Like many other people all over the world, Lee and Susan Baierl made some life-altering decisions during the pandemic. Luckily, theirs was for the better. As shut-downs and shelter-in-place orders became the norm, the Naples couple decided they wanted out of their gated community in lieu of an address closer to the beach. Existing residences with their requirements proved hard to come by, but after finding a prime lot just off Gulf Shore Drive with a partly built structure, the two opted to start their new seaside chapter with a new build. And after construction of said 7,000-square-foot residence near Vanderbilt Beach was completed, they turned to designer Judith Liegeois to help them create the tranquil retreat they had envisioned.
“I needed someone who understood how to create a zen home,” says Susan, who had entrusted Liegeois with her previous abode. “To me, that means a balance of harmony and relaxation… I didn’t want too many patterns or heavy furniture. We chose Judith because she’s easy to work with. She takes her time, thinks things through, and really listens to our needs.”
The Baierls’ musts were multiple. As they travel often with their 15-year-old son who competes in tennis internationally, they insisted on a comfortable retreat, but one with enough space for entertaining the many friends and Pittsburgh-based family members that are regulars at their annual Christmas party.
As Liegeois began to scour the furniture and art to tell her interior story, she kept Susan’s zen directive front of mind, and one name kept popping up: Ran Adler. The Gulf Coast artist is well-known for his organic installations and spiritual perspective. The designer, who’s worked with Adler before, knew his aesthetic would be exactly what the Baierls were looking for, and she was right.
“When Judith showed me an art installation from Ran representing soaring birds, it ticked all the boxes,” says Susan. That particular installation (made from acacia thorns), as well as other works by Adler, soon found their way to the home.
In terms of palette, Liegeois knew the art collecting couple would welcome color, but because the west-facing residence receives such intense light throughout the day, the designer dialed back the hues to keep the tone of the home calm and neutral. Color does make an appearance, albeit in more subdued ways via pillows, lighting, a furniture piece or two, and various accessories.
“When you come into the home, it’s welcoming and subdued,” says Liegeois. “There’s a piece made from horsetails by Ran in the foyer that gives a sense of peace, and then as you climb the stairs there’s plenty of color, which adds an element of fun. It’s a good balance.”
All in all, the home’s customization took a little more than a year to complete, largely because design selections were made before supply chain issues became a problem. And because the work was done during the slow days of the pandemic, the Baierls were there every step of the way ensuring their wishes were fulfilled.
“No matter where we go or stay, no place is more comfortable than this home Judith has helped us create,” says Susan. “No other place on Earth feels this good.”
Interior Design by Judith Liegeois, Judith Liegeois Designs, Naples, FL
Text by Paige Bowers
Photography by Troy Campbell, Miami, FL
Foyer & Alcove
Sculpture – Tree of Life, Ed Koehler Naples, FL
Wall art – Iron Air, Leland Brinkman, Naples, FL
Flying birds – Swarm of Thorns, Ran Adler, Naples, FL
Console – Creative Metal and Wood, Thomasville, NC
Woman sculpture – Mod Lady, John Serrian,Cape Coral, FL
Ginkgo chair – Ed Koehler, Naples, FL
Wall abstract – Custom Currents, Ran Adler,Naples, FL
Artwork on wall – DL Watson, dlwatson.com
Area rug – Auskin, New Zealand
Sofa – Corragio, Bellevue, WA
Pillows – Rubelli Fabric, Designer’s Guild, designersguild.com
Club chair – Kravet Furniture, kravet.com
Cocktail ottoman designed by Judith Liegeois Designs, Naples, FL, and fabricated by Michael Schmidt Custom Interiors & Woodworkers, Naples, FL
White love seat – Crosby, Hutton Home, Miami, FL
Round pillow – Designer’s Guild, designersguild.com
Ottoman – Arteriors, arteriorshome.com
Drink table – Arteriors, arteriorshome.com
Sconce – Currey & Company, Atlanta, GA
Blue wall art – Leland Brinkman, Naples, FL
Stools – Casa Italia Naples, Naples, FL
Chandelier – Currey & Company, Atlanta, GA
Chairs – Corragio, Bellevue, WA
Bench – Rubelli Fabric, Kravet, kravet.com
Branch lighting designed by Judith Liegeois Designs, Naples, FL, and fabricated by Christopher Poehlmann, Philadelphia, PA
Pendant lighting – Aqua Gallery, aquagallery.com
Sofa – Owner’s collection
Round pillow – Evelyn Prelonge, France
Green pillows – Kevin O’ Brien Studio, Philadelphia, PA
Face pillow – Designers’ Guild, designersguild.com
Cocktail table and ottomans – Kravet Furniture, kravet.com
Artwork – Fragments, DL Watson, dlwatson.com
Builder – Damon Custom Structures, Naples, FL
Furnishings and art – Judith Liegeois Designs, Naples, FL