Harbor Style Harbor Style Sept 2017 : Page 86


Coastal Retreat

Nancy J. Semon

This coastal contemporary design in P61 provides a soothing retreat "by the sea."

Tucked at the end of a cul-de-sac in Punta Gorda is a home like no other. Its inspiration comes from the homeowners’ many years of sailing the blue waters of the Northeast, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Meet Debby and Eric who, with the help of Lorie Irons of Home Showcase Interiors, furnished, decorated and designed this one-of-a-kind custom house built by Fero Construction Inc. of Punta Gorda. The home’s panoramic canal views give one the feeling of living on the water and not on land. From outside the home, which is beautifully landscaped by Mark Peters Landscape Company, to the inside, every nook and cranny is a decorator’s delight and, perhaps, the kind of house that we’d all love to live in.

Irons said the home’s design can be described as “coastal contemporary style.” Coming up to the front door, we couldn’t help but notice that the porch’s supporting columns are shaped like light houses. The exterior color reminds one of the sea. The color is “Drizzle,” a Sherwin-Williams shade. To the left of the beautiful double, glass-paneled door with a contemporary design is a coupling of comfy-looking patio furniture. “Eric likes to sit outside,” Debby explained, pointing out that the front of the house faces south and the lanai/ pool area faces north, so depending on the angle of the sun, temperature and time of year, Eric can choose where he can best enjoy the outdoors. The house has a rather wide porch area not typical of a home in Punta Gorda Isles, a detail that likely comes from the couple’s time living in Newport, R.I., where old, grand homes have porches containing many chairs where families, friends and neighbors congregate.

The entryway is dramatic – the doors are so unique that several people have come up to the house and knocked, asking where the doors came from, Debby said. The doors feature thick glass interwoven with gold metal swirls. Raymond Building and Supply of North Port supplied the doors and windows, and they are all rather unique.

Everything in the house, be it custom-made, purchased new or from previous homes the couple or their families lived in, blend beautifully together. While design and aesthetics are very important for Debby and Eric, so are family and memories of the past. In the very new and modern kitchen, for instance, high on a plant shelf is an old wooden chair tilted on its side. Leading us to a photo next to the front door, Debby pointed out a collection of vintage black and white photos. In one is a group of people and a young boy with the family dogs. Behind the boy is that old chair that is now in the couple’s kitchen. That boy in the photo is Debby’s dad, who was born in 1901 and lived to be 103. The old homestead was in Mecklinburg County, Va., and the house is still standing. Other photos along this wall are of Debby’s mom and sisters.

Most homes have souls, some people believe, and in Debby’s and Eric’s case, their love of family, sailing and being on the water shine through. Later we’ll get a glimpse of what helped to shape the design of their home. Hint: It is found in a framed photo outside the kitchen.

The oohs and ahhs began as soon as we entered the 2,650-square-foot home. The large, light-colored plank flooring in varying sizes looks very beachy and nautical. Debby pointed out that those “planks” are not wood but tile flooring. Irons said that the varying widths and sizes of the tile lend them to looking like real wood. Friendly Floors supplied the tile.

Except for an antique desk and two Stressless Scandinavian chairs with ottomans in the living room, most of the furniture is new. Debby picked out Scandinavian furniture for the living room section of the great room. She liked a glass-topped coffee table she had seen in Wisconsin and found the same one at the now-defunct Denmark Interiors. Scandinavian wooden shelves adorn the wall along with a beautiful glass-fronted double door cabinet from Copenhagen Interiors in Sarasota. The cabinet’s glass forms a colorful design of greens and blues. There is no clutter throughout the house, creating a soothing and serene effect.

The dining room area of the great room features a glass table with leather chairs and a large, custom-made breakfront on the wall behind the head of the table that holds Eric’s collection of vintage Sammeltasse, or collector coffee cups with saucers and cake plates, some of which belonged to his family in Germany where he was born and raised. As was the custom in his native Berlin, on weekend afternoons families would take their traditional German walk and then “find someplace to have coffee and a piece of cake,” Debby explained. The cups are tilted forward on the saucers, with plates beneath, so that one can see the beautiful designs inside the cups.

Besides holding his collection of cups on two levels of shelves, the bottom portion of the breakfront contains a model of a dragon boat. Debby and Eric participate in dragon boat races through their club, Charlotte Harbor Dragons, which Eric serves as current president and coach. Debby’s eclectic array of wood and antique tools are also displayed on the bottom of the breakfront as well.

The glass table dining room and chairs along with the kitchen bar stools came from J Mark Modern Home in Naples. Over the granite counter top in the kitchen are pendant lights with white opaque glass shades in modern shapes, and they are adjustable. Debby has them in alternating lengths, as she “doesn’t like glare.” The pendant lights and the modern chandelier in the kitchen come from JCM Lighting and Design of Punta Gorda (they provided other lighting in the home as well).

And about that granite counter – there are no seams! Debby said that the granite was provided by Giovanny’s Granite in Punta Gorda and she ordered “four big pieces” of granite that wound up in the kitchen and the lanai. Just Counters & Other Stuff Inc. of Port Charlotte provided the dark-colored cabinets in the kitchen and, again, they were custom-made to the couple’s specifications as were the other cabinets provided by Just Counters for the rest of the home. “Lorie suggested doing a vertical back splash,” Debby said as we commented on how the back splash made everything look taller, with glass vertical strips in varying sizes creating a sleek and dramatic look.

Then it was time to explore the pool area. Above the expansive sliding glass doors is a long cornice in a modern fabric of beige and black that was made by Home Showcase Interiors. Irons’ company also provided other window treatments and draperies. When we passed through the sliding doors, we noticed that the tile inside the house extends out to the pool area. Irons pointed out that this gives the feeling of more openness and sort of brings the outside inside the home. There is an overhang over the tile, protecting those under it from the elements. Where the overhang ends, a different, weather-proof and skidproof surface surrounds the pool area.

The glass sliders, Irons pointed out, are not traditional. They, too, were specially designed for the house, which is one of the first ever to get them. They are 130-degree, O-corner glass sliders requiring special reinforcements. Opening the door to the lanai, the glass literally moves on the track around a corner in a continuous motion.

The pool and spa are beautiful. The pool is a dark blue, almost black, and the tiles were custom-ordered by Debby, who insisted she wanted a specific type she had seen elsewhere; the colors are reminiscent of the deep, blue sea with hues of dark blues and greens in the textured tiles. Grant Pools of Port Charlotte created the look.

A coffee table on the lanai caught our eye. “It is a Liberty ship hatch cover,” Debby said.

Over in a corner is an outdoor sink and cabinets. Instead of a traditional or built-in barbecue, there is a small, marine barbecue covered and set atop a cabinet at the other end of the lanai. Debby admitted that they are not big on barbecuing.

The lanai screening does not have the usual aluminum supports and strips every so many feet. The black screening seems to be continuous and, in fact, one doesn’t even realize that the lanai is screened in. The view is sensational – to the left is part of the rim canal, and the intersecting canals give the look of open water.

Heading towards the master bedroom, we came to the master bath whose cabinets by Just Counters were meticulously refinished to create thin, irregular, vertical lines that give the cabinets and doors texture. They, too, are a neutral color with a hint of gray. This is a design that Debby wanted, and at first Eric was dubious, she said. However, once he saw the finished project, he agreed they looked great.

The shower is a sight to behold. The corner underneath the ceiling shower head is made of different sized pebbles, or smooth stones, to create the look of cascading water. The design coupled with the pebbled floor give one the feeling of showering under a waterfall in the great outdoors.

Even the separate his and her closets are special. They have beautiful built-in wooden cabinets and drawers, and Debby’s even has a luxurious crystal chandelier.

But if there was one room in the house where one could totally fall into a tranquil state, it is the master bedroom. Neutral drapes and walls of a peachy beige create a relaxing ambiance. Irons helped choose paint colors in creamy, neutral hues throughout the house, and the walls seem to whisper “relax, be serene.” The drapes that run along two walls in the master bedroom can be closed for total privacy, but once opened the view you look out on is a breathtaking view of the waterways beyond. Outside the sliding glass doors is a sitting area with chairs and a table where Eric likes to relax.

An interesting and beautiful feature of the master bedroom is the three-paneled wall canvases over the custom-made fabric headboard. The panels are divided sections of an actual photo that depicts the view the couple enjoyed while living in Newport. There is a sailboat in one panel moving over open water and heading towards the Newport Bridge. The blues in the wall art and beige tones in the room blend beautifully and create a feeling of well-being that is quite hard to describe.

Before we headed to the two guest bedrooms, we came upon that framed photo in the great room right outside the kitchen that we mentioned earlier. We came to believe that the photo of that sailboat provided some of the inspiration for the home’s design, as apparently Debby and Eric were, and are, boaters and lovers of the sea.

The photo depicts a sailboat in very rough waters, with waves crashing over the bow and the starboard (right) side. The vessel is tilted on a very sharp angle. This is Psyche, a Tartan 4600 (46-feet) sailboat that Debby and Eric owned. Their other two boats at their dock are also named Psyche – one is a power boat and the other a (sail) cat boat. But it was the Psyche in the photo that took them on amazing adventures. The photo was taken during a trip they were on when they sailed from Newport over to Bermuda and then onto St. Maarten in the Caribbean. This was November of 2003, and they made the trip in five and a half days with an average speed of 8.3 knots. And the waters were very rough, Debby recalled. In all, the couple spent six years living on Psyche year-round. They have sailed as far south as Venezuela and to many islands in the Caribbean. But one day not too many years ago, they decided to put down roots in Punta Gorda, where they continue their love of the water as members of the PGI Mariners.

The front guest bedroom has a Murphy bed and serves as an office. The wood is dark and understated. But it is the two guest bathrooms that caught our eyes. One shower has a pebbled floor, but different than the one in the master bath. The counter tops in both guest bathrooms are made of what Irons called “leather finished quartz.” She urged us to run our hands over the surfaces, and they did, indeed, feel like textured leather. Again, the quartz slabs were fashioned by Giovanny who also did the kitchen counter tops. In the rear guest bathroom, a Ferguson glass sink has a light underneath that is kept on during the dark. The sink literally becomes a night light, Debby demonstrated.

When they first moved into their home in 2014, Eric’s mom, who has since passed away, lived with them. Her former room is beautifully furnished. The bedding is in a black and white contemporary fabric; a red table lamp sits on a table next to the bed. Debby asked Punta Gorda artist Roxie Vetter to create the wall art over the bed. It is abstract art in colors of black, white and a hint of red that picks up the colors in the fabric and lamp. There are niches throughout the home, and every time we passed an area we had previously seen, we noticed something new. In this guest bedroom is a niche with two shelves holding blue and green glass objet d’arts.

Then it was time for us to leave. With reluctance we bid farewell to our gracious hosts and Irons, decorator extraordinaire. After hugs and good wishes, we made our way down the steps, admiring the landscaping along the way. Pulling out of the paver driveway, we looked once more at the beautiful blue home trimmed with white that we believed we’d never see the likes of again in any other place.

There is no clutter throughout the house, creating a soothing and serene effect.

We came to belive that the photo of that saiboat provide some of the inspiration for the home's design.

Read the full article at http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/article/Coastal+Retreat/2851514/430262/article.html.

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