Even when interior designer tara bates and her realtor husband, James, renovated historic properties in his native England, they wanted the interiors to be contemporary. So, when they moved to Naples, Fla., in 2006 and bought this 1958-era house, they decided to raze the entire home and build a brand new contemporary residence. “I wanted clean lines and materials that play off of each other,” Bates says. The couple commissioned Gerald Yurk, an architect with a passion for fine design and expertise in construction and technology, to design their 5,329-square-foot home located in historic Old Naples. “Tara and James have a European mentality and are tuned in to good design,” Yurk says. “They wanted an open plan clean and crisp with an observation deck to view the Gulf of Mexico.” To reach the rooftop deck, Bates custom-designed a sculptural, exterior winding stairway that resembles a work of art.
To soften the look of the home’s square, white front facade, the designer created large top and bottom planters and filled them with tropical bougainvillea. “This is done more in Europe it’s not known as much here,” she says. Inside, Bates selected a neutral color scheme of platinum, white, brown, and gray, with textiles in crocodile prints and sharkskin. A mix of American Tigerwood flooring bordered by brushed, porcelain platinum tile flows throughout the interiors. A love for mid-century modern furniture is evident in the spare white foyer, where a 1960s cherry wood mirror with tile inlay and a matching two-drawer shelf underneath reflects the couple’s taste.
The foyer leads to a great room with dramatic 22-foot-high ceilings. “I didn’t want a lot of little rooms the house had to flow,” the designer says. In the room’s elegant sitting area, the couple frequently entertains friends from Naples and guests from the UK. Matching sofas crafted in England are upholstered in a crocodile pattern from Kravet. Along with platinum-hued, leather chairs from Clive Daniel Home, they form a sophisticated conversation grouping around a Lucite and glass cocktail table from Pace, circa the 1970s. On view through the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows is a 50-foot-long lap pool, where Bates, an avid swimmer, likes to spend time. “The pool follows clean lines and has an elegant look,” she says.
Designed to entertain and highlight garden views, the open dining area features a mid-century modern table and chairs created by designer Milo Baugham, a pioneer of modern design. Crafted with wood and steel, the table is lined with six “Beautymark Shale” chairs and a pair clad in a platinum “Edgy Shark” tone, all from Kravet. Just steps away, the stunning European-style kitchen is sleek with glossy white wood cabinetry. The thick, three-and-one-half-inch molded Corian countertop draws the eye to a center island bar that is wrapped in wenge wood. Platinum porcelain tiles from Design Works ground the space in style.
As if part of the garden, the master suite enjoys a view of the tropical foliage through sliding glass doors that lead to a private terrace. Above a wenge wood bed that appears to float, a platinum-hued wall is adorned with a colorful canvas that echoes bright outdoor shades. Mere steps to the open master bath vestibule, a free-form oval tub provides a tranquil place to unwind from the day. A labor of love that exceeded their expectations, the home has everything that the couple wanted and more. “Now that James and I are living here, there is no other place we’d rather be,” the designer says.