Southern Exposure

A compound in South Florida sits above sea level but retains an atmosphere grounded in comfortable elegance...

An all-weather compound in South Florida sits confidently above sea level but retains an atmosphere grounded in comfortable elegance.

Come tropical storm or blazing sun, this 7,575-square-foot residence in Naples, Fla., is designed to endure all manner of weather conditions, from serene to extreme. “Everything here, from the doors to the furniture, from the art to the fabrics, was chosen to withstand outdoor conditions,” says architect Clemens Bruns Schaub, who designed the home not only to be a true indoor/outdoor experience for its husband-and-wife owners, but also to comply with the region’s flood-zone requirements. “All living spaces have to be 7 feet above grade,” he says, “but we wanted it to feel as though you’re living on ground level.” Hence, Schaub and his namesake Vero Beach, Fla., firm raised the swimming pool, which is located off the living room on the home’s west side, to make the spaces function as a single level. “We even planted trees high off the ground on either side of the pool; it feels like you’re on the ground. 

“This is a large property,” adds the architect, “but when you come in through the main entrance, you don’t see everything. I like homes to reveal themselves gradually.” 

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Even Flow

Bracketed by swimming pools on the property’s east and west sides, the living room serves as the main gathering place in the home. “We wanted this area to feel more inviting and less formal,” says interior designer Christine Pokorney, a member of the Associates Studio, a sister design group to Schaub’s firm. “We really wanted the entire home to walk that fine line between formal and informal,” she says. The living room porch, outfitted with McGuire outdoor sofas upholstered in Janus et Cie fabrics, is a seamless extension of the comfortable interior. Inside, a Michael S. Smith mahogany sofa obtained through the John Rosselli showroom doubles as theater and dining seating, while a trio of Schaub-designed glass-topped tables is also multifunctional, serving as a dining table when joined or as occasional tables when placed separately. With the push of a button, the owners can reposition Olga de Amaral’s Dos Mitades, the artwork above the fireplace, to reveal a TV screen. Pokorney selected a chandelier from Ochre, in part, “because it looked a bit like rain.” In the adjacent kitchen, which can be closed off from the living room by a series of pocketed shoji screens, elements such as a marble backsplash and quartz countertops perpetuate the home’s neutral palette. 

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Air Apparent

Complementing the property’s subtle color scheme are Caribbean influences (generous overhangs) and nods to Asian design (simple materials), says Schaub. He used oak, limestone, plaster, and bronze to create an aura of understated balance within the natural setting, and he made certain the residence would welcome only the right kind of air. “The site is along the Gulf Coast, facing east toward the water. The rectangular pool faces west and the circular pool faces east toward a cove, so it was carefully planned for lots of cross ventilation, and to invite in summer breezes while blocking winter winds,” says the architect. He took full advantage of the proximity to that protected cove when he created the living pavilion, which is one of the home’s most compelling spaces. The room has louvered windows on three sides. Located just outside the pavilion is an intimate outdoor gathering area outfitted with teak club chairs and a table from David Sutherland.

Elegant furnishings adorn even the less-trafficked areas of the home, thanks to the detail-minded Pokorney. The interior designer placed a Berman Rosetti bench in the private entrance that connects the garage to the main living level, and in the home’s only indoor hallway, which leads from the living room to the master suite, she set down a bronze-base table, from the San Francisco designer Jiun Ho, on the European oak floor. A black-and-white Harry Benson photograph, purchased by the homeowners through the Northeast’s Cavalier Galleries, completes the scene.

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Elements of Style

Next to the master suite, the wife’s office features quietly glamorous details not found in other parts of the home. Pokorney anchored the space with one of Fiona Curran’s geometric carpets for the Rug Company (Zap is its name) and positioned a pair of bronzed glass tables from Donghia in front of a curving Vladimir Kagan sofa. A Joseph Jeup–designed, leather-wrapped desk acquired through Holly Hunt finishes the look. Overhead, the millwork is an elegant touch, while in the home’s living room a similarly chic ceiling design allows for better sound absorption during movie viewings. 

A covered terrace connects the wife’s office to the west pool courtyard. European oak flooring, bronze window frames, and soft, almost white walls appear both inside and out, exemplifying the manner in which materials and colors link the property’s interior and exterior spaces. A gnarled teak root bench, purchased from Authentic Provence in nearby West Palm Beach, adds a touch of organic whimsy.

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Lookout Points

Schaub set the master wing, with his office, on the northernmost side of the property, which affords both dramatic cove views and privacy. In the airy master bedroom, a Berman Rosetti bed with a fabric headboard and suede footboard seems to float, while a vintage rattan chaise, selected for what Pokorney calls its “old Florida vibe,” graces the porch. That same outdoor perch is shared by the husband’s office, where two Holly Hunt club chairs flank a coffee table that Schaub made from a tree found on another project. With cove views on two sides, the office was deliberately sited so that the husband could easily check fishing conditions. Floor-to-ceiling, bronze-framed windows in the master bathroom face a wall of bamboo for a sense of tropical privacy. A volcanic-limestone-and-resin Victoria and Albert tub rests in the middle of the room, under a waxed paper ceiling light designed by Davide Groppi. “I was shopping with the homeowner, and when she saw that fixture she was immediately drawn to it,” says Pokorney. “It reminded her of the moon.” 

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Suite Surrender

At the southern end of the 1.3-acre property, which features abundant cove-facing garden areas by landscape designer Neil Sickterman of the Associates Studio, guest suites connect via an outdoor hallway—a classic element of tropical design, says Schaub. “Having to get to different rooms through outdoor hallways is something that is very much a part of that tradition,” he says. In this home’s layout, each of the four guest suites has its own outdoor sitting area. Keeping each area’s Sunbrella curtains closed affords privacy, while opening them links the suites and allows for uninterrupted passage between them. 

“The home can accommodate lots of people,” says the wife. “When we have all of our children and grandchildren here, everyone can find their own place. Then at other times, we can all gather together without it ever feeling crowded. Most of all, we didn’t want a huge, concrete house. This home manages to feel very spacious while keeping a warm and inviting feeling.” 

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High-Water Mark

The home’s inviting aura—elegant yet comfortable—is epitomized in the cove-facing terrace. Limestone flooring extends from the living room, and a raised Jacuzzi has an outer rim that doubles as a seating area. Contrasting the west pool’s rectangular shape, the east pool is “slightly twisted, to aim its views directly towards the curve [of the cove],” says Schaub. Water cascades over the pool’s infinity edge to the garden below, effectively integrating the two levels of the home. The custom pool tiles, designed by the architect and produced by Vidrepur, evoke the ocean’s blues, while the garden’s limestone sitting area and circular fire feature echo the pool’s curves. “On the west side of the property, we wanted it to feel more formal, which is why we have the rectangular pool,” says the architect. “On the east, we wanted it to feel more casual and for the pool to mimic the curve of the cove.

“I like a home,” Schaub continues, “that can be two things at the same time—both formal and informal. It’s just like changing your clothes. Living in a house that can be both formal and informal, where you can go inside and out, should be that easy.”  


Clemens Bruns Schaub Architect & Associates772.231.1484, cbsarchs.com; The Associates Studio, 772.231.1785, theassociatesstudio.com

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