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Cottage Charm

Open, airy and comfortable, but with a degree of sophistication is what Michele Green McGrath was aiming for when she undertook this project in Old Naples.

“We believe that living at home should feel like being on vacation,” says McGrath.

The “we” references her husband, Ed, who designed of all the interior moulding and woodwork in the home, and their two sons. Together with McGrath as managing partner, they form a boutique developer with projects in Florida, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. This home includes more than a few references to the nautical past of those Eastern Seaboard locales.

“The overall style is that of a contemporary cottage with nods to Old Florida,” says Matthew Kragh of MHK Architecture and Planning, who worked with McGrath on the design. “But we used longer overhung brackets and a pergola—both are elements found in classic New England architecture.”

In addition to marrying styles from the north and south, Kragh had an even bigger challenge—to create a house of 4,000 plus square feet with four-bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, and such amenities as a lovely pool and outdoor living, and fit it all on a corner lot measuring only 75-by-100-feet, with two setbacks.

“We nailed it,” says Kragh while fondly noting, “Ken Aliff was the project architect, one of the great ones, and this was his final project as we lost him last year. He would have been extremely proud of what we accomplished.”

That sense of accomplishment is shared by builder Steve Peel, owner of Gulfstream Homes. “We took great care and effort in putting the very best quality into all the features of this home. We focused on the vision of the developer, architect, and the landscape architect and worked together as a great team,” says Peel. “We envisioned that we were building for a friend we had yet to meet, but one that would become a customer of ours for life.”

McGrath’s vision of a palette of sand and sea was brought to life in the home’s finishes by a newcomer to the Naples market, interior designer Betsy McCall. υ

“It was great fun to work on a new, open space and create a modern take on a beach residence,” McCall says who does most of her work in the Boston market. “A clean slate allowed me to be creative and try new things, and the team, led by Michele and the crew from Gulfstream, was organized and flexible and working with them was a joy.”

The inspired use of gables, shiplap cladding, and a metal roof recall the pasts of both New England and Old Florida in this contemporary cottage. Encompassed on a small city lot, the home offers 4,263 square feet under air with an intimate mahogany entry, separate guest driveway, and seating area beneath a charming pergola. A profusion of windows allows for a light-flooded interior and makes the most of beautiful views over Naples’ historic neighborhood.

This thoughtful loft space, just above the entry foyer, gives visitors a bespoke gathering space of their own, with a kitchenette offering a place for morning coffee or evening cocktails. A custom round Andersen window and tiered crystal and chrome Noir Vila chandelier shed light on the intimate space located adjacent to a VIP second master guest suite.

The dining and living rooms are combined in this expansive great room. Each area is delineated by tongue-and-groove sections inset into the reverse floating ceiling. LED lighting adds energy efficiency and the rectangular crystal chandelier creates a soft ambiance for diners. Legno Bastone La Famiglia Rosina European Grand White Oak wide plank wood flooring professionally installed by Naples Flooring Company is used throughout the house. The television all but disappears on a wall of dark gray imported Spanish tile.

The jewel box of a kitchen offers two focal points—the Cristallo Extra quartzite slab, glinting like ice atop the furniture base painted with Benjamin Moore Ashley Gray, and the glass wine enclosure, with space for 130 bottles. Ruffino cabinetry offers storage, as does the walk-in pantry in the room just behind, and open shelving lightens the intimate space. Gehry gray and clear pendants light the seating area at the island and reflect off the tile backsplash. An Asco dishwasher, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf range, Kohler sink and Zephyr Venezia stainless hood complete the kitchen.

A contemporary take on the New England sleeping porches used in the days before air conditioning, developer McGrath created a flexible room, suitable for an office, media room or game room, with expansive Andersen casement 400 series windows all around, offering stunning views. Gulfstream’s finest artisans created the tongue-and-groove vaulted and beamed ceiling, rising more than 13-feet above the sunny room.

The ground floor master suite is a study in serenity. French doors with transoms lead to a private courtyard seating area with pottery water feature, set apart from the home’s other outside areas. Linear air vents cool the room without detracting from the beauty of the boxed and beamed ceiling and open cutwork polished-nickel Minka Lavery chandelier.

A fine example of one of the developer’s signatures—very large showers — this luxurious guest bath boasts a glass shower clad in show-stopping Ona Natural wave tile, placed in a grid to avoid grout lines. 12-by-23-inch tiles in White Nature make up the snowy floor. The Virtu USA vanity and rectangular mirror depth to the soothing color palette.

This innovative space provides a perfect place to gather no matter what the weather. When it’s fine, all doors can be opened directly to the pool and outdoor living area. On humid days, the fully pocketing sliders may be closed to enjoy the air conditioning, and on the rare chilly night, the Majestic Echelon linear gas fireplace, set in the tiled wall warms the space. The Artisan gas grill set in Ruffino cabinets includes a trigger mechanism that disallows ignition unless the pocketing doors are open for venting.

This ingenious outdoor living area, built within rigid setbacks, incorporates a Pinnacle pool bordered in Noble Silver Pearl waterline tiles and spouting water features along one side. Aurora Celestial Blue glass mosaic tiles in shades of silver, taupe and blue frame the spa and delineate the sun shelf, where guests may enjoy the comfort of the twin aqua Ledge Loungers. Under the pergola is a cozy seating area surrounded by a pool safety fence. Instant privacy was created with the installation of 14-foot tall palm trees and other lush foliage.

Written by Kitt Walsh Photography by Anthony Guarascio Wanderlust Photography

Andersen Windows 100 4th Avenue Bayport, MN 55003

Gulfstream Homes 2244 Trade Center Way Naples, FL 34109 239.254.1664

Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring 2684 Horseshoe Drive South Naples, FL 34104 239.206.1898

MHK Architecture & Planning 975 6th Avenue South, Suite 200 Naples, FL 34102 239.919.0786

Naples Flooring Company 900 5th Avenue South Naples, FL 34102 239.263.1213

Ruffino Cabinetry 291 Broad Avenue Naples, FL 34102 239.939.1313


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