Andrea Stetson, Special to Fort Myers News-Press
Michele and Kent Stahl found a hidden gem, and it’s one of the last ones left in the upscale community. Now they are building their dream house on the land that they call precious. There are only a few lots left in Audubon Country Club, an established community that began in North Naples more than 30 years ago. So when the final street there opened for sales, the Stahls bought what they say is the best lot. “It is a pie shaped lot so it goes from narrow at the street to really wide at the lake so we could build long,” Michele Stahl described.
“What’s unique about this is it is such a big lot we could fit all this on a single story,” added builder Frank Jenkins. “Most homes this size typically you would have to go up.”
The architect was able to take advantage of the lot shape and views and design the home so that four of the five bedrooms and the great room face the lake.
“It is an amazing lot on the end of a cul-de-sac,” Jenkins said. “We got with RG Design to come up with a very unique design to take full advantage of that beautiful lake view. He did an amazing job capturing the lake view.”
The Stahls sent photos to Jenkins and to interior designer Arlynn McDaniel, of Freestyle Interiors, of a place east of Sarasota called Steamsong.
“They use walnut and it has a Scandinavian feel and that is the look we are going for,” Stahl explained. “We decided to go with more of a Scandinavian minimalistic look,” McDaniel explained. “Clean lines, but still have that comfort level that you want to just crash on the sofa. We are using white and darker taupes to accent and black accents. We are using a lot of natural materials; a lot of natural walnut to offset the severity of the darker taupe giving it that level of warmth. It will be a little different than what we have seen in the past.”
The couple currently live in a place called the Cliff’s in Asheville, North Carolina and wanted a totally different look, but with the same comfortable feel, for their Florida home.
“We wanted it to feel like a shore home, but not have the typical home right on the beach feel,” Stahl explained. “We want it to be a little beachy elegant. Our house here in Ashville is mountain elegant. It has a little bit different look than everyone else has. Hopefully, it will feel like a beach home, but feel a little more interesting. We don’t want it to look like your typical cookie cutter home that you see everywhere. We want it to have a comfortable homey feel. We want it to have water views everywhere.”
While water views are the big focal point, Stahl said there are other wow factors.
“I think that we have a couple of great focal points,” she said. “We will have some pretty spectacular fireplaces, especially in the great room, with tile and walnut surrounding it. It’s the high ceilings, the organic feel of the house and the colors we are using, and hopefully well-chosen light fixtures.” The furniture will also have a Scandinavian look.
“It is going to be very simple, not a lot of detail, warmer wood, simple upholstery, more textures as opposed to color,” McDaniel described. “There is not a lot of color in this house, but we will be accenting with some blues to go along with taupes. It’s a simple minimalistic design. It’s been a fun project, something different.”
The five bedroom, six full and one half bathroom home spans 6,262 square feet under air and a total of 9,740 square feet. The home also features an elevated theater room, private study and a fitness room. Jenkins is excited to have the opportunity to build such a unique house on a special lot. He said the design is special from the moment you see the exterior.
“There are two split three car garages that flank the front entry so it makes for a really beautiful front elevation,” he described. “There is the openness of the floorplan with the really large kitchen, with a butler’s pantry behind the kitchen. It is basically a whole other kitchen with a butler’s pantry with a sub 0 refrigerator, dishwasher and all separate from the kitchen.”
Jenkins likes the movie room that has seating set on a slanted floor to allow better viewing from all rows. Outside Jenkins points to plans for an infinity edge pool, a separate fire pit area and an under roof section for the outdoor sitting, dining and kitchen area that spans 1,608 square feet.
Stahl said everything is coming along just as she dreamed. The home is expected to be complete in late 2022.
“Frank is such a responsible builder,” Stahl said. “He is so responsive. He has been great to work with.” While Audubon is an older community, Warwick Way, where the Stahl’s are building their custom home, is not. There was an eagle nest and it held up building in that neighborhood for 10 years. It wasn’t until many years after the eagle left, that building could begin. So unlike many of the other streets that have the older Mediterranean look, Warwick Way is more modern.
“In that neighborhood every single one of them got a little more of a contemporary vibe,” Stahl said. Warwick Way will have 10 estate homes when complete. The last three lots on that street now have homes under construction, so by the time the Stahls move in there should be no more building on that street.
“It is one of the last homes,” Stahl said. “There is not much land left.”
Perched on 795 Acres, with half as a preserve, Audubon will have 401 front doors at buildout. The community was recently honored by Golf Inc. magazine with a 2021 Golden Fork award. In summer 2020, Audubon Country Club unveiled its new 19,000-square-foot Lifestyle Center. The two-story building has new casual indoor/outdoor dining, and expanded fitness center and tennis.
“It is kind of like that little hidden gem area,” McDaniel concluded. “It has been around for a long time. There are just a couple of lots left.”