Expect The Unexpected

A Visionary Design Team Conjures This Captivating Blend Of Post-Modernism And Tropical Splendor On Captiva Island
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When prospective clients Verna and David George invited architect Randall Stofft and partner John Cooney to walk the property intended for their new home on Captiva Island, Fla., the initial view of the site was enough to set the wheels of inspiration moving. "When you walk toward the rear of the site and see the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and all of that bright, white sand, it inspires you very quickly," Cooney says. It was also evident that the Georges were "highly sophisticated and educated in architecture," he says, with a vision of home long in the making.

"We'd been coming down here to vacation for about 25 years," David says. "At the time, we were living in a very traditional, arts and crafts-style home in Long Island, N.Y., on a natural wildlife preserve with views of Oyster Bay Harbor. We loved living on the water with all the wildlife surrounding us. Spending time on Captiva, with its proximity to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge along with the island's natural beauty, drew us to living here full time."

When David retired from a career on Wall Street, the Georges relocated to their island retreat, and contacted Cooney and Stofft to provide the full architectural design, site planning and interior architectural detailing. Cooney designed an Old Florida-style compound that includes a 6,700-square-foot main house; a 2,400-square-foot, two-story guesthouse with two full living/bedroom suites; and a gazebo that was built on an additional piece of property.

Interpreting a grand-scaled, modernized version of a true Florida cottage required the architecture team to rethink design elements. To this end, the home features a new use of expanse glass revealing panoramic vistas. An exterior palette with a standing seam metal roof references Old Florida, while outdoor pavilions are executed with a high-tech materials palette that mimics the style's authentic qualities. Plank siding recalls traditional cedar clapboard siding, and outdoor railings of aluminum extrusions exhibit the proportions of early wooden railings.

For the interior scheme, the Georges turned to the same design team they'd used for their Long Island home — William Diamond and Anthony Baratta. "We've always loved their enthusiasm for color and ability to personalize each project with great style," Verna says.

The two devised an exuberant plan that embraces the Georges' "fearless design aesthetic and desire for strong color," Diamond says. "Verna and David had great confidence in our abilities and gave us a free hand but were intimately involved in every aspect, and encouraged us to punch up the colors even more than we suggested."

The home's signature turquoise, white and chartreuse color scheme initiates in the living room, where an elongated sofa emulates the iconic styles of Dorothy Draper and Frances Elkins, and four armchairs covered in a specially commissioned harlequin-patterned fabric radiate around a white-lacquered, Deco-esque cocktail table.

In the dining room, a latticework installation answers to Verna's request for something different. "Artist and furniture maker Paul Flammang sketched our design, measured the room once, returned to his workshop in Connecticut and built the entire room," Diamond says. "When it was complete, he trucked it down to Florida and installed it piece by piece."

The kitchen, which Diamond and Baratta designed from scratch, continues the home's turquoise, white and chartreuse palette, and overlooks the gazebo and koi pond outside.

A circular theme seen in the kitchen recurs in the breakfast room with a table that ascends from the center of a round area rug that emulates the design of an Emilio Pucci-inspired scarf.

Turquoise-hued Italian linen by Scalamandré wraps the walls of the family room, complementing tropical shades of leafy green and sunny yellow. A carpet design that Diamond calls "paisley gone wild" served as the muse for the room's whimsical decor, while wicker furniture covered in a Hawaiian floral fabric completes the garden atmosphere.

Because the Georges were willing to push the envelope, the design and architecture team were able to depart from the expected. "The end product here," Baratta says, "is a tribute to the homeowners' passion and steadfast resolve for a home that is exciting, unique and wondrous."

Interior Design
William Diamond and Anthony Baratta, Diamond Baratta Design, New York, NY

Robert Brantley, Delray Beach, FL

Randall Stofft with John Cooney, Stofft Cooney Architects, Naples, FL, and Delray Beach, FL

Text by
De Schofield