When the new owners of a Lake Drive residence in Naples turned their home over to interior designer Kara Hardt, they had only two stipulations. First, after living in a traditionally furnished home up North, they were looking for a change. They asked Kara to create an easy-living, contemporary home. Second, the existing flooring and cabinetry were to remain. Other than that, they placed themselves completely in the hands of Hardt and Interiors by Agostino’s. Their trust and confidence were well placed. Today, they are enjoying a vibrant, contemporary home fused with sophisticated splashes of color, rich woods, and imaginative lighting. It is everything they had hoped for and more.
“The owners were delightful to work with,” says David Sciacqua, owner of Agostino’s. “So many times, people can’t see what the designer sees, but they liked and understood where we were going and gave Kara the freedom to get out there and find really spectacular things.”
After considering the curved walls and abundant natural light in the home’s primary living areas, Hardt introduced two signature elements found throughout her design — custom wall finishes and high-tech artisanal lighting. A custom-built wall of Madagascar wood anchors the living room, adding richness and interest while separating it from the study. Madagascar was chosen for its striped grain and contemporary feeling, both of which are highlighted by Hardt’s use of an alternating horizontal and vertical panel pattern.
A warm paprika faux-finished marbled wall in the dining room makes a bold statement and establishes a dominant, high-energy color palette. Above the dining table, a 4-by-6 foot Chihuly-style sculptural art glass installation continues the ingenious use of color. The sculpture consists of sixty different individually wired glass pieces as well as a network of rope lighting, spotlights, and cans.
“We used the owners’ artwork to guide us in selecting the glass,” explains Hardt. “Every piece was chosen on the basis of its size, shape, and color. From there, we created an amazing web of colored light underscored by white light.”
Four switches control the lighting moods and effects. According to Hardt, the colors and lights can be focused or diffused, targeted to a narrow space, or washed across a wide area.
The lighting in the main living area shares the organic sensibility and drama of the art glass installation, but is executed in a minimalist, streamlined fashion. A series of low-voltage pendants hang at varying heights from a metal track that snakes along the curves of the room.
The use of sleek, contemporary lighting carries into the kitchen where a one-of-a-kind Italian chandelier comprised of disk lights hangs over a frosted glass table with a contemporary base. Dark wood cabinetry and spiced orange window panels echo the Madagascar and faux-finished walls of the living and dining areas. A rainbow of upholstered leather chairs in shades of green, blue, and chocolate add accent color.
Upstairs, the master suite departs from the vibrant color palette. Instead, warm champagne tones on the walls, linens, rugs, and drapes are used to create an uninterrupted aura of tranquility. A large alcove frames a pair of queen beds that have been joined to form an oversized retreat. The upholstered headboard is crowned with glass tile. For storage, shelves were built into the side recesses of the niche and lights embedded above. Two custom kidney-shaped rugs and softly glazed walls add to the warm ambience. The creamy tones continue into the simple and elegant master bath with its stunning veined marble floor.
In the guest bedrooms, saturated colors return. In the main house, a textured chocolate accent wall is painted in contrasting faux-finished squares of swirls and lines. The ceiling inset, done in a lighter brown, and a plantation fan set inside the coffer tie the room together, while sky-blue custom bed linens and drapes add a cool contrast.
The cabana bedroom adjacent to the pool is decorated in sunny chartreuse. An upholstered headboard and side panels are covered in cut velvet and the walls are painted in a faux finish to resemble linen. A bathroom and dry bar complete the cabana. The brightly colored gecko wall art was discovered by the owners at an art show.
In the study, soft tan walls finished in a striped effect and woven grass shades are the perfect counterfoil to the blues of the pool and the bright orange and white accents carried over from the main rooms. The study connects the courtyard and the family room. Hardt had the doors removed to enhance the flow from one room to the other.
The neutral palette of the powder room is enlivened by a rich assortment of textures and light. High-relief wall tiles, a custom cubic-style lacquered vanity, a vessel sink with a custom designed faucet and disks of light hanging at various heights and reflected in an Italian mirror, play together to create another visually appealing and exceedingly comfortable space.
In the upper loft, custom-upholstered wall panels made of a warm brown embroidered ultra-suede cover the walls of a spacious media room. The effect is inviting and relaxing and also contributes to the room’s excellent acoustics. A butterscotch leather sectional defines the area while a custom-built window seat with lilac and green silk cushions and pillows follows the curved lines of the room.
“From start to finish it was a very smooth project,” concludes Sciacqua. “They wanted something a little out of the ordinary, and that’s what they got. It was a great experience for all.”