Barefoot Beach has long been acknowledged not only as one of Southwest Florida’s most preferred beachfront communities, but also as one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. For those who crave the azure waters of the Gulf, sub-tropical breezes with a hint of salt, and picture postcard sunsets, there are few places in the world better than this exquisite stretch of sugar white sand on Little Hickory Island in the northernmost vestiges of Collier County.

The magnetic appeal of the Barefoot Beach lifestyle was irresistible for a couple from Pittsburg who eschewed the fairway views of their Southwest Florida golf community and purchased a 23-year old penthouse condominium on the beach. The 3,500 square feet, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath residence was built in 1991. The owners’ first order of business was to completely update the residence and transform it into a grand penthouse overlooking their beloved Gulf. To design and execute the transformation, the couple retained Vogue Interiors’ Leslie Gebert, Allied Member, ASID.

“As is often the case with older beachfront residences, this was a very challenging remodeling project,” said Gebert. “While the existing architectural style certainly reflected the state-of-the art designs from over 20 years ago, it did not provide the flowing, open ambiance that today’s homebuyers prefer. Our challenge was to open the space up without making structural changes or raising the ceiling height, to make the home wheelchair accessible, and to make it lighter and brighter. By working with Kathy Guyitt of Golden Remodeling, Inc., we were able to remove the non-structural columns that defined the entry to a screened lanai, enclose the lanai space, and incorporate it into the home’s living area. Having that additional space allowed us to expand the useable square footage of the interior and to repurpose other areas of the original floor plan.”

The impact of Gebert’s fresh, transitional design is apparent immediately upon entry to the home’s foyer that features a stunning coffered ceiling detail finished in a combination of pearlized soft cream, brown, and bronze tones. From the foyer, the eye is drawn across an elegantly furnished great room to a wall of floor to ceiling windows that provide a spectacular Gulf view. An engaging color palette includes neutral tones mixed with brown, gold and espresso tones mixed with pops of mirrored and metallic finishes. The original porcelain tile flooring has been replaced by a medium warm brown bamboo set on the diagonal to expand the space. That look conveys a casual elegance with numerous reflective surfaces that are in keeping with current design styles.

In keeping with the owners’ penchant for entertaining, Gebert completely renovated the home’s kitchen and island bar. Working around the building’s structural columns, she redesigned the island and perimeter work areas to incorporate light caramel toned cabinetry with chocolate glazing, Persa Gold granite countertops, and a cooktop with a glass surface, a microwave drawer, double oven, and side-by-side refrigerator-freezer. A farmer’s sink centered on the expansive island offers a captivating view of the Gulf. Four barstools line the island and encourage guests to share lighthearted interactions with the home’s host and hostess. Vertical structural beams on either end of the island have been encased to provide an elegant framed view of the kitchen. To satisfy the owners’ penchant for outdoor cooking, Gebert has included a Jenn-Air counter-mounted grill. The beautifully finished kitchen space includes a coffered ceiling detail with crown molding.

A long buffet framed by custom designed bookcases provides a transitional element between the kitchen and a reading area that previously functioned as a dining space. The new reading area includes an oversized chair and ottoman in a soft cream and golden taupe nubby woven fabric.

Gebert totally transformed the home’s great room by introducing new furnishings, a contemporary biofuel fireplace, a dry bar with a wine chiller and overhead wine racks, and an entertainment wall with a mica wall covering. The completely open space now has a panoramic water view and features a sofa in a soft, creamy herringbone pattern with metallic calf-skin decorative pillows. A reflective sofa table provides an appealing accent. Metallic leather recliners face an entertainment wall that includes a recessed area that hosts a large television, the fireplace, and the mica wall treatment. A large dark espresso cocktail table centers the space. The table includes spaces for storing bolsters that provide additional seating, as well as shelves for reading materials. The dry bar is finished with espresso-toned cabinetry that includes seeded glass fronts with an x-mullion detail. The great room’s area rug includes a high/low leaf pattern and the brown and taupe tones that served as the inspiration for the overall interior design.

Gebert and Golden Remodeling, Inc. undertook three engineering studies to gain the necessary approvals to remove the non-structural columns that defined the home’s original lanai and to incorporate the former lanai space in the new interior. Gebert used the additional air conditioned square footage to create an area with side by side chaises in front of a tall slider overlooking the Gulf and a formal dining area that offers a spectacular western view. The dining area includes a long table with espresso, saddle stitched, u-shaped pedestals and espresso framed chairs with a light cream metallic vinyl fabric. The vinyl fabric is especially useful when the owners are entertaining their young grandchildren. The dining table has been designed with hinges that allow the table space to be expanded or contracted as needed.

An elegant double French door opens to a master suite and study that offer a spectacular Gulf view. The study continues the bamboo flooring found in the living areas and includes a decorative desk with iron edge details. A commercial credenza, a chair from the home’s original interior design, and a leather recliner that offers a comfortable place for reading or taking in the view contribute to the study’s engaging ambiance.

The master bedroom has a more formal feeling and includes a palette that breaks away from the neutrals found elsewhere in the home and incorporates the blue tones of the Gulf, soft golds, espresso finishes, and silk plaid fabrics with gold accents. A custom designed soft beige velvet headboard plays against night stands with espresso frames and antiqued mirror fronts. A custom media cabinet houses components that serve both the great room and the master bedroom and features a mix of espresso and fruitwood finishes.

The new master bath reflects what is arguably the most dramatic transformation effected by Gebert’s new design. The relatively small space now includes light caramel toned cabinetry with chocolate glazing, glass and stone tile framed mirrors, his and her sinks, a fully enclosed steam shower, and an enlarged water closet with wheelchair access. The room’s Travertine flooring includes glass and stone tile accents that are carried into a Listello in the roll-in shower. The shower includes a glass enclosure and a Colonial Gold granite bench seat.

Gebert has also brought her unique sense of style into the home’s powder room. A bronze glass vessel sink, bronze plumbing fixtures, a decorative glass vanity cabinet with a granite top, and a diminutive storage chest with a decorative metallic front combine to create a look that offers astonishing visual appeal in a relatively small space.

Founded in 1979, Vogue Interiors has earned numerous national, regional and local awards, including three consecutive Aurora Awards, the highest award presented by the 12-state Southeast Builders Conference. From corporate offices at 24520 Production Circle in Bonita Springs, Florida, Vogue Interiors provides design services and model merchandising to residential and commercial clients in the United States and abroad. Visit Vogue Interiors online at vogueinteriors.com.