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Labor Of Love

Creating a captivating waterfront retreat

The Urban Dictionary defines family as, “A group of people who genuinely trust, care about and look out for each other,” and that meaning held true in the creation of the new Villa Lugano situated on 700 acres of freshwater lakes at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.

“What sets us apart, as a small volume builder, is that we want our clients to become like family to us and vice versa,” says Mitch Melheim, president of Randall Mitchell Custom Homes. “That closeness comes from talking with and really listening to our clients, and the project becomes more enjoyable for us and for the homeowner. We trust each other and get to be friends.”

Such intimacy extends to the talented team who work on the home as well, according to residential designer Dan Sater, president of Sater Design Collection.

“We are a great team. Interior designer Chrissie Forbes, landscape architect Scott Windham, and I have worked together for 30 years and can practically read one another’s thoughts,” says Sater. “Mitch and I communicate so well and the clients had such great rapport with all of us, they gave us free rein in creating great spaces for them. I loved working with everyone on this home.”

This labor of love—a 7,453 square feet under air, 5-bedroom home—fit the bill for the Chicago-based owners, who wanted plenty of space for vacation visits from their large family and many friends. After seeing the company’s standards of quality and craftsmanship, the couple selected Randall Mitchell Custom Homes to build on a wide-water beachfront lot in the grand estate neighborhood of Lugano at Miromar Lakes. They worked with Sater to create their home’s contemporary but soft look, free of harsh angles and lines.

This translated into the interior furnishings and fixtures as well. “The family wanted nothing formal or too high-maintenance. They wanted a place to relax, and together we had great fun creating just that,” says Forbes. “My philosophy is the foremost issue in any design decision; that this isn’t just a job, a project or only a house—this is someone’s home and it must reflect what they want.”

A dramatic entryway hosts a custom fountain and beyond it a tower of glass windows showcasing a grand staircase. An Andersen Windows transom tops a 12-foot Davanti steel-banded French door and tall Lightology sconces help create more vertical movement at the entry. Tremron brick pavers line the motor court leading to twin two-car garages and gray and silver mica individually placed stacked natural stones cover the home’s entire exterior.

The home’s great room is accented with pops of blue, reflecting the water beyond. A Lightology starburst pendant accents the coffered ceiling. Royal blue leather and Java wood Kravet swivel rockers join a sectional in gray ribbed Kravet fabric around the Century amaretto-stained coffee table. The gradated border rug is from Designers Rug Center. A chair and ottoman, clad in cut velvet geometric fabric, sits next to a Century nickel and stone side table. Another Century console table nestles behind twin gray chenille loveseats.

Gray woodgrain cabinets rest beneath contrasting white high-gloss cabinetry by Design Studio by Raymond in this gourmet chef’s kitchen. Stainless steel appliances by Thermador include a drawer microwave and two dishwashers. A Lightology ice-shard pendant shines down on Statuario quartz countertops, and the Graphite Gloss three-dimensional subway tile backsplash from Ruben Sorhegui Tile. Newport Brass Secant fixtures light the twin islands. Adjustable pneumatic blue leather stools from Casa Italia provide seating for guests.  Conveniently positioned to the right of the kitchen, a 9-foot wooden table surrounded by twelve royal blue velvet chairs beneath a Ralph Pucci chandelier accommodates the homeowner’s more formal dining needs.

This show-stopping floating staircase created by Florida Stairworks & Carpentry features solid maple treads supported by a monolithic steel stringer, hidden from view to give the illusion of the structure being unsupported. Each 3-inch solid tread is inlaid with LED lighting. A unique stainless-steel railing system is both strong and light. Overhead a multi-faceted Crown Magnum light, available through Lighting First, casts reflections on the walls. Dark-stained maple flooring softly shines underfoot.

Designer Forbes created movement in the master bath by avoiding linear placement of the exclusive tiger eye vein-cut marble by Ruben Sorhegui Tile, lining the twin showers’ walls and bathroom floor. The space hosts the Englishcast volcanic limestone tub, with Newport Brass Secant fixtures, as well as an adjacent rainfall shower. Above the Pompeii Extra White quartz countertop and espresso vanity is a cunning Robern Uplift medicine cabinet, the glass shelves of which lift to open and then hide behind the mirror at a touch. A Lightology chandelier and Lighting First glass sconces provide glare-free lighting. The silk and wool floral rug is from Designers’ Rug Center.

Cool silver shades set a restful tone in the master bedroom. The chaise and foot warmer in Kravet fabric and the Ikat-patterned area rug add interest to the monochromatic palette, as does the owner’s own cut silver Moroccan bedside lantern. A capiz shell table by Made Goods and Century polished-nickel and leather stools shine in the light of the encased globe chandelier from Lighting First. Century Furniture espresso-finished chest and twin nightstands add contrast, and geometric side panel window treatments frame the water view.

Upstairs, the game room opens to a second-story terrace offering plenty of space for family fun. The ping pong table does double duty as a place for working puzzles. The back wall secrets two queen murphy beds from California Closets. A sectional, clad in light aqua chenille, invites lounging. The wet bar, with amaretto-finished cabinets, a multi-dimensional mosaic backsplash of penny-sized stainless-steel pebbles from Ruben Sorhegui Tile, a trough sink, and a mini-fridge, is perfect for refreshments and also offers wine storage. A Minka Aire stainless-steel fan and crystal pendants from Lightology complete the casual room.

An outdoor kitchen, complete with pizza oven, services the lavish outdoor living area. A woven wicker seating group allows guests to watch TV or just relax by the linear gas fireplace from Grate Fireplace & Outdoor Living. Under the tongue-and-groove cypress ceiling, another seating group by Holly Hunt boasts a gray Sunbrella-upholstered coffee table and a green ceramic occasional table.

The deck of the expansive pool and spa is covered in Dekton Icon Italian porcelain, transitioning into PebbleCrete for safe footing. Glass tiles line the pool and sparkle in the light from a quartet of metal fire bowls with cascading water features, fueled by natural gas and filed with glass pebbles. The infinity pool’s water disappears into a hidden trough, allowing a stunning view out to the lake and private beach just beyond. A half-dozen royal palms lend even more tropical elegance.

The dramatic rear of the home showcases outdoor living areas on two levels, covered balconies, fire bowls, a concrete seating and fire pit area, pool and spa. A wall of doors pocket back, creating a true indoor/outdoor space. The home’s façade here duplicates the hand-applied stone exterior at the front of the home.

Written by Kitt Walsh

Interior photography by M.E. Parker

Exterior photography by Blaine Johnathan

Andersen Windows

100 4th Avenue

Bayport, MN 55003


California Closets

2367 Vanderbilt Beach Road, 
Suite 810

Naples, FL 34109


Casa Italia

852 1st Avenue South

Naples, FL 34102


Design Studio by Raymond

990 1st Avenue North

Naples, FL 34102


Designers’ Rug Center

732 Ninth Street North

Naples, FL 34102


Florida Stairworks & Carpentry

7800 Drew Circle, Suite 15

Fort Myers, FL 33967


Grate Fireplace & 
Outdoor Living

7830 Drew Circle, Suites 1 & 2

Fort Myers, FL 33967


Lighting First

28001 South Tamiami Trail

Bonita Springs, FL 34134


Miromar Lakes Beach & 
Golf Club

10160 Miromar Lakes Boulevard

Miromar Lakes, FL 33913


Randall Mitchell Custom Homes

870 111th Ave. North, Suite 5

Naples, FL 34110


Ruben Sorhegui Tile

3876 Mercantile Ave.

Naples, FL 34104


Sater Design Collection

25241 Elementary Way,
Suite 102

Bonita Springs, FL 34135



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