Innovative. The single word defined the ambitions of long-time clients of Romanza Interior Design and London Bay Homes as they explored the possibilities for their new custom home on a tree-fringed homesite in The Estuary at Grey Oaks. They envisioned sleek contemporary lines, large outdoor living spaces and minimal architecture and interior ornamentation. In other words: A dramatic departure from their existing residence, built when Old World ruled the design scene.
“They wanted the exact opposite of their home, which had heavy Mediterranean influences,” said Melissa Allen, a senior interior designer whose relationship with the homeowners spans nearly 20 years. “They wanted the interiors to echo the contemporary architecture – inviting, warm and very livable with soothing neutrals and nothing to block the mind from appreciating the purposeful architecture, artwork and ceiling details.”
The estate, which won several Sand Dollar Awards from the Collier Building Industry Association for interior and home design, reflects a wish list centered around innovation and entertaining – an open-concept floor plan flowing between main gathering areas, a seamless connection between inside and out, a stunning infinity-edge pool and a covered lanai so spacious it accommodates an expansive outdoor kitchen with a large bar, a dining room and a living room with two large sofas.
“When you’ve worked with a client before, there’s a very trusting relationship,” said Allen. “They trusted Romanza and London Bay to consider every detail, relying on us and our creativity to guide them along this unbeaten path. There’s also a lot of collaboration between the Romanza and London Bay teams, the architect and landscape architect.”
Contemporary is embraced in a palette of whites, warm grays and ebony, minimal accessories and high-gloss and lacquered finishes. Large 70-by-30-inch matte porcelain flooring elevates the home’s openness, extending from the foyer into the adjoining reception room, dining room, kitchen and great room. “Continuing the flooring to outdoor living areas enhances the interplay between inside and out,” said Allen.
Backlit dropped ceilings cater to the shape of each space and custom-designed built-in consoles with exaggerated cantilevered countertops visually define the interior rooms. One also provides a unique format for displaying the clients’ prized collection of large-scale art photos by friend Hilda Champion, an internationally acclaimed photographer whose overexposures create an ethereal view of the natural world. Limiting accessories also keeps the focus on Champion’s riveting work, which Allen incorporated into the great room, reception room and as a triptych in the outdoor living room.
The reception room transforms the traditional living room into an inviting modern entertainment space with sleek contemporary furniture, a frameless linear fireplace with a glossy striated Dekton surround and a bank of windows extending to the floor with the pool’s reflecting pond just outside.
“The furniture is the background, so the lines of the architecture stand out,” explained Allen. “Color is introduced in the green of a Champion piece above the fireplace.”
Reflective surfaces are balanced with warm wood tones, which the Romanza team introduced in rift-sawn oak accents in the kitchen cabinetry and the great room’s built-in media center and the washed ceruse French oak flooring in the bedrooms.
The open kitchen, a best kitchen Sand Dollar Award winner in its category, also caters to entertaining, featuring two islands – one with a Galley workstation and sink illuminated by matte black track lighting; the second a breakfast bar with waterfall edges. A gray glass backsplash behind the induction cooktop features an abstract brick pattern and complements the kitchen’s gray and white quartz countertops.
Custom cabinetry set into niches along the kitchen’s perimeter was designed to conceal functionality and enhance the home’s contemporary design aesthetic. The refrigerator and freezer are hidden behind white flat panel doors set within a frame of rift-sawn oak and are devoid of hardware except for door pulls on each side of integrated ovens and a TV above. Rift-sawn cabinets are positioned on the fringes of another niche, extending from floor to ceiling and feature flat doors on the lowest level and glass doors with lighted interior displays near the ceiling. They juxtapose white cabinetry with lighted displays above touch-activated bifold doors and the white ship-lapped stove hood.
An elegant wine room just off the kitchen boasts full-height wine refrigerators, a wet bar and lighted wine glass racks built into warm tuxedo gray cabinetry. A linear floor-to-ceiling window echoes the home’s architecture.
The kitchen opens to the casual great room where two oversized sectional sofas accommodate plenty of guests and trackless Weiland doors heighten the indoor-outdoor connection.
The covered lanai not only realizes the clients’ desire for expanded outdoor living, it also won the Sand Dollar for best outdoor living space. It features a fully equipped kitchen with a pizza oven and a large three-sided bar, a generous dining table and the living room under dropped tongue-and-groove ceilings with cove lighting. Sleek furniture with curvilinear profiles speaks to the contemporary design while visually contrasting the infinity-edge pool’s linear forms expressed in the floating raised spa with a 360-degree spillover, sun shelf and steppingstones traversing the shallower reflecting pond. The expansive sundeck features pearl-hued pavers with steps leading to a sunken patio with a fire table and an intimate outdoor area accessed from a guestroom.
A Sand Dollar winner for best master suite, the main bedroom boasts a lustrous design with high-gloss lacquered finishes, a series of backlit dropped ceilings and a palette of silver, white and cream accented with dark undertones and hints of champagne gold.
An innovative drapery system extends to the sitting area, creating a dramatic and elegant effect throughout the room. When opened, the section of panels adjacent to the master bed retract and disappear behind the TV, revealing French doors leading to the pool area. Concealed motorized shades can be lowered over the French doors and floor to ceiling windows at the sitting room for extra privacy without compromising the room’s natural light.
The master bathroom features eye-catching patterns – from the triangular black-and-white mosaic tile of the shower’s floor and dropped ceiling to the linear gold accents embellishing the shower’s focal wall and the stylized black striations against crystal in the polished porcelain floor. Rift-sawn oak and textural white wallcovering add depth and dimension.
Guestrooms have distinct personalities and full bathrooms, incorporating window seats, sleek closet systems with integrated illuminated displays, and an array of finishes and features, including custom cabinetry with lacquered and rift sawn-inspired cabinetry and extensive tile details. The study features a modern riveted barn door and integrates cabinetry into niches and ladder bookshelves.
A feathered gray glass-clad wall with LED lighting behind the mirror adds dramatic impact to the powder room near the study. The wall appears to float above the glass vessel sink, its one-of-a-kind pattern and coloring influenced by a unique spinning process.
The pool bath doubles as a powder room for the great room. “It’s a favorite with guests because of its design,” said Allen, who created a custom aluminum dividing wall that’s both linear and organic. The countertop cantilevers over the floating vanity, featuring an integrated rectangular sink and matte black faucet with striking mountain midnight stone handles.
As part of the homeowner’s vision for innovation, the estate also features Tesla Powerwalls in lieu of a generator and net-zero energy efficiency through solar power. It’s the builder’s first solar-powered residence and earned the Sand Dollar Award from the Collier Building Industry Association for best smart home.
Romanza Interior Design is a full-service, boutique firm with an award-winning team of interior design experts who use innovative ideas and the latest trends in design to capture the spirit of each homeowner. Whether creating a new dream home, or updating or customizing an existing residence, Romanza Interior Design brings creative visions to life today.