Inside a Modern-Coastal Gulf Gem in Naples
A high perch overlooking Naples’ pristine waters inspires a New England couple to trade colonial charm for west Florida sunsets.
Swapping the historical pedigree of Richmond, Vermont for the alluring sunsets of Florida’s Paradise Coast had its list of pros and cons for an obstetrician and her husband. But once the couple discovered a 4,500-square-foot condominium overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in Mystique, a 21-story luxury high-rise on Pelican Bay Boulevard in Naples, they knew a move south was inevitable.
“When we started looking at real estate, we were thinking low-maintenance, with a view, and within walking distance to the beach,” says the wife. “When we saw the unit at Mystique, we knew it was perfect.”
Perched on the seventeenth floor, the decorator-ready condo had numerous assets, including breathtaking eastern and westerly vantages, a private elevator, a sun-splashed terrace, a completed kitchen and bathrooms, and plenty of lateral space for living and entertaining.
After the couple closed on a Super Bowl Sunday, their real estate agent suggested they speak to Randi Scott and Liz Brown of Calusa Bay Design, an award-winning design firm in Naples whose residential interiors are known for their comfort, elegance, and impeccable attention to detail.
“We met them at a spec home we had designed with a color palette they really liked, and they said they would get back to us in a few days,” remembers Brown. “Twenty minutes later they called us to say we were the right fit and they were ready to proceed.”
From the beginning, the homeowners were clear about wanting a sophisticated, modern-coastal aesthetic with rooms centered around reading, relaxing, and spending time together.
“They requested light wood floors and dark wood features, which is something you don’t hear very often in Naples,” says Scott. “And no florals or botanicals of any kind. Just a straightforward schematic of whites, grays, and navies that tied into the finishes and furnishings and wouldn’t compete with their art collection.”
When delineating the home’s expansive footprint, the couple delighted at the idea of creating cohesive and harmonious spaces that mixed case goods by Baker, Holly Hunt, and other artisans with upholstered pieces cast in an array of similar hues.The design crew began the condo’s transformation by encasing the concrete flooring with a select grade European white oak that stands up to heavy traffic and looks fresh underfoot. Next, every door, including the front entrance, was replaced with a modern profile and entryways were trimmed in dark wood.
In the dining room, light-colored wall coverings mix with rich wood features and earthy accents to keep the space feeling airy and bright. Orbicular crystal sconces add organic interest above a custom walnut buffet the designers had made locally. Side chairs dressed in disparate colors and patterns inject warmth and texture. The star of the space is a striking, 84-inch chandelier whose thalassic silhouette complements the home’s magnificent water panoramas. “We opted for the wave design because it really spoke to the Naples look without being too coastal,” says Brown. “Each drop is a solid crystal, so it reflects the light beautifully.”
Hanging in the neutral-toned great room is one of the couple’s favorite abstract artworks, Theresa Girard’s Distant Whispers, sourced from Gardner Colby Gallery in downtown Naples. The walnut built-in here was designed to mask a low-voltage transformer and cleverly serves as a de facto frame. At the opposite end, the family room is an inviting spot to unwind thanks to rows of floating walnut shelving that were installed to augment warmth and bring gravitas to cherished mementos and an impressive book collection.
While they won’t play favorites, the homeowners say they love the feeling of complete tranquility in the primary bedroom sitting area. One reason for that might be that their prized painting, Donna Bruni’s Awakening, hangs prominently above a console table. “I find it very serene and peaceful,” says the wife. “When I look out over the mangroves, it seems to complete the space.”
Although there were delays due to the pandemic, the beachfront apartment was completed in less than a year. The day before the big reveal, the entire Calusa Bay Design team gathered to get the condo move-in ready for their clients who were staying in Vermont.
“When we walked in, everything was glowing,” says the wife. “We looked at every piece of furniture, every wallcovering, and it was spectacular; just as we imagined it would be.”
Interior Design Randi Scott & Liz Brown, Calusa Bay Design, Naples, FL
Builder C.R. Smith, Naples, FL
Text by Kerry Shorr
Photography Venjhamin Reyes, Miami, FL