Situated on a double-lot of beachfront property, this 5,600 SF home is a beautiful example of seaside architectural detailing and luxury. The home is actually more than 15,000 SF when including all of the outdoor spaces and balconies. Spread across its 4 levels are 5 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, his and her office, gym, living, dining, & family rooms. It is all topped off with a large deck with wet bar on the top floor for watching the sunsets. It also includes garage space for 6 vehicles, a beach access garage for water sports equipment, and over 1,000 SF of additional storage space. The home is equipped with integrated smart-home technology to control lighting, air conditioning, security systems, entertainment and multimedia, and is backed up by a whole house generator.
Free Style Interiors
The property is located in Bonita Springs, Florida, situated on the sands of scenic Bonita Beach. An upscale beachside community with few condominiums and resorts, the site is surrounded by many beautiful contemprary homes. The landscape is dotted with coconut palms, sea grapes, and tons of wildlife including seaturtles and birds. Waterfront designs come with thier own challenges, but this site required additional considerations for the care and maintenence of an ecological dune system that supports a variety of plant species and wildlife. For this reason, the design of the home was planned to preserve the integrity of the dune and provide the owners a home that would last.
As with most waterfront homes, a large part of the driving force in design is the orientation of the site. The site is tilted on an east/west axis so that the rear of the site faces to the southwest, providing opportunities for excellent sunset views of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a primary goal of the owners to provide sweeping views of the Gulf from every level of the home, so this became a defining design driver for the home. This also presented challenges in cooling the home during the summer months, as the westen exposure can increase home tempuratures drammatically.
In addition, the site is two combined lots to equal 100 feet of continuous beach front propoerty, which provided the team some unique design opportunities. Most water front lots are narrow and only give a sliver of room for views to the water, but with a double lot the orientation of the home could be rotated to give a much more panoramic view of the Gulf.
The Connecticut couple wanted to create a memorable family destination to enjoy six months out of the year with their five children. They wanted a home that from the exterior had a distinct "Florida Coastal" style of architecture, which is historically best suited for smaller wood framed structures. However, this home was to be built larger than most traditional coastal vernacular buildings. In addition, the ecological dune was to be protected and maintained throughout construction. These things presented some unique design challenges for the project in order to achieve the desired results for the client.
The couple wanted a home they would enjoy for a very long time. This, combined with the desire to project the dune and to make "age-in-place" provisions for themselves, provided the overall framework for the design and construction strategy for the home. Additional requirements for the home included providing bedrooms for themselves and the kids, his and her offices, a gym, and several balconies.
The home's massing and layout is mostly driven by the generous width of the double-lot and the orientation to the Gulf of Mexico. This provided an opportunity for a much wider home than most neighboring home along the shoreline to maximize views. Within this layout the spaces were arranged for the couple to enhance their daily lives and plan for long term living in the home.
A residential elevator was incorporated to assist the "age-in-place" planning and all the main functions of the home are situated on the first living level (second floor), including the master bedroom. All other bedrooms and second living room is then located on the second living level (third floor) to provide a separate space for the family to relax without disturbing each other. The top floor (fourth floor) is made up of a recreation space meant to capture the best views of the Gulf.
Elements typical of coastal vernacular architecture were incorporated in order to scale the large structure down; elements such as feature windows, viewing terraces, and dormers. The four-story home is constructed on pilings with concrete masonry and wood floor and truss systems. As the property is exposed to the harsh coastal environment, extra design and engineering challenges were addressed such as adding retractable screens to prevent interior sun-damage, hurricane shutters, break-away staircases, and breakaway walls in the event of a major storm. Additional steps were taken in mitigating beach erosion and installing turtle-safe lighting.
The British West Indies inspired interior is open and informal with a breezy palette of palm greens, deep blues and cool grays set against the crisply contrasting combination of white tongue-in-groove woodwork and dark wood floors. 360° views of the Gulf, and beach activity, are captured and enjoyed through strategically placed picture windows, wrap-around balconies, and deeply recessed patios. Upstairs balcony rails were designed to double as outdoor “beach bar” railings on which to rest drinks. Other fun features the family enjoys are whimsical custom jellyfish pendant lights over the centralized staircase, a game room, peaceful study, exercise nook, elevator, and ground-floor storage with racks designed for stacks of beach towels and rafts. Tropical landscaping compliments the beach side infinity-edge pool, spa, and spacious lanai with outdoor kitchen.