 941.360.9200 blindsanddesignsofflorida.com Gulf Coast Design + Decor

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Home Philosophie


ome Philosophie is Naples’ newest showroom, artist showcase and meeting space. With over 50 years of combined experience in the interior design industry, co-owners Leilani Bennett and Susan Petril have turned their passion for design into the cornerstone of this new retail boutique.

Leilani Bennett is the owner of Bennett Interiors in Naples, and in the 22+ years she has been in business, her main focus has been giving her clients the best possible service. Indeed, her clients can’t help but wonder if Leilani ever takes a day off, as she seems to work round the clock, seven days a week. Her dedication to cultivating meaningful relationships with her clients is what makes Bennett Interiors shine. What happens when clients have a burning question at 11 p.m. about the fabric they’ve chosen for their custom window treatments? Leilani is in constant contact, showing them that no matter what or when something happens, she’ll be there for them. Leilani has found that writing mystery novels on the side has its perks when it comes to gaining design insight. When she chats with new clients, her experience as a writer helps her get designs right the first time: she has learned how to give her clients what they want before they even know what they want. Susan Petril, owner of Interiors Group of SW Florida in Naples, focuses on creating spaces that reflect the individual personality of each client. She helps them through every single aspect of the design process, developing a space that’s the best version of their overall vision. Susan’s signature style is very structured, coastal and handsome. Her unique take on classic styles is why customers seek out her design expertise. Each home she works on is centered on comfort and elegance, resulting every time in the creation of a timeless space. Susan and Leilani have been friends for more than 20 years, so naturally they ended up collaborating and establishing a business that the entirety of Naples


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can enjoy. What sets Home Philosophie apart from other showrooms is its focus on bringing the design community together by giving artists, professionals and homeowners alike a place to mingle and see what’s available in their neighborhood. The store provides a space for local designers and artisans to display their work in various gorgeous vignettes on the sales floor. Since the showroom is open to the public, Home Philosophie creates a welcoming atmosphere where anyone can come in and make a new connection. Speaking of connections, Home Philosophie caters to local realtors and their clients who are on the fence about taking the plunge and purchasing a specific home. Realtors can come into Home Philosophie, sit down with their client, enjoy a glass of complimentary wine, and meet with a designer for a free consultation about the possibilities of the home they want to purchase. Creating a space where design specialists can offer free advice not only helps realtors close their sales, it also helps designers gain connections that could lead to future clients. For a unique retail experience that is focused on creating partnerships rather than solely making sales, visit Leilani and Susan’s Home Philosophie boutique. Home Philosophie 1854 Trade Center Way Unit 100 Naples FL 34109 Bennett Interiors Leilani Bennett 239.465.9675 Interiors Group of SW Florida Susan Petril 239.777.1232


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