Our architectural photos are published in Gulfshore Life Magazine! Some of our images from Naples, Florida are featured below, along with the text from the article.
MODERN IN ROYAL HARBOR
Young Naples residents build their dream home on the water.
by ROBIN DEMATTIA
photography JOE CAPASSO
Tucked Among Mediterranean-style homes in the secluded Royal Harbor Neighborhood, just to the east of Naples Bay is a stark white modern house built by young Naples professionals Arlington (Who goes by AJ) and Natalie Zellers. “I’ve always liked the extremely ultramodern look,” says Natalie, a co-owner of Opus Studio Graphic Design. “I even wanted a black swimming pool, but everyone talked me out of that.” The couple married in 2009 and were living in Berk-shire Lakes without any thoughts of moving when AJ, dad, Royal Harbor resident Tim Zellers, learned the waterfront lot with a tear-down house on it was for sale. The ability to design a house from scratch appealed to them, although AJ admits he didn’t think it would happen so early in life. They turned to their friend Tommy Houchin, of Houchin Construction, as their only choice for a builder. A third-generation member of the family business, Houchin had not done residential building in the past. Houchin then brought along architect Albert Dambrose, owner of Studio A.D.
“I didn’t know how to build anything, and now I’ve learned so much,” says AJ, who is a manager at Tamiami Ford. “It helped that Tommy was our friend. He brought a lot of magazines, books and design ideas to the table.” As a young couple, the Zellerses knew they needed to build a house that was affordable for them. “We didn’t want a monstrosity or a house that nobody would want to buy in 10 years if we want to sell,” AJ explains. “That, one reason we didn’t make it two stories.” They also built the house 1 foot above code so they didn’t have to carry expensive flood insurance. Dambrose created one design and after three minor modifications the final concept was chosen. The 3,300-square-foot house has four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a two-car garage, a pool and a dock. Today, the interior of the home is done in whites and grays with accent colors brought in through pillows, artwork and bedding. “I like clean and simple,” Natalie explains. “If you get sick of a color, it, easy to change the accents.” Although they drew inspiration from multiple trips to Florida’s east coast and Miami to look through contemporary showrooms, most of their furniture is from Casa Italia in Miromar Design Center.
Kitchen cabinetry was done by Hyland Custom Cabinetry in Naples and features European hinges and soft-close drawers. Appliances are by Bosch, including an electric cook top, a double oven and a wine cooler, among others. Viewable from the kitchen, the living room has a dark basalt accent wall and special lighting effects on its ceiling. The arched entrance to the dining room has commercial-grade, modular, wave-patterned panels that create a cave-like effect. The master bath is one of the larger rooms, providing plenty of counter space surrounding double sinks. A freestanding plastic tub is nearby. Cost efficient designs were selected of those that were more expensive. For example, they wanted to tile the entire walk-in shower but budget dictated, instead, only a glass tile stripe for accent. All the ceilings are flat, with linear air-conditioning diffusers and sound system speakers within the dry-wall. The floors are porcelain tile and the countertops are Caeserstone. When it came time for decorating, Natalie designed each room on paper first, filling a binder with ideas. She purchased most of the artwork online, selecting pieces such as Romero Britto for their nursery. What they thought would take a year took only seven months, and everything they selected met or exceeded their expectations. “It was stressful, time-consuming and kept me up at night, but there were no major snags,” AJ says. “I would definitely build a house again.” Meanwhile, in Royal Harbor, neighbors seem to appre-ciate their modern work. Houchin even has a new client just down the street. “People stop by and praise it and ask us questions,” AJ says. AH
Architect: Studio A.D.
Builder: Houchin Construction
photography: Naples Photographer Joe Capasso