There’s something about a second home that makes the owners relax and have some fun with the process of design and decoration. Maybe it’s because they know they don’t have to live with it every day; maybe it’s because they don’t have to live through the renovations; maybe they aren’t as afraid of making a mistake or of what their friends will think, but whatever the reason, people definitely seem to stress less than with their primary residences. “It’s adeparture from what they live in day-to-day, so there’s something really free-spirited about it. It’s always fun and more whimsical,” says interior designer Allison Caccoma. “No matter where the second home is, there’s a sense of ‘this is just fun and relaxing.’ ”
Caccoma, who has decorated her fair share of secondary residences, had worked with clients Liz Ann and Bob Meier on their house in Darien, and when they bought this four-bedroom home in Naples, Florida, she suggested going for a totally different look. Liz Ann has family in the area, and friends of the couple have also purchased homes in Naples. This—plus access to the water—drew Liz Ann, Bob and their two children south.
The family’s primary residence is an old, beautifully restored stone house in Darien, so with their Naples house, they had the chance to be a little more adventurous in the decor. They razed the 1970s ranch that stood on the property when they purchased it so they could begin with a clean slate, and built from the foundation up. “A lot of the exterior architecture was based on Bermudian design, and Liz Ann had a vision for everything she wanted,” says Caccoma. They used plantation shutters throughout for a clean, fresh look, and kept the floor plan very open. A bank of sliding doors all the way across the back exposure of the house opens up to the pool, patio and water beyond. The home also looks out on a dock where the family keeps their boat.
Since the location of the house lends itself to beachy, relaxed fabrics and colors, they chose a palette of fresh hues and materials like cotton, linen, and grasscloth, as well as jute and abaca rugs, to give the home a very causal, airy feel. Surprisingly though, given their easy, breezy look, most of the furnishings in the home were sourced from New York and shipped down the coast. “We did all of the decorating basically from their kitchen in Connecticut,” says Caccoma, who had all of her design meetings with her clients there, working off plans of the house. The designer praises her client’s good taste and says it was a very collaborative effort: Liz Ann found a few pieces, like the vintage bar stools at the kitchen counter, on her own and incorporated them into the design, while Caccoma introduced her to new materials and sources.
One thing Liz Ann was sure she wanted as part of the design was the dramatic artwork in the entryway. The piece is from a charity auction for the Meier children’s school in Darien: Artist Greg Lauren (a nephew of Ralph’s) used the children’s finger paint-type art to create the skirt that the woman in the piece is wearing. Liz Ann and Caccoma found the perfect spot for it in the foyer, where guests can see it as soon as they walk in the door. A neutral, textural Jonathan Adler Rug sits underneath.
To keep things in the rest of the spaces simple and easy, Caccoma kept the fabric on much of the furniture in the house fairly simple, but went bolder on the pillows. The white slipcovered chairs and sofa in the living/dining room are about as summery as you can get, and the orange family room pillows were made from a tablecloth from Roberta Roller Rabbit.
For the downstairs powder room off of the family room, also used as a pool bath, Liz Ann chose the striking teal color for the vanity, and used pecky cypress salvaged from the original house as paneling.
In the bedrooms, the summery, airy feel continues. The son’s room features a blue and white houndstooth headboard and orange faux bois pillows against taupe gray walls; and in the guest bedroom, Caccoma started with two fabrics that Liz Ann loved on the pillows, and built the rest of the room around them. A local decorative painter did a crosshatch pattern in peach on the walls, inspired by a wallpaper that Caccoma and Liz Ann liked. A Madeline Weinrib rug and an accent wall of millwork add a little more texture to the space.
Although they love the inside of the house, outdoor activities are also a major part of this active young family’s enjoyment of their Naples retreat. “When they go down there, it’s all about the pool and the water and the boat,” says Caccoma. And their place is never closed up for long periods of time. “They’re down there quite frequently. They really enjoy this house to its fullest,” she adds. When your getaway includes spending time with family and close friends in a gorgeous home with a water view, how could anyone stay away for long?
Interior Design, Allison Caccoma, Caccoma Interiors, San Francisco, CA, 415-678-5449, caccomainteriors.com
Architect, Falconer Jones, Falcon Design Consultants Inc., Naples, FL,
239-649-5056 or 239-777-0995, falcondesigninc.com
Builder, Paul Stanton, Seascape Builders, Naples, FL, 239-777-8477,
Project management, Linda Sonders, lindasonders.com
Contractor/builder, Kris Gomory, Renaissance Homes of Naples,