Making Memories

A New Country Home Tells A Generational Story For A Family In Mediterra

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Serene, rustic, elegant and out of the past, the heart of this French country-style home is a simple structure capped with a stone and terracotta chimney. Behind it, a roof and gable top a two-story building, while a one-story wing branches out to greet guests through an arched entry. A true manifestation of homeowners’ aspirations, their new 9,149-square-foot home in Mediterra, an idyllic community in Naples, Fla., is very much how they envisioned it — authentic, old and expanded over generations.

“We were after a French farmhouse style with an organic feeling,” the homeowner says. “That’s how it all started, probably inspired by our travels through France, particularly in the wine country. My husband and I love the architecture and the gardens there.”

To build a brand new home that appears as if it was 300 years old and in France may seem daunting. Not so for architect Rob Herscoe and builder Joe Smallwood. “The execution of putting the finishes together and pulling off the look was the challenge,” Smallwood says. Having worked very closely with the homeowners on the interior scheme, designer Ivy Scheinholz brings it a little closer to home. “Like Dorothy’s home landing in Oz, this French farmhouse looks like it dropped down in Naples,” she says.

To achieve an aged European look, the homeowners’ team of wizards worked out every detail. “Going further than a temporary mockup, Rob did a full-scale printout on paper of what he wanted the house to look like,” Smallwood says. “Using that as a template, we then sketched it on the structure and built it … watching every step to make sure it was right.” Stone rubble shows through walls covered in tinted lime plaster; natural irregular stone coining edges doors and windows; and the terra-cotta clay-tile roof is in buff and ochre.

Interior architecture carries through Old World details. In the great room, vaulted ceilings are set off with true oak beams and the wood-plank flooring is polished with layers of wax, creating a rich patina. For furnishings, the designer integrated the couple’s antique collection with simple elegant pieces. “The trick is to blend all elements of design,” Scheinholz says.

In the dining bay, Louis XVI chairs, clad in white and taupe woven linen from Nobilis, and a custom banquette, covered in a creamy white linen-cotton blend, surround an antique French farm table.

Nearby, a conversation grouping in the living area is inviting with its linen-clad sofa by Kravet accented with throw pillows in caramel velvet. Joining the mix, a deep-seated armchair and ottoman from Jerry Pair are styled with turned legs and transitional lines. The homeowners’ bronze sculpture offers a touch of whimsy on a glass-topped cocktail table based in hammered iron.

An aged patina look wraps the kitchen, where a cerused oak ceiling looks like it may have been refinished many times, and a massive iron grill recalls a farmhouse’s kitchen hearth. Cabinetry is finished in white milk paint with brushed nickel hardware, while decorative iron corbels support the granite countertops. And with country cuisine on the mind, Windsor host chairs and parson-style side chairs beckon the family to gather around the French antique cherry wood farm table for culinary delights.

French doors open to the lanai and pool beyond. In keeping with historically correct architecture, old brick, natural stone walls, wood-stained columns, rough-hewn wood shutters, webbed trusses and custom iron railings lend a certain authenticity.

“The design process was as enjoyable as seeing the final execution of the house,” Herscoe says. “The clients were thoroughly engaged in creating not just a house, but a home that has a history they helped create … that has nostalgic meaning for them.”

Interior Design
Ivy Scheinholz, Ivy Mary Designs LLC, Bonita Springs, FL

Lori Hamilton, Naples, FL

Rob Herscoe and Michael Hajjar, Herscoe Hajjar Architects, Naples, FL

Joe Smallwood, BCB Homes, Naples, FL

Landscape Architecture
Patrick Trefz, OPI: Outside Productions, Inc., Naples, FL

Text by
Christine Davis