The moment you enter the LeBlanc home, a feeling of peace washes over you. Soft colors, elegant fabrics, and an abundance of natural light create a tranquil setting matched by the serenity of the Gulf of Mexico visible through the large windows. A fully remodeled unit, the home is a testament to what good design and quality materials can do to transform a space.
When Mark Fanta, Principal Designer at MP Interiors, was approached by the homeowners with the plan to remodel their Gulf Shore condominium, he began by choosing elements that spoke to their love of French style. In the great room the bleached hardwood floors, shades of whites, and pale blue fabrics give a light and airy feel and set the tone for the interior. Though the colors and styles in the home are soft, Fanta was able to use them in a bold way. “By making sure there were subtle variations in shades and textures, the sea of whites and pale blues comes across as rich and tranquil, allowing each room to have depth,” he explains.
The fabrics used throughout the LeBlanc residence are from the Rosecliff Collection by Ralph Lauren, and are inspired by the relaxed romance of a turn of the century seaside manor. Another special touch Fanta was able to add to the home was custom fabrics that matched the tones of the Rosecliff Collection. Floral fabric used in the living room for pillows and window treatments were made by using antique woodblocks to transfer the print to fabric found at MP Interiors. French bergere chairs from a Paris flea market were whitewashed and upholstered in a creamy white fabric. Other elegant pieces with a French Country flair, including the globe floor light, were sourced from Bulent Bolgan of European Traditions.
While the design aspects of the room are easily seen, more hidden details make all the difference in the space. “Since this would be a fresh start in this residence, there were things we wanted to prioritize. Ceiling heights, natural light, and space were the main areas we focused on,” explains Richard Kemp, owner of Naples Build. “One thing people won’t notice when they enter the home, but has made a huge difference in the feel of the space, was the decision to use one-and-a-half inch recessed cans to preserve ceiling height. These low profile lights meant we did not have to drop the ceiling down to accommodate a larger unit.”
Because of the remodel, Fanta and Kemp were able to rework the kitchen so it now accommodates the most active chef. A five-burner stove, pot filler, apron sink, and large refrigerator were chosen for their functionality and their style. Unique sconces and teardrop chandeliers add a glamorous touch. A local craftsman was commissioned to make the custom cabinets. “To be pulled off correctly, the inserts have to be perfect and these panels are a testament to the quality of workmanship in this kitchen,” Kemp says.
The wood cabinets are painted a soft white and placed as close to the ceiling as possible to reduce soffit size. The smaller soffits and tall cabinets make the ceiling feel higher which is important in condominiums. The quartzite counters in Azul Cielo were sourced from Juan Kisic of the Real Rock Company. The elegant stone was picked by Kisic and the homeowner and has a soft, Ogee edge.
Fabric used on the custom banquette is a ticking inspired by menswear fabric-tweed by Ralph Lauren Home at MP Interiors. The curved moldings were difficult to execute and are another example of the craftsmanship in this home. The curved bench was chosen because it keeps the room open.
Another space-creating feature is the built-in hutch with glass doors for displaying important crystal and china. Fanta and the homeowners made smart storage decisions in the kitchen. “Many people are so focused on an open concept they sacrifice usable space. We could have taken down this wall to open the kitchen to the great room but we opted to keep it in and transform it into useful, and beautiful, cabinets.”
Framed mirrors in the dining room reflect light throughout the space, and table and chairs with a French Country flair fit the room perfectly. The dining room chairs, from Bulent Bolgan of European Traditions, mimic the soft colors of the drapes and chandelier above the table.
The master retreat is a tranquil space that uses the fabrics and colors from the main rooms of the home. Fanta chose the pieces in the room for their design appeal. “For example, the custom-tufted headboard in the master bedroom was designed to add dimension and sophistication.” The Kerry swing arm lamps in polished silver on either side of the headboard are by Ralph Lauren Home. The bed is flanked by a set of carved chest of drawers from European Traditions and tall, leaded glass mirrors.
“The client wanted the bathrooms to feel like she was in the five star French hotel where she and her husband often stay,” explains Fanta. Calacatta marble covers the floor, counters, and shower walls in the master bath. The marble, again sourced by Juan Kisic of the Real Rock Company, features a decorative inlay. The custom cabinets provided a challenge as they are placed directly against the shower glass. “Doing this meant there would be no room for fillers. All our measurements needed to be precise and the manufacturer had to be capable of handling the task,” explains Kemp.
In the shower itself, there are important details that might otherwise go unnoticed. Fanta and Kemp were insistent that the small things not be overlooked. First, the shower is now in the old tub area. By taking the tub out and reworking the space, a large shower with enough room for double rain shower heads was created. The tile layout was designed to ensure valves and shower heads would be placed in the middle of a marble tile. “While it’s not something most people will notice, and it took a lot of planning on our end, laying the marble in this way gives the bathroom an unmistakable high end feel,” explains Fanta.
With elements of Scandinavian Gustavian design and the richness of a French château, this Naples home has become an extension of the homeowners’ happy memories and a love of all things French.
Written by Channing Spano
Photography by Giovanni Photography
2100 Trade Center Way, Unit A & B
Naples, FL 34109
10800 Corkscrew Road
Estero, FL 33928
2186 J&C Boulevard
Naples, FL 34109
Real Rock Company
2319 J&C Boulevard
Naples, FL 34109