Designer Leslie Murchie Cascino’s father has a long history with Naples. As a child in the 1960s, his parents owned a second home in the growing town, where the Long Island family spent their time during summers. (He jokes they were the only Americans who summered in Florida.) When he had his own children decades later, this holiday tradition continued in the very same house. But over time, the inherited residence began feeling cramped with a growing family, so he and his wife longed for something new.
This family is no stranger to constructing houses. When her parents built one in Park City, Utah, Murchie Cascino—then still in design school—took on the project and worked closely with architect Scott Jaffa. Years later, the duo reunited, along with builder John Hurtado, for the construction of a new Florida vacation home, on a pie-shaped corner lot along a canal in Old Naples. The goal: Create a comfortable abode that pays homage to the coming-of-age era of midcentury Naples, with a casual style that accommodates the large family—pets included.
“My parents felt strongly that when they’re in Florida, they want it to feel like Florida—not a replica of their home in Connecticut,” Murchie Cascino says. Jaffa established this from the outset by channeling a modern take on the area’s local vernacular. “We tried to incorporate details that would have been included in older residences,” he says, pointing to the clapboard siding, front porch and pitched rooflines. Adding to the beach cottage feel, the wife selected a sky-blue color for the exterior. “When you drive up to the house and see that blue,” the husband describes, “it immediately tells you: This is a place that’s fun and casual, not formal.” Continuing the midcentury coastal vibe, Murchie Cascino adopted an interior palette of tropical tones, such as teals and corals, and sought materials that were popular when Naples was developing, like ceramic tiles. “The name of the game was personality—fun, joyful, casual, quirky, without looking cartoonish,” she says. “We wanted it to feel fresh and include historical references without being kitschy.”
She established this look in the foyer, where terrazzo flooring meets crisp white tongue-and-groove walls, and continued it throughout with whimsical moments. The powder room, for instance, is home to an orange-and-sherbet banana-leaf print wallpaper, while the pantry’s cerulean cabinetry complements a fish-scale backsplash tile in a gradient of blues, mimicking ocean waves. “Part of my job as a designer is to determine how the interior fits within the location and the era we’re trying to emulate,” Murchie Cascino says. “This creates a cohesive language throughout the home.”
These heavy doses of color and pattern are concentrated. In most spaces, Murchie Cascino designed the room around a motif that complements the home’s scope, creating a series of vignettes, while keeping background carpets and floors neutral whites. “We decided to leave some walls blank to rest your eye and offer room to grow,” she explains. And to ensure the house doesn’t feel like a 1950s time capsule, she selected modern light fixtures and casual pieces, like slipcovered armchairs in the living area as well as striped rugs and rattan decor throughout.
The design flows breezily through the home’s layout, which is primed for hosting. Bedrooms and furnishings are arranged so each guest has a desk and private space, and there are plenty of gathering areas. One of them is the children’s bunkroom, which serves triple duty as a television room and the wife’s office. The living area—home to a fireplace made of blue- glazed brick—opens to the expansive lanai, which connects to a pool deck and terraces leading to the water, with views of a mangrove preserve.
Ever since the abode was complete, Murchie Cascino’s family has congregated at the property fall through spring (the summer months are now spent in Park City and Connecticut). And although 60 years have passed since his childhood summers, the designer’s father is just as sentimental about how he spends his time in Naples. “This home is very much oriented toward how we live,” he says. “I like to have the sense that I’m on vacation when I’m here—and I do.”