A Mediterranean-Meets-Modern Makeover In Naples’ Posh Bay Colony Community Blends A Tuscan Foundation With Traditional Twists
Bethany O’Neil, Bethany O’Neil Interior Design, Naples, FL
Lori Hamilton, Naples, FL
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A Greco-Roman pedigree defines the exterior of this sprawling 8,000-square-foot home in the gated Bay Colony enclave. Its red clay roof tiles, towering Doric columns, stucco exteriors and masonry balconies exude Old World and Old Naples aesthetics. “The owners, native Mid-Westerners, were living in a condo waiting for the perfect opportunity,” says interior designer Bethany O’Neil, also a mid-western native, who had been referred to the couple by a realtor as well as a mutual friend. The couple reached out to O’Neil after they purchased the home, now their permanent winter retreat.
The house had been remodeled several times in phases that introduced a juxtaposition of styles along the way — from Mediterranean to Modern — including an Asian-inspired mahogany entry door. “My job was to neutralize the interior without making it too traditional,” the designer says. O’Neil and her team began working on the project revolving around plans to de-Tuscanize and balance interior details. Next, she created a wow factor in the sunken great room with the design of a majestic fireplace and mantel to match the grandeur and scale of the space with soaring 24-foot-high ceilings.
Working with the owners’ preference for a muted palette to echo the surrounding lush green landscape, one of O’Neil’s biggest challenges was balancing gray tones with beiges and greens. She blended linen and velvet textiles, and anchored the rooms with wood furnishings. “I haven’t worked with dark woods for a long time,” O’Neil says. “I’m seeing a coming back.” Drawn to painted European antiques, she admits, “It pushed me out of my comfort area. I had to figure out how to make it rich and inviting.”
A combination of walnut and Thassos snowhite marble, the flooring remained in place. With alabaster lamps and quartz accents, she brought the glam into the living areas with a twist on traditional. The dramatic effect of the sunken great room, and a wall of French doors that open to the swimming pool is only upstaged by the spiral stairway made from iron balusters, walnut bannisters and Thassos treads and risers.
An eclectic array of classic and modern aesthetics in the dining room is an understated study in contrasts, pairing traditional floral wall coverings and framed antique botanical prints with a shimmering, contemporary quartz-encrusted starfish chandelier and crystal lamps. Views of the pergola offer a glimpse of the vibrant rose trees that welcome pops of heady pink into the formal dining room.
In the nearby breakfast area, walls were removed and doors re-centered to frame views of the pergola, hedged lawns and tree line beyond. O’Neil sold the homeowners on the idea of furnishing the space with a pair of upholstered sofas as if they were booths. Doubling as a social gathering area when the adult children visit, or when the couple wishes to read the paper with morning coffee, there’s more to sitting at a kitchen table besides eating.
Architectural elements subliminally dominate other rooms, too, like the home office, located on the ground floor, down a hallway off of the foyer, where soaring Doric columns are reflected in the mirror above a vintage demilune cabinet. Dedicated to the husband’s study, the room is appointed with a small siting area and lounge chair around a Lucite conversation table, and equipped with a wet bar.
On the second floor, the supple curves of the Mediterranean balcony balusters, seen through the sundeck’s French doors, are juxtaposed with the angular lines of the Lillian August four-poster bed — a centerpiece of the upper-level guest suite. “The scale of this room was a good one to feature the more modern bed,” says O’Neil, who mixed styles by adding Gustavian-inspired bed chests and bureaus.
Again, the muted earth-toned palette allows the splendor of the surrounding outdoor green space to become the focal point, while a stunning poolside pergola shapes the perfect open-air social space. “It’s all about the clients and what they want,” O’Neil says. “They trusted me to hold their hands, saying: ‘You’re going to love this’ … and they do!”