Recently selected as Home & Design Magazine’s, 2017 Signature Home, the estate’s design was inspired by the historic architecture of France, resulting in one of Naples’ original Gulf Shore Boulevard mansions’ transformation into a resplendent French chateau.
Located at 725 Gulf Shore Boulevard South, Naples’ most prestigious street and nestled beneath a lush canopy of masterful oaks, it is clear why a reinvention of this scale warranted a stringent and uncompromising level of workmanship and design in order to bring this stately manor into contemporary life.
The romantic triple arched entrance opens into a soaring great room with views of both libraries, dining and large family entertainment areas. Unique wide plank wood floors set the tone of comfort and style while grand moldings add an exquisite opulence. An award-winning designer kitchen, butler’s wine pantry and gourmet grill on the screened veranda set the stage for flawless entertaining, and an abundance of thoughtful features such and two master suites both upstairs and down, his and her libraries, en-suite guest rooms, a sunset balcony, and a chic and expansive new pool and spa make this elegant “Chateau de Mer” a rare jewel amidst the conventional.
ABOUT THE DESIGN TEAM
In the early 1980s, Lillian August, a talented interior designer and busy mother of three, launched a business selling crafts and patchwork quilts. She showed her line at New York’s annual bed and bath industry show, piquing the interest of Imperial Wallcoverings, which hired her to design a wallpaper line with an American Country look.
It was a huge hit, and the first of Lillian’s many entrepreneurial ventures, which have included numerous fabric and furniture lines for companies like Drexel Heritage and Hickory White.
After moving to New York in 1985 to build on her successful home textiles and wall coverings business, Lillian began a search for her first retail location. Lillian’s sons Dan and John Weiss were so inspired by their mother’s early success and abilities that they pursued the idea of starting a home furnishings, accessories, and textile retail store. Together, they opened their first storefront in Westport, Connecticut, in 1987 as a family venture.
“We all did a bit of everything,” says Lillian, recalling her early years in retail. Lillian’s son Michael also joined for several years, and helped design the company’s first signature furniture collection.
Since then, under the retail leadership of Dan & John Weiss, Lillian August has developed a global reputation as a trend setting resource for designers, homeowners and design enthusiasts. With a broad and eclectic collection of furniture, rugs, antiques and accessories, Lillian August now provides clients with inspiration and design services in many locations—the Norwalk Design Center and headquarters, South Norwalk Outlet, Greenwich and New York City stores.
Operating in the tradition of European design families, the brothers take pride in creating distinctive furnishings and discovering unique sources and one-of-a-kind pieces from all over the world.
In 2003, Lillian August opened their 100,000 sq ft. flagship design center in Norwalk. The store features hundreds of brands, as well as The Lillian August Signature Collection. In October 2008, Lillian introduced a new collection for Hickory White, which debuted in her Connecticut stores at the end of that year and at select dealers throughout the United States in early 2009.
“Our collection with Hickory White allowed us to spread our wings into new and exciting looks,” says Lillian. “By collaborating with my sons and our talented design team, we have been able for the first time to replicate our fabulous Connecticut showrooms for dealers throughout the world.”
In 2007, Kristen Williams founded Williams Properties, LLC as a design partnership specializing in creating upscale single-family homes, estates, and condominiums throughout the U.S.
She received her B.S. in Finance from Notre Dame University and eventually went on to successful banking careers at Bank of Boston, Meryl Lynch and Fleet, culminating in her establishing a full service trust and investment unit for Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank in 2007.
Since relocating to Naples, Kristen has built a prolific presence and taken the Old Naples market by storm, infusing the area with fresh, fun and relevant designs executed within varying budgets.
Kristen Williams manages, with her well honed design sensibility, creativity and unrivaled talent, to truly identify with an area in order to create a product that is an organic addition to the character and landscape of a community with an undeniable allure to her citizens.
Recognized as the catalyst for the Cottage Renaissance of Old Naples, Kristen's projects, ranging from extensively and meticulously renovated historic residences to new construction development, have been featured in a myriad of publications and have each expertly achieved the oft imitated, but never duplicated balance of fusing the nostalgia of vintage architecture with modern relevant design.
“My hope is always to bring great design back to life” says Kristen. And with an ethos driven by the pursuit of perfection and intrinsic abilities to create and curate, it comes as no surprise that she has captivated Old Naples by returning the design aesthetic to the charm of Old Florida, with all the conveniences of modern luxury.