This handsome coastal home isn’t its owners’ first residence in Old Naples, Florida. Their previous house in the area was one property away from the beach—which meant that their views of the Gulf’s glittering waters were eventually blocked by a new build.
So enticing was the prospect of waking up each day to the sight of the sand and waves that the couple decided to find a beachfront property and start again. When they did, they put together a dream design team: architect John Cooney and the couple’s longtime designer Bruce Palmer Coon, who together created a residence that satisfies the owners’ desire for an elegant and comfortable coastal abode that embraces the site’s views in every possible way—and fits right into its beachy environs without falling into seaside design tropes.
“[The owner] likes the West Indies-inspired, clean, tropical style,” Cooney says, “and he wanted me to get as many rooms on the view as possible.” The architect dreamed up a three-story concept with authentic detailing and materials: On the exterior, Cooney specified tabby shell stucco, mahogany windows and doors, and large overhangs with tongue-and-groove soffits and outrigger brackets and corbels. Even the gutters and downspouts—zinc-coated copper—align with the home’s distinctive style. Cooney prioritized the use of windows and sliding-glass doors; using as much glass as possible on the north and west elevations allows for ample views of the water and floods the interiors with natural light.
That sunlight illuminates exquisitely detailed interiors. The front door is at mezzanine level, splitting the difference between the exterior grade and the first habitable floor, and opens to a dramatic three-story-height entry. Coon designed a pair of handblown, Murano glass “sea bubble” chandeliers, one of which extends from the second-floor ceiling to the first floor, while the second fixture extends 31 feet through all three levels of the space. “We did countless drawings to ensure the space would be sufficient for what is, essentially, an art installation,” Coon says. “And we had to be sure the grandkids wouldn’t swing off of it,” he laughs.
The owners asked for main-floor living so they could reserve the second floor for those grandchildren and their parents, as well as a plan that fosters entertaining. Among the ways the design team delivered: the glowing dining room with a gorgeous pecky cypress ceiling treatment. “I’ve always loved pecky cypress, probably because it reminds me of Addison Mizner’s houses in Palm Beach. It’s very ‘old Florida,’ ” Coon says. To accommodate the HVAC grills and preserve the integrity of the ceiling’s design, Cooney worked with the mechanical engineer to create a hidden reveal—which appears as a shadow line in the ceiling details—behind which the ductwork resides. The room’s other elements, including gold-threaded grass cloth on the walls, sheer ombré curtains and a smoked-glass mirror, give the room an inviting feel.
This level of detail is omnipresent throughout. “The wood-clad walls, the millwork, the columns—it required a very high level of craftsmanship,” says builder Dave Rogers. His team, led by project supervisor Andy Warner, oversaw the installation of the architectural paneling and millwork that Coon specified throughout the home. In the living room, for example, paneled walls make a handsome backdrop for the coquina-limestone fireplace, and a silk Phillip Jeffries wallcovering defines the ceiling’s coffers. Even the powder room exudes elegance: Venetian-plaster wallpaper panels with a polished nickel trim complement a single-slab marble floor.
The interior beauty is matched, of course, only by its site on the Gulf. Cooney designed expansive outdoor, west-facing living spaces on each level, which provide privacy from beach-goers and protection from the afternoon sun. Landscape architect Koby Kirwin nestled the pool below the dune so the owners “have unobstructed views of the water breaking on the shore,” he says, “and the pool is protected from the winter winds off the Gulf.” To landscape the property, he used a small plant palette inspired by the site’s coastal setback, including native sea grape and clusia, railroad vine and coastal grasses; a wall of Sylvester palms and hedging gives some privacy from the public beach access. “The owners invested in the view and in a home that embraces it,” he says. “We all just wanted to give them a place that they never want to leave.”