Where the herringbone pavers of Kaula Lane end in the sugary white sand of Barefoot Beach, a slender Gulf-front home reaches four stories high into the brilliant Florida sky. Designed to be intimate and casual, the home was “organized to give you light and air,” says architect Jon Kukk.
“We have even hidden the mechanics of living, such as air conditioning vents, with architectural features like the custom tray ceiling, to enhance the calm, serene atmosphere. We created a lot of communal space on the main living floor, with the family room, kitchen and dining area flowing together. The 90 degree pocket doors actually give you a 270 degree view of the beach and the garden so the living space flows outdoors,” explains Kukk, principal at Kukk Architecture & Design.
Extensive use of windows and their careful placement ensure that the main rooms always have light and air from more than one wall. “There is sun in every part of this home every part of the day, but with different deliveries. Light has movement and the house changes as the light moves through it. Colors and textures perform in light,” describes Kukk.
Freestyle Interiors lead designer Ruta Menaghlazi created interiors with a fresh, relaxed look. “We used a soft, quiet palette of neutral colors and arranged the rooms so as not to distract from the uninterrupted view of the water.” Says Menaghlazi. In the family room, a television lift cabinet is disguised as a bookcase flanked by custom-built bench seating. Retractable roll-down screens, hidden hurricane shutters, and motorized sliding pocketed doors keep the elements at bay when necessary and all but disappear otherwise.
“I’d say this is one of Ruta’s greatest successes. I tried to give them no walls, and they still found one to decorate,” chuckles Kukk.
The white oak wood flooring and the distressed finishes of the furniture emphasize comfort and livability. Natural woven baskets, nubby textures, and subtle beach-themed accessories can be found throughout the home. In the family room, paprika throw pillows provide a punch of color, as does the deeper-toned indigo in the custom area rug from Abbey Carpet & Floor, which anchors the seating area.
In the kitchen, clean-lined maple kitchen cabinets surround top of the line Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances. Taj Mahal quartzite countertops reflect the light from textured, seeded glass pendant lamps suspended from rope wires. The focal point of the kitchen is the polished marble mosaic range backsplash, which highlights the custom work of Tile Market & Design. “The micro mosaic pattern had five colors, plus a hint of pink which wasn’t a part of the vision. To remove the pink, we culled through the tiles, hand-selecting them to match,” explains company owner Darrin Boylan.
The adjacent dining room features a hammered zinc-topped table tucked under a unique oyster shell chandelier. Casual, comfortable, lived-in furnishings are on the menu in this windowed nook offering expansive views of sea and sky.
Each of the five sleeping suites opens onto a Gulf-front lanai, with its soothing sounds and mesmerizing view. Enveloped in the soft colors, Menaghlazi added tactile interest with tongue-and-groove headboard walls, matchstick blinds and linen-like fabrics. Ceiling details draw the eye upward in the two master suites, where massive 82” Casablanca-style fans gently rotate.
Peruvian travertine laid in a herringbone pattern carries the home’s neutral muted tones into the six bathrooms. Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery took its cue from the simple, clean design lines of the home when outfitting the kitchen and baths.
Building on the narrow lot presented exhilarating challenges for Potter Homes Inc. “Anytime you are going vertical, there are issues — like hiding the mechanical systems,” describes Tom Potter. “We had to remain sensitive to light and sound transmission. And capturing the view was essential. But it was great fun to be able to build a special house like this.”
The staircase that winds its way through each floor opens to the “Cloud Room.” No other room in the house captures the view quite like the “Cloud Room.” With windows on all sides, the fourth-floor suite with a wet bar and bath offers 360 degree views. “I have never seen ‘Cloud Room’ written on a floor plan,” says architect Kukk, “but that’s what it is. When you are up there, you are in the sky; you are so far up that you have left reality behind you, but you can still hear the water below.” It is the one room where the neutral palette of colors yields to the sunny yellows and soft grays of the sky into which it soars.
Written by Ginny Cooper
Photography by Giovanni Photography
Kukk Architecture & Design
1300 3rd Street South, Suite 203E
Naples FL 34102
809 Walkerbilt Road, Suite 4
Naples, FL 34110
3525 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 105
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
DKS Distinctive Kitchen Studio
6230 Shirley Street, Unit 101
Naples, FL 34109
Title Market & Design
10347 Bonita Beach Road, #106
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
United Materials, Inc.
1615 Trade Center Way
Naples, FL 34109
Abbey Carpet & Floor
13250 Tamiami Trail N
Naples, FL 34110