It is only natural that a couple who has lived in major international cities, including Paris and New York, would want to keep an elegant pied-à-terre in paradise together. Inspired to re-create a Pre-War style apartment, the owners wished to pay homage to fond memories of her grandmother’s apartment in New York’s Upper East Side, while expressing a love for the style and design aesthetic of Paris. Their further inspiration for this sophisticated vacation home included a beautiful collection of fine art and family antiques, but came with the challenge of downsizing. After three rounds of interviews with top interior design firms, they enlisted Kevin Steffanni, principal of Kevin Steffanni Design Group based in Naples, Florida and Rocky River, Ohio to help them create this dream-come-true apartment.
The enchanting space has been judiciously planned, and a neutral palette of grays and whites keeps the residents’ collection of art and antique furnishings front and center. An eclectic mix of objects collected from their travels around the globe, and from family heirlooms and a vast European art collection, all present rich back stories steeped in the couple’s cherished history. As you enter the home, it is quickly apparent this is Old New York meets ’50s Paris. Classic wooden floors, rich area rugs, an elegant sparkling chandelier, and a gold-gilded mirror from the Parisian flea markets compliment a staircase foyer. The entrance is anchored by a sleek, lacquered chest from Joseph Anfuso.
Design fusion takes center stage in the main living room, where Steffanni listened carefully to the owner’s desire for a further infusion of Hollywood Regency Style. Two white vintage Barcelona chairs and matching ottomans all by Mies van der Rohe are matched effortlessly with a bubblegum-pink sofa designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller Design circa 1950. This seating arrangement sits atop an Art Nouveau, pink and coral, swirled rug which was sourced for the owners locally in Naples. More than anything, however, these homeowners are drawn to what’s ‘cool,’ yet offbeat. An old-English antique secretary, which was a wedding gift from him to her, is artfully paired with a mid-century modern Philippe Starck Ghost Chair. Seamlessly added to this is his personal collection of accolades from sports and business.
This intimate home opens out to a sunny enclosed sitting room which was converted with Steffanni’s expertise from a classic, Floridian outdoor lanai. Just when you thought you were back in old New York, the expansive views of the golf course remind you of your tropical whereabouts. Framing the entrance to this alcove is a pair of antique, farmhouse corner brackets perched like quotation marks in the upper corners. A rustic writing desk, circa 1880 from Ireland, provides a tucked-in space for quiet correspondence, while the orange armchairs by Ralph Lauren Home at Webster & Company add a vibrant burst of color. An iron, Barbara Barry end table topped with stone, provides a charming accent. Illustrating the home’s eclectic style perfectly, the wooden antique farm bench — a coveted family piece — completes the space.
Steffanni truly excels at space planning. He helped his clients achieve their goal of downsizing, while still maintaining the look and livability of a much larger space. A glass and steel Knoll dining table designed by Warren Platner is crowned with a breathtaking Baccarat crystal chandelier. This charming breakfast nook provides a stylish space for a quiet meal or a more intimate dinner with guests. A classic, Pre-War, New York-style kitchen was constructed with expert direction from Steffanni, complete with glass cabinetry, white Carrara marble, silver finishes, and antique culinary and cocktail trinkets. It is a 21st century design, including state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances, punctuated with whimsical antique accessories.
Steffanni cleverly reinvented a nook off the main living room into an ad hoc library complete with an old English smoker’s table from London. This created the perfect vignette in which to showcase the owner’s cherished antique English writing desk from the 1860s. The cozy space is complete with a rich cigar chair by Hans Wagner, a magnificent leather club chair, and a steamer trunk recommended by home lifestyle specialist Mark Fanta of Ralph Lauren Home at Webster & Company. “The distressed leather on the Ralph Lauren club chair has hints of gold and is magnificent when the light shines on it,” shares Fanta. It offers a comfortable spot for quiet contemplation beneath the beautiful, blue and white, still life paintings displayed on the wall.
A guest bedroom suite outfitted with beds from Switzerland provides visiting grandchildren and friends a tranquil, yet elegant retreat. Every detail in this room shows a diversity of origin. Throw pillows were purchased from a trip to the Far East. The mirror is from the Paris Flea Market that Steffanni picked up on his visit to France this past fall, and the rug was procured by the husband during his travels. The art pieces were purchased at a local gallery on 5th Avenue in Naples, and the mirrored chest is from F. Schumacher & Company. The chairs, from the Charles Faudre private collection acquired during a buying trip to the south of France, hit just the right note.
Clearly there is a compelling backstory and sentiment attached to each piece thoughtfully selected and displayed in this home. Steffanni modeled the master bedroom suite after the couple’s favorite hotel in Paris where they both once lived. Armed with inspiration, Steffanni worked with Fanta to select a bed from the Le Grand Hotel collection to compliment the owner’s existing Barbara Barry pieces. This Louis XV-inspired bed in an Indian Cove Lodge gilt finish allows Steffanni to carry the mix of metal finishes that are found throughout the residence. The silver-leaf, gilded, Adrianna crystal chandelier from Ralph Lauren Lighting glimmers beautifully. The silver-embroidered beading on the Ralph Lauren pillows and the brushed-gold nail heads on the Noble Estate bench dramatically reflect the light. Steffanni grouped the Cannes Ralph Lauren chaise lounge with the Noble Estate crystal lamp and three-tiered, Daniella table lamp to create an area for restful repose and that certain je ne sais quoi.
Hues of coral are imbued in the Schumacher upholstered slipper chair, in the rich Tibetan carpet that Steffanni sourced in Naples, and in the romantic arrangements of fresh tangerine roses on the night table. Steffanni placed artful and meaningful touches throughout the room, such as a framed, vintage, Hanae Mori butterfly scarf. The two, 24-karat gold, gilded twig mirrors, which remind the couple of their Carolina Mountain top estate, are from Webster & Company Antiques and Accessories. A sophisticated Barbara Barry dresser sits under a dramatic starburst mirror from Baker. Steffanni continues the juxtaposition by using the owners existing, dark wood Barbara Barry pieces (favorites of the homeowners), complemented by the light, silk and linen fabrics found on the bed, chaise, and bench. This bedroom is reminiscent of the chic, urban hotels the couple have enjoyed while traveling the globe.
Inspired by the grandeur of Parisian bedroom suites, Steffanni installed French doors with crystal doorknobs that open into the master bath. Dramatic elegance is obtained upon entry, with an antique English china cabinet, the starting point around which the entire room was planned. The cabinet is flanked by two, ‘Madame et Monsieur’ Waterworks pedestal sinks. The wooden English china cabinet is crowned with an antique, German mantle clock, a piece which was lovingly handed down within the family. European sophistication with a timeless sense of chic is reiterated with a pair of stunning Baccarat crystal candelabras found in Brighton, England circa 1820. These fixtures flank the One Fifth, silver-leaf mirror, also by Ralph Lauren, which hangs over a European slipper tub.
The design fusion works well here in Steffanni’s capable hands. The finished project not only transports the owners back to their memories of Paris and old New York, but delights guests as they completely forget that they are vacationing in a tropical paradise. This lovely pied-a-terre is a veritable jewel box of personal history, the perfect culmination of a chic and stylish lifetime of shared memories.
Written by Alisa Bowen
Photography by Giovanni Photography
Kevin Steffanni Design Group
Naples, Florida, 239.495.5821
Rocky River, Ohio, 440.333.3630
Ralph Lauren Home at Webster & Company
Webster & Company Antiques & Accessories
Miromar Design Center
10800 Corkscrew Road, Suites 348, 302
Estero, Florida 33928