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Creative Connection

Creating a connection between the rooms of this seven-bedroom, seven full and three-half bath home in the Estates of Marco Island was the main goal of the design of Architect Steven Jallad, Director of Residential Design for MHK Architecture and Planning.

At 11,500 total square feet (7,600 of it under air) Jallad had plenty of room to work with, but he wanted to design spaces where no one in this large, loving family was ever out of sight from anyone else and where there were plenty of places to mingle.

“The family had driven through the neighborhoods in Naples and picked out designs that they liked,” says Jallad. “Many homes they chose were designed by MHK. At the initial meetings, the builder–with whom we had worked before–suggested our firm as the architect.”

What the family asked for was the gleaming white, coastal cottage design for which MHK is famous. “But the classic cottage style that is all siding was a little too busy for them so we introduced tall stucco columns at the entry and smooth stucco on some of the forms with Tabby at the base to make it more coastal transitional,” says Jallad. “The huge outdoor living and kitchen area and terraced infinity edge pool was very important to them, too. We even designed a wrap-around balcony overlooking the pool, so no one misses out on the fun.” Jallad continues, “We are a no-ego architectural firm and we were happy to work with the clients and delighted to be able to fulfill all their wishes.”

Builder Tom Martin of Thomas Martin Construction felt much the same way and he, too, went the extra mile to accommodate the family. “From the Hardie board and teal shutters on the front exterior to the terracing we did from the pool’s infinity edge to the seawall,” he says, “we worked closely with the clients to be sure they got the family home they wanted.

“The oversized lot in the Estates meant I didn’t have the usual restrictions we sometimes encounter on Marco’s smaller lots,” says Martin. “It gave me plenty of room to create and I never had to go back to the drawing board because something didn’t fit.”

When Martin speaks of “I,” he is serious. “When you work with me, you literally work with me,” he explains. “I am a very accessible builder, in on every meeting, and I spend a lot of my time on-site. I pay great attention to my clients from the beginning of the build right through to the end.”

Matching that dedication to her clients’ needs is interior designer Maria Caruso of Interiors by Home Essentials who had the added pleasure on this project of working with friends.

“The family has been friends and clients with me for 20 years and this house was a labor of love for me,” she says. “With all my clients, just like when I worked on this project with the homeowners, I try to create an intimate experience.”

Something entirely unique about the interior design of this home was the clients’ request that Caruso work with Heritage Beam & Board, a woodworking firm in their native Wisconsin, to incorporate wood from Lake Geneva wherever the design would allow.

“They have a house on the lake and wanted to have reminders of it throughout their new home,” says Caruso. “So the Heritage team had many meetings with me over Facetime and finally came down, driving a flatbed, with the pieces they’d created. It was a very satisfying long-distance collaboration.”

Caruso, like her clients, is very pleased with how the project turned out. “We all worked very hard and the finished home is a testament to that effort. The home turned out so beautifully, it takes your breath away.”

With 11,500 square feet, Steven Jallad of MHK Architecture and Planning made sure the home had plenty of room for creative touches, like simplified corbels, an iron Coastal-X balcony, Hardie board, a stucco front, a silver metal roof, and even a pop of teal on the shutters. The circular driveway by Allied Paver Systems features a tropically-landscaped center island.

Behind the home’s black and glass panel doors is a welcoming foyer with a blown glass pendant in shades of teal from Wilson Lighting. A custom staircase to the second floor also features the Coastal-X railing design, popping against the bright white shiplap detailing on the elevator tower.

A Lee Industries sectional in a soft chenille fabric faces the one-of-a-kind fireplace wall covered with Tabby stucco, inset with shells collected by the family from visits to Marco beaches over the last 50 years. The linear fireplace by Eco is flanked by two custom chests by Old Biscayne Designs with a Seaside Blue finish and silver piping. A blue leather swivel chair from Lee Industries offers seating near the Vanguard white leather coffee table.

Shiplap walls in the cunning foyer hosts the owners’ own mirror, made of driftwood from Lake Geneva, above a custom fossil stone and Lucite table. Whimsical fringed stools are handmade Belgian linen in the lady of the house’s favorite color, teal! Below them is Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring in Giuseppina finish from the LaFamiglia Collection sourced and installed by Naples Flooring Company, which runs throughout the house.

A custom range hood, made of Lake Geneva wood, holds pride of place amidst the custom cabinetry in this cozy kitchen. The L-shape island in robin’s egg blue topped with natural quartz stone has a special built-in–a booth for the grandchildren–attached to the island itself. The booth features a Bungalow 5 table base with a Riviera Caesarstone top and chairs by Serena & Lily. A chandelier of oyster shells by Currey & Company matches the two smaller pendants. Stools of woven rattan, also by Serena & Lily, offer seating for adult guests. Fixtures are black iron from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery and the appliances are by Wolf and Sub-Zero.

The tray ceiling and white checkerboard wall mouldings add a simple and elegant feel to the master bedroom. The Vanguard bed is upholstered light blue linen by Matouk. A Hickory Chair chaise lounge is wrapped in white Sunbrella fabric to guard against dogs’ muddy paws and grandchildrens’ messy hands. The washed gray nightstands are from Vanguard Furniture’s “Make It Yours” bedroom series, and atop them are fish scale lamps from Wilson Lighting. The Avenue A credenza is of stained gray wood, and the rug is a custom geometric from Masland Carpets.

This serene master bath is graced with snow white custom cabinets, Mystery White marble countertops from DeMarco Tile, and a luxurious freestanding tub by Kohler from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. The floor is Bianca Venatta marble with a mother-of-pearl inlay from DeMarco Tile. A Chihuly-inspired Arteriors chandelier–the Diallo–emulates coral above the tub, and the wall covering by York features sea fans, allowing one to drift off into a peaceful underwater oasis.

Keeping it coastal in shades of blue with sea life is the powder bath’s wallpaper Acquario from the Fornasetti Collection. A gold-banded mirror sits above a shiplap moulding, and custom cabinetry is topped by a Silestone counter.

A hooked rug pillow complements the show-stopping wallcovering in an iconic leaf pattern by Thibaut in this vibrant guest room. Bedding by Pinecone Hill has a grass-green stripe and the Serena & Lily bed is of woven sea grass. The small bedside table is a refinished family heirloom. A Ziggy woven sisal and wool rug is by Dash & Albert.

A wraparound Coastal-X balcony runs the width of the house and looks down upon the infinity pool and spa and its shimmering teal glass mosaic tiles by Pebble Tec. Water features with laser lights at either end shoot jets of water into the pool. A pair of Westport chaises by Kingsley Bate invite sunbathing, and the fully equipped Alfresco Appliances outdoor kitchen serves the seating group, also by Kingsley Bate.

A painted brick fireplace wall hosts a reclaimed Lake Geneva wood mantel above a gas fireplace in this outdoor living area. Under a cypress tongue-and-groove ceiling, the entire family can gather on the giant rattan Westport sectional by Kingsley Bate cushioned in a silvery gray Sunbrella fabric. The cocktail table is handcrafted by Heritage Beam & Board.

Written by Kitt Walsh

Photography by Blaine Johnathan


MHK Architecture & Planning

975 6th Avenue South, Suite 200

Naples, FL 34102


Luxury Home Builder

Thomas Martin Construction

1333 Third Avenue South, Unit 507

Naples, FL 34102


Interior Designer

Interiors by Home Essentials

651 South Collier Boulevard, Suite 2A

Marco Island, FL 34145



Allied Paver Systems

217 North Collier Boulevard #102

Marco Island, FL 34145


Andersen Windows

100 4th Avenue

Bayport, MN 55003


DeMarco Tile

3527 Domestic Avenue

Naples, FL 34104


Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

38 Goodlette-Frank Road South

Naples, FL 34102


Heritage Beam & Board

W2644 Loveland Road

Elkhorn, WI 53121


Legno Bastone Wide Plank Flooring

2684 Horseshoe Drive South

Naples, FL 34104


Naples Flooring Company

900 5th Avenue South

Naples, FL 34102


Naples Lumber and Supply

3828 Radio Road

Naples, FL 34104


Wilson Lighting

2465 Trade Center Way

Naples, FL 34109



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