“It’s almost like living on the roof of the world,” remarks Bonnie Woodward of the penthouse she shares with her husband Craig at the South Beach condominium on Marco Island. “There are balconies on almost all sides with wrap-around views in every direction.”
Floor-to-ceiling windows complete the illusion of living in the air, with hurricane shutters that close at the touch of a button. The elevator opens on an entry hall with an antique secretary desk, which Craig purchased from the estate of a client. He practices law on the island, following in the steps of his father, who was Marco’s first lawyer.
Craig remembers the daily trip to school before Marco had its own: “I had a long bus ride every day after grade school, using the swing bridge at Goodland.”
Bonnie is from North Dakota and came here when her father, a developer, decided to work on the island. He built the first condominium on the south end of Marco.
Craig and Bonnie have three daughters and two granddaughters, and nowadays divide their time between Marco and a second home in Everglades City. Since they were visited for a home profile shortly after their home was completed, the couple have continued to personalize their rooms with a views.
“We stay home a lot more now,” admits Bonnie, but their collections from Asia, Europe and the Caribbean are in evidence everywhere, as is their love for art.The foyer at South Beach sets the tone for the entire home, with vibrant jewel-tone colors and floors of polished Brazilian amendoim wood, which has a honey tone with long, barely undulating streaks. A Chinese silkscreen above the secretary is a souvenir of the couple’s traveling days.
To the right of the entry hall is the living room with soft faux gold walls and an adjoining den — originally a balcony that the couple enclosed for more space. The den features a large and winsome jade tiger they found in China and shipped home.
The living room echoes this theme with a Chinese silk rug in black, coral and teal. In a niche stands a small steamer trunk that belonged to Bonnie’s great-grandfather. To one side is a gleaming black grand piano and there’s a low bronze and glass table, with sofas in shades of gold. Carved wooden chairs are upholstered in an abstract floral pattern of red, gold, teal and navy, echoed in toss pillows of burgundy with stripes of navy, red and cream.
This matches the cornices above the tall windows with red silk draperies. Bonnie’s only professional decorating help with the creation of silk draperies. Otherwise, she did it all, with remarkable results. As in several rooms, there is display space, either in niches or cherry wood cabinets, for heirlooms, photos and other collectibles. Everywhere, accent lighting and spots provide soft illumination.
The stripe from the living room pillows is repeated in the stools around the nearby high bar, surmounted by an enormous copper hood, which was a problem to hang.
“The building is pre-stressed concrete,” points out Craig, “so you can’t just drill holes when you want to. You have to call in the experts with x-rays so that you don’t hit plumbing or electric lines. We removed a short wall in the entry, and then had to design two faux marble pillars to disguise pipes and wires.”
Tucked away behind the bar is the cherry-wood kitchen — Bonnie’s pride and joy, because she’s an enthusiastic cook. Here are side-by-side Sub-Zero freezer and refrigerator units, two convection ovens and a microwave. Maximum use of space allows an expansive cooking area with a wall niche for spice cabinets.
Beyond the bar is the glass-topped dining room table which seats eight, with chairs in a dark blue paisley fabric. Lighted glass cabinets near the high bar to house their favorite china.
Around the corner, Craig turned a closet into a butler’s pantry and wine cooler, complete with trellis and grapevines overhead. Bonnie faux-painted the walls in red and copper. Another bar is near here, in the space that formerly belonged to the master bath. It allows access from all balconies; a portable bar in the garage comes up for extra-large parties.
One bedroom was divided to make a game room, complete with chess table of Australian leather and alabaster pieces, which doubles as a small dining table. The other half became a home office; Bonnie is still active in real estate. The large guest room has solid mustard walls which showcase a cherry spool bed with a richly embroidered spread of gold, rust and navy — accent pillows are in lighter shades of these same colors. The master bedroom has walls in two-toned olive set off by white woodwork; the embroidered bedspread is olive, red and gold. Accent pillows pick up the hues. A large piece resembling an ancient armoire houses television and music equipment. Extra roomy walk-in closets are enviably oversized.
The adjoining marble-floored bathroom is done in honey onyx with under-counter lighting which glows through. Walls are gold as are the silk draperies, with cabinets finished in ginger.
Even the ceilings of the Woodward home are designed with care. They’re Venetian plaster — plaster blended with chips of color and troweled on, then dried, sanded and polished it to a sheen.
The balconies take on a personality of their own with various seating arrangements and décor. One area shows off an Italian table in enameled shades of vivid yellow-gold and blue, with a nearby matching fountain. Another seating area has a table in rosy mosaic tiles, still another in deep red filigree tiles with open spaces. One attention spot of the balconies is the outside wet bar, converted from an original bathtub.
This home was designed for gracious entertaining.
“And that’s exactly the way we wanted it,” concludes Craig.
* Location: South Beach, Marco Island
* Built: 2004; architect, J. D. Allen; developer, D. Garrett; builder, Dale Glon
* Size: 3,600 square feet; 2 bedrooms and an office, 3 baths