Cover The De Gournay wallpaper in the kitchen sets the tone for the home’s tropical theme

Summer Thornton wields her signature sunny style to create a delightful holiday home in Florida

Just in time for the balmy summer season, Chicago-based interior designer Summer Thornton and her team imbued this holiday home in Florida with cheerful touches that invigorate its classic bones. “My personal style starts with a mood and a sense of place,” she says. “I really love a project with a strong vision and sense of story.”

This abode’s narrative channels a comfortable yet convivial holiday, best enjoyed under the sun’s warm embrace. “When people step into this home, I want them to feel like they’ve arrived somewhere tropical, like they’re on vacation! I want people to feel like they’re in a dreamy, warm and happy place,” says Thornton.

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“There are many pastel-hued homes that dot the older part of Naples; these were built in the forties as vacation cottages. We took this spirit and introduced fresh citrus colours to the palette. We also brought in some vintage pieces reminiscent of that era to add a little history to the property,” Thornton explains.

The outdoor furnishings feature warm hues, with shades of brown, khaki, yellow and amber intermingling to create a summery scene that is as inviting for guests as it is for the family. “Naples is a vacation town, so we went for a truly dreamy holiday vibe with hints of old Florida,” says the designer. And true enough, each piece adds a degree of nostalgia to the property, one that is reminiscent of Naples during its heyday 80 years ago.

We took this spirit and introduced fresh citrus colours to the palette. We also brought in some vintage pieces reminiscent of that era to add a little history to the property.
Interior designer Summer Thornton

The rest of the interior is as lively as its exterior. Thornton, who has used De Gournay wallpaper throughout the property, cites the pearlescent, fish-patterned wallcovering in the foyer as an example. “I have long thought this De Gournay wallpaper was magical and transportive! I knew it would be the perfect arrival statement for the house,” she says. 

The koi wallpaper is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to elements borrowed from nature. In this house, such nuances are present in almost every nook and cranny. In the dining area, an artwork depicting tropical birds is a colourful focal point. 

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The six-bedroom residence boasts open-plan living rooms, plus a lovely patio and pool area. A wood-furnished home office doubles as a library, while a generous kitchen provides much-needed space for entertaining guests. All these areas are bathed in sunlight throughout the day, which only serves to complement the colour scheme of the abode. 

The foyer, which leads to a majestic wooden table, houses many distinctive elements within its walls. The wooden seats, majestic lighting, and intricate floor detailing are all statement pieces in themselves, yet each comes together to create a harmonious tableau that is elegant and modern.

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In the master bedroom, a touch of elegance is communicated by a well-crafted wooden wardrobe decorated with vines and blooms. The peach bedlinen and headboard are beautiful finishing touches that add depth to the wallpaper, which features white birds and fruit trees. The guest bedroom has been furnished in the same whimsical style, with botanical motifs on the curtains complementing the green striped wallpaper.

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As with any dream home, this villa has been infused with much personality. “Our approach was adding character to the spaces. In everything we did, we kept that in mind,” says Thornton. “There wasn’t much history to this home; it was a new build and it lacked much architectural interest. We took out the bland millwork and stone details, and added custom stonework with some (existing) age to it (as well as) unpainted wood.”

In doing this, Thornton and her team have created a unique enclave—perfect for the family and their guests to enjoy. “For me, it’s all about creating that fantasy and transporting someone to a different place in time,” she smiles.

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