Interior designer Susan Jamieson knows new adventures await whenever her frequent client, a globe-trotting design aficionado, comes calling. Together, they have built three abodes around the world, their last an off-the-grid beachfront villa in Tulum, Mexico. For her mainstay in Naples, however, “the owner wanted an anchor, a special haven she felt connected to, that reminded her of all the places she’s been throughout her life,” Jamieson says.
After years of creating ambitious dwellings together, the client fully trusted the interior designer to render all her international sojourns into a cohesive whole for her primary residence. “I really gave her free reign,” the homeowner smiles. “I only told her I wanted it to be colorful, feminine and fun.” The existing bright yet plain interiors offered a clean canvas for cultivating “a well-traveled house,” Jamieson says, with details that summon the client’s memorable journeys through Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and the Mediterranean.
With residential designer Chris Greider and builder David Minton on board, they introduced character-driven materials, like sun-bleached wood tones “that reminded us of our time in Mexico,” the interior designer recalls. The distinctive driftwood hue runs throughout the house, including the herringbone front door, the new white oak floors and the living area’s ceiling slats, which conceal recessed lighting and are reminiscent of a Mexican palapa. Each ceiling plank “was cut by hand and stained board by board,” Minton notes. In all, he adds, “everything was made custom to integrate all the different elements into one congruent design.”
Additional finishes soften the kitchen, which opens to the expansive living area. “The kitchen lies at the center of the house,” Jamieson explains,” so I wanted it to be beautiful as well as functional.” To execute this, the team removed the existing oversize island and split the space in two. One half belongs to the practical kitchen, “which turned into more of a private spot to feed all the pets,” laughs the owner, who shares the home with her two dogs and two cats. This space remains behind the scenes, accessed through Moroccan-style pointed arches. The front showcase kitchen, meanwhile, serves as a relaxed, inviting area with a Venetian plaster hood, mosaic tile backsplash and paneled columns adorned with eight-pointed stars, cut out and backlit to cast an ambient glow.
The residence delves into the client’s memories of Morocco in particular, most of all in the riad-style patio. Underscoring a serene atmosphere, the team built a courtyard oasis with thick ceiling beams, rounded arches, handmade plaster molding and black-and-white Greek key tiling that snakes around the columns and the pool’s perimeter. The space also subtly nods to the homeowner’s Indonesian retreats with handcrafted finds like an ornately carved antique daybed.
Throughout the house, the interior designer blended vintage patina with minimalist restraint. “I like putting modern and antique pieces together in a fun way,” she explains. Leaning contemporary, furniture silhouettes—like the living area’s generous sectional—are streamlined but soft, with no hard edges. The gentle shapes harmonize with the sculptural lines of globally sourced pieces, such as an Indonesian rain drum cleverly converted into a side table.
Color, too, plays with contrasting themes. Jamieson established a foundation of white walls, blond woods and neutral-toned rugs that makes flashes of color all the more vibrant and emotive, from the seashell-pink office to a guest bedroom’s tropical shades of coral and sky blue. Patterns, in turn, are bright and dynamic: Some are pulled from nature, such as a guest bathroom’s nasturtium leaf wallpaper and the living area’s wallcovering of floating abstract purple petals. Meanwhile, others draw from global artisanal traditions, like ikat-print fabrics—as seen on the living area armchairs—and a guest bedroom’s vintage rug. The lone exception is the darkly glamorous dining room, tucked alongside the living area and cloaked in an abstract bronze-and- black wallpaper. “I always envisioned that room as a jewel box, creating this intimate spot within the open floor plan,” Jamieson says.
With the project complete, the client and the interior designer are already eying a new destination—this time an idyllic cabin in Quebec. But the Naples residence will always remain home, forged as a warm, familiar refuge to return to after long jaunts away. “This place is layered with materials, patterns, textures and, most of all, things that hold so much personal meaning, all pulled together,” the owner says.