The Perry’s outdoor living space includes a pecky cypress roof over the seating area next to the pool. TIM GIBBONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

The Perry’s outdoor living space includes a pecky cypress roof over the seating area next to the pool. TIM GIBBONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

The Naples Garden Club celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023 by hosting its 70th house and garden tour on Saturday, Jan. 28. The tour by air conditioned motorcoach features stops at four homes in Old Naples and Aqualane Shores. Tickets go on sale to the public Nov. 14 and typically sell out in one day. Proceeds benefit the club’s charitable giving program.

“I think people like to see how other people live and how they decorate their house and how they design their yards,” said Sondra Quinn, co-chair of this year’s tour along with Raynelle Perkins. “They like visiting homes they’re not probably going to get invited to.”

The club has had challenges with the tour the past three years. Because of the pandemic, the 2021 tour was virtual and the 2022 tour was gardens only. Hurricane Ian impacted the 2023 tour, with one homeowner backing out due to storm damage at their property and the others working feverishly to restore their gardens.

“We are doing what we can to work with the homeowners and may bring in plants and flowers,” Ms. Quinn said. “All of these houses have fabulous artwork, so it will be interesting to focus on that this year. People are going to understand about the landscaping.”

A cozy, light-filled nook at the front of house is one of several seating areas for guests and a favorite spot for the Perrys to enjoy morning coffee.

A cozy, light-filled nook at the front of house is one of several seating areas for guests and a favorite spot for the Perrys to enjoy morning coffee.

Tour guests meet at Naples Botanical Garden where a welcome tent will have complementary lite bites, showcase photos of previous tours, and feature table displays reflecting floral and home décor trends representing each decade of the club’s 70-year history. Rufino Hernandez of Garden District has selected the themes, such as cherries for the 1950s, clean lines with geometric patterns for the 1960s, flower power for the 1970s, and Laura Ashley like florals for the 1980s. Buses will depart every two hours with approximately 1,000 guests taking the tour.

One of the houses was designed by the late architect Andrea Clark Brown. It features artwork by her husband, John Carroll Long, and a wall of orchids visible through the kitchen window.

The homeowners of another house have an extensive collection of artwork and memorabilia, including a 100-yearold pool table that has been passed down through the family and an Olympic torch.

A house that joined the tour in October as a replacement for one damaged by the hurricane is filled with French and Italian antiques inspired by the owner’s home in Tuscany.

The fourth house is owned by Marnette and Paul Perry, who are opening their British West Indies-inspired home in Aqualane Shores. They purchased the property in 2008 and used it seasonally until 2014 when they demolished the existing home and built their dream home during the next two years.

“When it came time to retire, we couldn’t improve on the location,” Ms. Perry said. “You can walk to Third Street, the beach and Cambier Park.”

The original home was actually a bit larger. They went from 7,500 square feet to 5,600 square feet but with an additional 2,000 square feet of outdoor living space centered around a pool and garden. The two-story home has four bedrooms, including a master suite on the first floor. This bedroom, the library/office, the living room and an expansive kitchen with dining and media areas all open to the outdoor living and dining rooms, kitchen and pool.

“I love the master suite design because it’s not just the typical bedroom,” Ms. Perry enthused. “The library was designed to be part of the master but the doors close so you can take business calls and isolate yourself in there.”

The Perrys worked with architect John Cooney, who won a Collier Building Industry Association “Best Design” Sand Dollar Award for the house, to implement their vision.

“If he’s going to build your house,” Ms. Perry said, “he sends you home with what I felt were 30 pages of homework. We had to write down everything we wanted in a house and then had to bring pictures. That’s why he got the job. Somebody wanted to know me that much.”

One photo that Ms. Perry presented was of a pecky cypress ceiling that Mr. Cooney incorporated into the roofs of both the outdoor living room and the library. “It feels like South Florida,” Ms. Perry said.

She also wanted all of her windows to look like doors, which is one reason why there are three sets of Mahogany doors at the front of the house. “I didn’t want anything to feel closed off,” she explained.

The kitchen has two quartzite islands, including one where guests can socialize while not disturbing the cook prepping at the other island.

The rest of the home was designed for entertaining, so small groups can gather in different seating areas. Behind a partial wall near the dining room, a beverage station with coffee maker, mini-refrigerators and wine room provides a cozy nook for refreshing beverages.

The interior design was by Lisa Ficarra and Molly Grup with Ficarra Design Associates, who also won a Sand Dollar Award for this home. Ms. Perry described the aesthetic as a combination of antiques, traditional classic Russian Impressionism art, transitional décor and contemporary art. She credits Judy Barie, director of galleries at the Chautauqua Institution in New York where the Perrys have a home, for suggesting this blend of styles with large fields of color and a focus on the artwork.

Ms. Perry also said that Ms. Ficarra and Ms. Grup encouraged her to consider a color palette she initially didn’t think she would like. “I had never used blue, because I always thought it was limiting,” she said. “But we have a lot of it and it feels so fresh. The coastal colors match the outdoors.”

Koby Kirwin designed the landscaping.

“Every single plant was chosen for a purpose,” Ms. Perry said. “Koby Kirwin has a philosophy of building privacy in a very natural setting.”

The centerpiece is a clusia hedge arch that grew for two years before the Perrys moved in.

Mr. Kirwin relocated an old Ligustrum tree that another client no longer wanted. “It’s absolutely gorgeous and sort of an old man watching over the property,” Ms. Perry said. “It’s like art, reflecting in the pool and the bedroom.”

Black bamboo sits outside one set of windows and feels like contemporary art to Ms. Perry.

When the house construction and landscaping were done, Ms. Perry said the couple wouldn’t have done anything differently. She said she hopes people on the house and garden tour appreciate the various styles of art arranged together and see how livable and inviting the house is for guests. ¦

In the KNOW

Naples Garden Club house and garden tour

Saturday, January 28 with tours at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

$150 general admission tickets go on sale Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.


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