While anyone can see that Sherri DuPont, president and principal owner of Collins & DuPont Design Group, and Amy Coslet, project lead and interior designer, are extremely talented, as Editor of Home & Design, I had the pleasure of getting to know them beyond the surface of their design portfolio.
When we sat down to discuss one of their recently completed projects, I saw the side of their designer skill set that is often reserved for clients. We dove deep into the details of this home, and they guided me through the project just as they would navigate one of their clients through their perfected interior design process.
DuPont and her business partner Kim Collins, vice president and principal owner, founded Collins & DuPont Design Group 30 years ago. Over the last three decades they have built their business and crafted relationships with local design professionals in Southwest Florida and beyond
So when builder Mark Smith, president of Harwick Homes, recommended his clients work with Collins & DuPont Design Group for their new Mediterra home, it was a seamless transition. DuPont and Coslet met with the homeowners and “…just fell in love with them,” and began working on the home’s design right away.
I was also fortunate to sit down with Smith, who has been at Harwick Homes since the company’s beginning in 1993. Just over 10 years ago, Smith purchased the company, and as we spoke, I clearly saw his commitment for Harwick Homes and the custom home building industry.
“I think it’s best if the builder, who’s going to be ultimately responsible for the house for 10, 15, 20 years or longer, should be involved from the very beginning — in how it’s designed and constructed — so they can ensure that it’s warrantied properly,” he explains.
The team at Harwick Homes puts a strong emphasis on compiling the best team of professionals for their clients. They get to know their clients’ lifestyle, design taste, and needs so that they can provide introductions to other professionals that are best suited for each client’s personality, timeline, and wish list.
“When we work like that, it’s very nice because everybody that’s involved in the project has an opportunity to express their opinion during the pre-construction process,” Smith continues. “For us, that collaborative concept typically consists of the architect or building designer, the interior designer, and the landscape architect.”
Interior designers DuPont and Coslet worked closely with Smith and the entire team at Harwick Homes, the landscape architect Scott Windham, and the residential designer Gabriel Orengo to make sure every element was exactly what the homeowners wanted.
“I think the more you work with somebody and get to know them, you kind of naturally sense where it’s going,” says Coslet. DuPont agrees, “You get to know what they like, and what they don’t like. When we first met with the clients, the wife had said they wanted a contemporary home, but their roots were really in traditional,” she continues.
The traditional touches are evident in the millwork, but all the finishes are “glitz and glam” and lean contemporary. As I pour over the home’s design with Coslet, DuPont, and later Smith, I am amazed by the floors and ceilings, and how flawlessly those elements coordinate with the furnishings and fabric selections.
When I ask Smith about some of his favorite parts of this home, he mentions the ceiling detail and slider doors in the great room. “That whole area is an engineering masterpiece! If the ceilings weren’t finished and you could see all the concrete beams and the steel that was involved in the almost entirely concrete floor over the kitchen and living room, trust me, you’d find it pretty impressive,” Smith muses.
The composition of the home was really geared towards the homeowners’ large family. Each guest room is complete with en suite, perfect for guests’ extended stay. But the great room, which includes the kitchen, breakfast table, bar, formal dining, and family room, is designed for everyone to gather in. “You can really tell they are a lot of fun, and they really like to spend time together,” DuPont says fondly.
This family enjoys their fair share of good times. The 9,663-square-foot home has plenty of room for fun and games. In addition to the stunning resort-style pool, the home also has a theatre — complete with a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game, a built-in playhouse for the grandchildren, and Pop-A-Shot basketball game on the upstairs balcony!
DuPont and Coslet enjoyed working with the family throughout the entire process, but they both agreed it was incredibly fun to reveal the finished product to the new homeowners.
“They had been out of town for the install, so it was really a big surprise for them,” Coslet says beaming. “We met them and handed them glasses of champagne, toasted, and began the grand tour!”
“They were like kids on Christmas morning,” DuPont says grinning.
Through the front doors, you are greeted by a glamorous parlor and given a glimpse out to the incredible outdoor living area. DuPont and Coslet chose sheer sequin fabric for the draperies framing the floor-to-ceiling windows and had custom bench seating made for either side of the stone fireplace. Sofas and chairs by Century Furniture provide the remainder of the seating.
“He is definitely the ‘more is more’ type,” DuPont says when talking about the husband. DuPont and Coslet designed the study to fit his personality, selecting furnishings like the Finn desk by Hable for Hickory Chair and a custom area rug, all placed below a statement crystal chandelier.
This Mediterra estate built by Harwick Homes has a 17,221-square-feet under-roof footprint. Designed by residential designer Gabriel Orengo, it boasts 9,663 square feet of living space with an additional 3,245 square feet of air-conditioned storage bringing the under-air total to 12,908 square feet. Landscape architect Scott Windham designed the circular pavered drive with tropical palms and bougainvillea bushes for a warm welcome and inviting first impression of the family-oriented home.
“It was really important to both of the homeowners that we had a small barbecue, so that if the husband just wanted to cook a steak for him and his wife, he didn’t have to fire up the 5-foot-long grill to cook them a meal. So, right outside the kitchen there’s a garden, which sort of turned into a meandering brick pathway, and it has a grill for him and an herb garden for her,” says Smith.
The kitchen’s impressive sprawl includes two oversized islands fit with Dornbracht faucets and Elkay sinks from Ferguson, Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery and custom stone breakfast table. The butler’s pantry has additional storage for all the kitchen gadgets and leads into the Florida “mudroom.”
Coslet and DuPont designed an Old Biscayne Designs wall unit and back-to-back sectionals for the family room. When the weather is nice, motorized pocket-sliding doors retract and leave no barrier between the great room and outdoor living areas.
Chandeliers in antique silver leaf hang above the Old Biscayne Designs dining table that seats twelve. Behind the formal dining area, the bar has wood-carved detailing that mirrors the family room’s entertainment center.
“The master bedroom’s bay window was architecturally driven,” says DuPont. “It is an unusual space for a ceiling detail, but it is intended to guide your eye out towards the outdoor living area.” Harwick Homes installed the masterpiece, and the designers completed the space with swivel chairs and a custom ottoman.
The designers spent as much time on the master bathroom as they did on any other main room in the house. “Sometimes it takes more time to do something simple and clean — that is also not cold or foreboding — than it does to create something with a lot of embellishment,” DuPont says. The outdoor shower was originally supposed to be a “Zen Garden” and is hidden from neighbors by lush landscaping and a custom pergola. The Calacatta polished marble from Ruben Sorhegui Tile is simply breathtaking alongside the three inlaid “stone carpets.” You wouldn’t know it, but behind the his-and-hers vanity mirrors are hidden TVs, perfect for viewing the morning news or binge-watching your favorite show from the Oak Hill Soaking Tub from Ferguson, Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
“The initial meeting with landscape architect Scott Windham on the pool concept was really enjoyable,” says Smith. “I remember the homeowner and Scott both with their phones showing us all ideas of what would be cool to have in the pool. I don’t recall exactly how we got to a fire pit sunken within the pool, but we did.” Collins & DuPont completed the custom bench seat with outdoor pillows from Elaine Smith.
The homeowners talked several times about wanting to create some kind of playroom for their grandkids. They worked with Collins & DuPont to find all the kid-sized windows, entry lights, flower-shaped chandelier, and Dutch door, while Harwick Homes built the structure. “It was neat to see the whole thing come to life because it was something we talked about for a long time,” Smith says.
The homeowners wanted each of their guest bedrooms to feel like a master suite. This delightfully neutral guest suite is one of two that have a space — originally meant as a “sitting room” — that the wife thought would be better suited as a nursery for her growing family. DuPont and Coslet selected custom Eastern Accents bedding with a subtle animal print to coordinate with the safari-themed nursery.
“The homeowner was pretty adamant that he loved what Scott Windham had created and that we needed to make it all happen,” Smith explains. The resort-style pool is framed with lush landscaping and completed with multiple fire and water features, both a hot and a cold spa, a swim up bar, and a sun deck. “One of the last-minute things we did was add a spiral staircase from the upstairs balcony down to that pool deck,” Smith finishes.
Written by Emily Fitzgerald
Photography by Lori Hamilton
Luxury Home Builder
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Collins & DuPont Design Group
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Bonita Springs, FL 34135
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Bayport, MN 55003
Castle Services of SWFL
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Design Studio by Raymond
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Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
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