Perfectly In Sync

It Took An Imaginative Team To Whip Up A “Delicious” Home In Naples And Turn One Couple’s Dream Into Reality

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We’ve all heard that too many cooks spoil the stew. Though many first-class “chefs” were involved in the creation of this 5,000-square-foot, Naples waterfront residence, designer Linda Sonders coordinated the diverse talents and timetables to make for what the homeowners call a seamless and “delicious” design experience. “Linda was involved in every part of the project. She is a realtor and we bought the existing house through her six years ago; then as the project manager, she helped us decide on the team and guided their collaboration,” the owner says. “And she is a wonderful designer, whose tastes are perfectly in sync with ours.”

In the beginning, hard decisions had to be made. Enter architect Randall Stofft and partner John Cooney who were called in when the couple thought they wanted to tackle their second major renovation.

“Establishing a better view was important to them,” Cooney says. “But the way the house was positioned on the lot did not allow for it. In the end, taking the existing house down and starting from a clean slate was best.” And it freed the owners to follow their vision of a coastal house to accommodate their four visiting daughters’ families with grandchildren.

But with the numerous interpretations of “coastal,” Cooney and the owners settled on a design very far from the traditional home and the Minnesota cabin the couple was used to. “Instead we chose a style with some West Indies’ elements — touches that might have been found in the British Colonial period,” the architect says. From the front elevation, a series of suggested pods derived from Bermuda cottages give the compound pitches of the roofline half-a-dozen peaks. Yet inside, the fresh lines and light colors of Florida coastal design prevail.

As the original home came down and the new one rose, the owners remained in Minnesota for most of the 15 months of building. “I had worked with Cooney and the builder, Matt Knauf, in the past, and we all worked so well together,” Sonders says. Communicating with the owners on a weekly basis, she was able to channel their lifestyle and taste. “This is the third project we have done with Linda Sonders,” Knauf says. “Not only did we come in ahead of schedule, but it turned out to be one of my favorite projects to complete.”

Just inside, the living area, dining area and kitchen are all really part of one large great room. And indeed, it is only with Cooney’s signature ceiling delineations that the spaces are defined. With coffers, tongue-in-groove cottage-like slatting, trey stepping and cedar paneling, each space’s function is subtly specified.

With a nod to Venetian Bay, the anchoring interior palette is filled with sandy hues and serene blues — a personal favorite of the homeowners. The living area’s emphasis on comfort is evident in the welcoming linens and “approachable” woods that seem to invite feet up onto the cocktail tables and a tall drink to the hand, all atop a forgiving sisal area rug.

Steps away, a cook is never toiling alone in the kitchen, which flows into the dining area. “Dining is a family affair,” the homeowner says. “We love to cook together.” Built to accommodate a large visiting family, the dining table combines elegant lines with a relaxed sensibility that could welcome a robust lobster boil or savory haute cuisine.

In an easy transition from inside to out, the light oak flooring gives way to even paler limestone that grounds the covered lanai. With appropriately tropical wicker furnishings, all eyes focus on a stacked-stone fireplace and the spectacular waterway view the owners envisioned in their dreams.

Yet Florida homes aren’t considered such without a pool. Here, family and friends enjoy the slightly trapezoid infinity pool and its adjoining spa as ocean-going boats sail by on their way to … perhaps a Bermuda destination.

Linda Sonders, Linda Sonders Design, Naples, FL

Amber Frederiksen, Bonita Springs, FL

Randall Stofft and John Cooney, Stofft Cooney Architects, Naples, FL

Matt Knauf, Knauf-Koenig Group, Naples, FL

Landscape Architecture
Christian Andrea, Architectural Land Design, Naples, FL

Text by
Marina Brown