When Naples Interior Designer Mercedes Courland and her husband began their house hunt, they knew they wanted a home with privacy and a water view. “It took us two years to find the right property,” says Courland. “We were coming from a home which had a 200-foot-wide west facing water view in New York, and we knew we could not live on top of our neighbors in Naples.” After an extensive search, they found a home that not only met their land and water view requirements; it also had the potential Courland had been looking for. “I was able to see past the architectural faux pas of the 80s design and focus on the positive elements in the home,” she explains. “The modern feel, the great light — I knew I could put my own ‘brand’ in this home.” She immediately began creating the designs for their new Naples residence, creating her take on coastal elegance.
Coming from a family of architects, and with 30 years of experience, she was able to navigate the renovation process with ease, providing full working drawings to Naples contractor Three Palms Construction.
Outside, the home has seen a transformation. A black roof was replaced with a light silver metal one, changing the look of the home. New plants create a repeating theme of orange and red to compliment the vast greenness of the lawn. The two horse statues came with the home but were hidden away on the side of the house. Courland explains “I created the checkerboard pattern for them to stand on and we moved them to the front of the home where they can be seen.”
Inside, Courland began by tearing down unnecessary walls to create a more open layout. The kitchen and great room were separated by walls and soffits, closing off the space and hiding the beautiful skylights. The ceiling, which had an 80’s severe slant to it, needed to be redesigned and dressed up. Her love of patterns and texture create an innovative look. At the end of the project, Courland had transformed every aspect of the home to match her love of modern design, color, and functionality.
As you enter through the large mahogany doors, the great room, pool, and lake beyond create a dramatic view. Custom furniture, designed specifically for the space, is scaled to the size of the room. With a strong background in classical design, Courland used her time in Europe to influence her modern interiors. “Modern design can feel a little off if people forget about historic proportions. Furniture that’s too large or small can feel out of place in a room, cheapening the look of a modern interior,” she explains. While furniture with decent proportions can be purchased ready-made, Courland prefers to design custom furniture when possible, at affordable pricing.
The coffered ceiling in the great room was created by leveling the slanted ceiling. The sculptural details add dimension to the room, and the blue accents inside the coffers mirror the colors found in the pool. Five shades of subtle cremes enhance depth. The chandelier creates a geometric feel with circles softening the angles of the squares above. She designed the interiors with a repeating concept of “circle in the square.”
Peacock blue tones are carried through the home into the dining room. The velvet on the chairs adds a touch of glamour while the wall covering keeps with the chic coastal theme. “It reminded me of a fishing net,” Courland says. The walnut dining table features a high gloss finish with a Greek key inlay. Above, the sleek light fixture is the only one of its kind in the world, and an element Courland is especially excited about. “It’s not in production yet, but I saw it and knew it was perfect for the dining room. I asked Hubbardton Forge if I could somehow get one early and they sent me a prototype!” From their Four Seasons collection, this winter inspired piece looks like ice shining in the sun.
In the kitchen, the skylights are enhanced by floating coffers, mirroring the ceiling in the great room. Courland says “While the great room is sculptural, this ceiling was designed so it didn’t block the light from above.” New off-white cabinets replaced the blue formica ones original to the home. On the island, white marble was used for its high-end appeal, while quartz countertops in the rest of the kitchen provide a durable prep surface. The geometric marble backsplash with small mirrors embedded between the tiles was an element which took Courland months to find but was well worth the trouble as it has become a focal point in the home. It adds a subtle element of pizazz.
The master bathroom is now a spa-like space. Courland chose a soft green-blue shade for the tile and textured Italian wall coverings. “I wanted this room to be relaxing and to carry that coastal feel. The glass mosaic tiles in the shower reminded me of champagne bubbles and the wallpaper has a very natural texture.” Over the glossy white cabinets, mirrors are hung in front of glass tiles that catch the light from the polished nickel light fixture. The tub’s modern silhouette and white marble floors finish the space.
In the master bedroom, more custom furniture and natural light fill the room. “I designed the bed so the headboard and upholstered wall behind became one. Since our bedroom in New York was dark and formal, I wanted this space to be light and ethereal,” Courland explains. On the bed, Courland designed the throw pillows to be a focal point. One of her favorite thing to design, they give the room texture and complement the classic elements of the room.
Courtesy of Mercedes Courland Interiors
Photography by Giovanni Photography
Written by Channing Spano