Naples couple customizes high-rise condo with creative design
A Naples couple customizes a Park Shore high-rise condo with creative design to entertain family and friends
Like many other Neapolitans, Roger and Hilda Dunekacke fell in love with Naples while seeking refuge here from the harsh Midwest winters. After traveling back and forth from Minneapolis for roughly 20 years, the Dunekackes began the search for a permanent home. The couple, who had spent many years leasing properties along Gulf Shore Boulevard, were charmed by a three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom condominium at Provence, a luxury high-rise development in the Park Shore neighborhood, located right on the beach. “We like our sunsets, and we like being able to turn the key and leave because we travel extensively,” Hilda says.
Among the features that attracted the Dunekackes are their home’s panoramic views of the bay, the Gulf, and Venetian Village. “We sometimes say that we live in the treetops because we’re surrounded by windows,” Hilda says. As for the interior, the couple decided on a complete overhaul to replace the traditional look and trimmings with a more modern, airy aesthetic. “We envisioned something much more contemporary, open— taking advantage of all the glass we have,” Roger says.
During the renovation, the Dunekackes, who together are partowners of the Enola Hills winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, focused on finding the most creative ways to store their large collection
of wine—a shared passion and a key component of their frequent at home entertaining.
“We have wine everywhere in this unit,” says Hilda with a laugh. “In the kitchen, we have two units under the counter. And one of the other unique places [where we store wine] is in our guest bedroom. Instead of buying a dresser, we had built-ins made. We put a wine unit on each end and then created a dresser in the middle of it. When you’re in a condo, it’s a little difficult, as opposed to being in a house where there’s a dedicated wine cellar.”
The couple also converted a traditional living room into an open-concept living space outfitted with a table and chairs, a spiral light fixture, and a creative design solution for wine storage: a custom-made, mirrored cabinet. To their shared surprise, the room has become a favorite spot to simply relax.
“We now sit [in that room] a lot because it has a great view of the sunset and the water,” Roger says. The renovation continued to the floors, countertops, and cabinets. “One of the very first things we did was select our floor,” says Roger, referring to the Calcutta gold marble that’s underfoot in every room except for the bedrooms, where the couple opted for walnut instead.
“As we’d come to find out, Calcutta gold is very hard to get,” he says, explaining that shipments sometimes arrived from Italy bearing imperfect product. “One ship would come in and the color wasn’t right, and the next ship would come in and the marble was broken.” Eventually, all the right pieces arrived, and the floors and countertops were complete.
With their coveted marble floors and countertops in place, the couple selected custom-made walnut cabinets and a wide array of sculptural lighting fixtures—unique pieces for every room of the home that add texture and interest to the space. “Lighting was one of the focal points,” says Hilda. “We tend to gravitate toward things that are different.”
The couple searched extensively—from Naples to Minnesota and even California—for fixtures that stood out, noting in particular the spiral-shaped chandelier that’s mounted above a table and chairs in the common sitting space. “We hadn’t seen anything like that anywhere,” Roger says.
What they do see, and welcome, is a constant flow of visitors, for everything from board games in the sitting room to sunset-watching on the lanai. “When we have people over, we hope that they come in and feel like they can kick their shoes off and just enjoy being here and enjoy the view,” says Hilda. “Life can be very solitary if you don’t enjoy it with the people you love, whether it’s family or friends.”
Solitary is something the Dunekackes are, most definitely, not. On the contrary, sharing wine and hosting wine dinners is what the couple loves most—a reason to gather friends together for good food (frequently homemade) and the wine they’ve learned so much about since buying into Enola Hills.
“For us, [wine is] more of a hobby,” Roger says. “We’re not professionals in the wine business by any means. We’ve just enjoyed good wine. We’ve enjoyed collecting over the years, and the opportunity with the winery has given us a lot of chances to learn about the wine industry from start to finish.”
For the Dunekackes’ friends and houseguests, that means frequent gatherings, from casual, fresh
salads and grilled fish on the lanai to more elaborate, multi-course meals around the table—always
accompanied by a complementary pour. One thing the gatherings are not? Stuffy. Earlier this year, the couple hosted an I Love Lucy-themed party, complete with salsa dancers, Cuban sandwiches from a local catering company, chocolate cigars, and a chocolate assembly line in homage to the show’s, famous candy factory episode. Then there was the stomping of 80 pounds of grapes in big tubs alongside their guests on the lanai.
“That’s part of who we are,” Hilda says of the couple’s natural affinity for merrymaking. “It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love. We had a beautiful wine dinner with wine pairings, and we consumed a lot of wine.”
“You know, wine is kind of the same as the house,” Roger adds. “It’s not very satisfying to look at the bottle sitting in the cooler. It’s more enjoyable to pour it in a glass and share it with some good
friends over a good dinner. It would probably never happen that you’d have dinner at our house without having wine with it.”
Then, as if on cue, Hilda says, “Do you want to come and drink some wine? We have plenty!” Perhaps it’s just good-natured teasing. More likely, it’s an invitation rooted in genuine warmth, much like the Dunekackes’ coastal home itself.