Gulf Gardens


 
Close to the stunning sands and glistening waves of the Naples shoreline is a masterpiece of architectural detail and design by BCB Homes. This “tour de force” is one of several homes selected to be on the 2012 Naples Garden Club House & Garden Tour on February 4th, 2012. The Tour has become one of the hottest tickets in town, and this year is its 58th annual event. Sold out every year, close to 1000 guests are treated to an all-day experience of celebrating the year’s most intriguing residences and their gardens, culminating in a reception at the Kapnick Center of the majestic Naples Botanical Garden. Proceeds from the tour fund the “Idea Garden” in the Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden (located in the Naples Botanical Garden) the Florida Gulf Coast University Scholarship Endowment Fund, and several grants to area non-profit organizations. Tickets and information on all Garden Club upcoming events, including the spectacular Naples Flower Show March 30-31st, may be obtained by visiting NaplesGardenClub.org.
 
Outdoor spaces are the focal point for most homes in this region, and this home was indeed designed with the outdoors in mind. According to Ed Westwood, ACLA of GardenBleu landscape architects, who skillfully created it, “We took into account all the French and English architectural details, and the environment of Naples with its proximity to the sea. I created the outdoor space to flow and fit in a cohesive fashion.” The grounds, gardens, and water elements provide a bit of the countryside feel, in an otherwise level piece of land. Using multiple elevations of landscape design, the property actually mimics hills, valleys, and streams.
 
Stroll through the front garden to the ground floor courtyard gate of “Vie de la Mer,” as Life of the Sea welcomes you. Cascading water spills down the two-story waterfall. This duo-toned artistic construct soars along a curved staircase, as the second floor swimming pool lies exposed above. Water cascades off the infinity edge of the pool, flowing down the stair divide, splashing off earth-toned sculptural stones which jutt out from the smoothness of the wall. The sound, emulating from the moving water, is serene, calming, and Zen-like. This risen oasis is an architectural masterpiece in construction and design — challenging to both landscape architect, builder and architect. The northeast side of the second story oasis of pool, plantings and water epitomizes the “Floridian love of outdoor living” with multi-level seating and stunning sunning areas. The undulating design of the circular spa is repeated in half moons by the pool edge and planting space (tall, slender Winin palms were used).
 
On the opposite side of the swimming area, facing the home’s great living spaces and entry, is a terraced trio of shallow ponds with water scuppers, intermingled with plantings and palms. Keeping with the French atmosphere are botanicals commonly known as geraniums, marigolds, Kalanchoe red lip, and sword ferns. A succulent called Bulbine and English lavender were used to attract butterflies.

The home was constructed with the sea in mind, both for its beauty and its force. Knowing well the possibility of the Gulf of Mexico’s destructive potential, safeguards were designed to protect from flooding, garnering the four-level home a VE zoned certification. Harrell & Co’s Jeff Harrell was the architect and structural designer on the project and used several features geared specifically for the home’s environmental security. In the event of a storm surge, “The first floor walls would blow-out,” according to BCB’s Brown, “allowing the surging waters to pass underneath the home’s livable space. These break-away first-floor walls are the key to keeping the home safe against the forces of nature.”
 
This elevated design is in keeping with a home in the French Manor tradition. Welcoming vast metal and glass double doors and sidelights announce the foyer. Harrell created warm and inviting spaces, large yet liveable, that are dotted with unique architectural details and treatments in the “Haute-Normandie” tradition influenced by the British and French. The abode is home to three bedrooms, three full baths, and two half baths. The breakaway element is cleverly disguised in the ground floor of the home which houses an elevator lobby, three-car garage, and courtyard.
 
“The client had a very clear direction with respect to the overall design theme of the home,” describes Romanza Senior Designer Michael Scott. “We embraced the vision of the owners, and along with the team from Harrell & Co Architects, we were able to add several exciting and complementary elements to the design. The collaboration among all the team members and the client was very productive and in the end, we were able to bring the owner’s vision to life,” adds Scott.
 
The den hosts an arched, blond, carved, coffered ceiling. Its curved segments wrapped in metal with walnut-toned sectional inserts. The ceiling treatment is consistent throughout a trio of lounge spaces, using similar elements such as wooden panels and ceiling coffers with a metal motif. Turkish Travertine floors in a French pattern flow throughout the den, living room, kitchen, and dining areas, in bisque tones, bringing coolness to the space. BCB’s Travis Brown interjects, “Harrell designed ‘heavy timber’ influences in the structure and design of the home, outside under the eaves of the house and inside with the exposed structural and faux-finished arch ceiling treatments.” Yet the feeling of the space is not heavy, dark, or “Northern.” BCB, Harrell and Romanza have created a fresh, Florida “transitional” atmosphere for living, and elevated the home’s outdoor living to new heights.