AN ARTFUL DESIGN
In this stunning Gulf Coast Penthouse, Architect and Designer Suzanne Lovell blends art and design to create a storyline for her clients that speaks volumes.
It has been said that Suzanne Lovell, an internationally recognized, high-end residential interior designer for 25 years, practices at that intersection between architecture and interiors, design and fine art. A trained architect and designer comfortable with contemporary or traditional points of view, she embodies a sensibility which encompasses fine art as an integral part of design. Lovell is just as happy attending Art Basel as she is finding ways to knock down walls.
To create this spectacular, 8,500-square-foot Gulf Coast penthouse in Naples, Fla., Lovell and her design team began at that intersection. Wearing her architectural hat, and with a dark pencil, the designer drew out the lines that would capture wide Gulf views for public and many private spaces… and then she drew an “X” through any walls that got in the way. Lovell created a “wooden box” into which the back of the kitchen would be nestled and more pedestrian functions housed. The flow from room to room is enhanced by extraordinary custom, polished terrazzo mosaic flooring and by the warm lines of cerused oak. And then there is the art.
“These are clients whom I have known for many years,” Lovell says. “This is our third residence together… and we have a wonderful, reciprocal understanding.” The designer was familiar with and even helped the couple to amass a collection of fine art, ranging from Impressionist painting to Modern photography. “Because art is such a vital part of telling the story of who you are, I have had a fine arts specialist on my staff for over 10 years,” she says. “Together, we research art for our clients and make visits to major art exhibitions each year to assist them with their selections.”
Organizing her clients’ impressive museum-caliber collection that includes works from Joan Miró, Toulouse-Lautrec, Alexander Calder and other renowned artists, Lovell began in the foyer with Miró, one of the owners’ favorites. The primary colors in the painting appear innocently playful above the Ming-style console in ivory cashew lacquer; while underneath, Marc Bankowsky’s “Pieds de Bouc” stools in Mongolian lamb fur, lend a whimsical touch. A cerused oak-slatted ceiling with cached light forms the “wooden box” interior perimeter and a structural support column appears softer when covered in suede-leather panels.
The great room expands in luxury when guided by undulating lines of yellow, gray and black grounded by polished onyx floors. A sofa wrapped in ivory cotton by Robert Crowder and four club chairs, group neatly around a bespoke travertine and glass cocktail table. Designed by Lovell, the table features shallow recessed bowls that contain the owners’ beloved collection of seashells. Ottomans clad in Tiger Bouclé by Le Manach and John Boone’s crackled-ivory lacquered side table offer a hint of the exotic, as do a pairing of antique chairs designed by Carlo Bugatti.
Cached behind the great room, the kitchen is a functional jewel custom-designed by De Giulio Kitchen Design. It features counters topped in quartzite and cabinetry created with glass, stainless steel and wood. Artist Jeff Koons’ “Split Rocker Vase” crowns the island bar, where counter stools tuck seamlessly beneath it and elegant pendants twinkle above like upended chalices.
The designer continues to showcase the owners’ fine art collection with a mixed media work by artist Jason Middlebrook that hangs above the bar near the dining area. Here, perched upon its own medallion amid an expanse of Venetian terrazzo-patterned flooring, rests a bleached-oak dining table inset with bronze butterflies that match the brass base. Elegant Romanesque chairs from Michael Taylor Design surround the table poised beneath a curving vine chandelier custom created by artist Jeff Zimmerman.
Lovell loved assisting her clients in finding new works and furnishings to fit their Naples residence. “Just as I hope to choose design pieces that showcase the creator at the very top of their talents, I carry the same philosophy with the artwork that adorns these spaces,” she says. “Whether in antiques or fine art, the best is worth it.”
Interior Design and Architecture: Suzanne Lovell, Suzanne Lovell, Inc.
Builder: Randy Kurtz, Kurtz Homes Naples
Text: Marina Brown
Photography: Max Kim-Bee, New York, NY