While walking around the shopping and dining complex of Mercato in North Naples one evening in the fall of 2021, Heather Greenwald chanced upon a fine art photography exhibit with a seemingly anomalous title: “Florida Cowboys.”
With her interest piqued, she waltzed into the space and found herself surrounded by a stunning series of vivid portraits—some in color and some in black and white—taken at the Half Circle L Ranch in Immokalee. She met the artist, Michelle Tricca, that night and learned that the American cowboy has a deeply rooted history in Florida.
It was a fortuitous find for Greenwald. Two years prior, she and husband Steven, along with children Matt and Emerson and a collection of dogs, rolled into Naples from a small
town near Manchester, Michigan. They sold a 140-acre fully functional organic farm, where they raised a herd of grass-fed Angus cattle, among other livestock.
The move was not an easy one for Heather. “I mourned the farm,” she says, describing their 10 years living on their ranch, Clover Dolce, as a happy time yet “super humbling.” An agricultural and business major, Heather feels more at home in hats, jeans, and work boots than in dresses and heels. Southwest Florida was certainly a change.
The Michiganders traded snow for sand so Steven could work alongside his brother at GWB Custom Homes. “The children were at a good age for a move,” explains Heather. They settled in the Royal Harbor neighborhood, where GWB has built more than 30 homes.
The couple were in the process of designing a family home for themselves on a waterfront lot with sweeping western views over Naples Bay when they met Tricca. Naples architect Falconer Jones had just perfected plans for their almost 8,000-square-foot home, containing numerous open yet separate spaces. After Heather became acquainted with the Florida cowboy, she turned to Steven and said: “I figured it out.”
The interior of their new home, although contemporary in style, would be realized in a Western motif—infused with items reminiscent of the family’s past life on the ranch. It would also be functional—thanks to Heather’s commitment to organization.
To bring her concept to life, Heather went in search of a designer and found Lauren Lombardi of LDL Interiors, a Naples design firm. According to Lombardi, Heather had a strong vision for a family home that could be enjoyed year-round and that was “a refreshing change from the contemporary coastal look that Naples is known for.”
The two hit it off and even spent four days together in North Carolina, scouring the High Point Furniture Market for new items flaunting a vintage vibe that would “age gracefully with the home,” says Lombardi.
Industrial elements—like the pendants that hang over the kitchen island, entwined with rope, and the wrought iron cowboy hat holder in the hallway near the foyer—appear throughout the home. Free to tarnish with age, brushed bronze hardware, found on the numerous kitchen cabinets, bestows the room with a warm glow. “None of the finishes are shiny,” points out Lombardi. “Everything is honed or matte.”
The interior touts a harmonious blend of modern and traditional styles. White walls contrast a rugged wide-plank wood floor; solid wooden beams line many a ceiling; and the main living areas (both upstairs and down) are filled with neutral-color upholstered furniture, aged leather couches, and warm wood accent tables.
There is plenty of storage space throughout the home, including a mud room (a rare find for a Florida home), where custom storage lockers painted a deep gray hide rows of hats and shoes. Steven’s large office, painted in Greenblack from Sherwin-Williams, deviates from the norm. “I love it,” he says, about the room he originally wanted white.
“It is the art and finishes that truly make a home,” shares Heather. Art in this home includes many family photos from their days on the ranch in Michigan, large Florida cowboy photographs by Tricca, art completed by Matt and Emerson over the years, and new pieces, such as the oversize painting of a burro that hangs in the stairwell—in a neutral palette—reminding Heather of the miniature donkeys she tended on the farm.
While Heather prepares breakfasts and snacks for hungry teens in the kitchen, Ryder, a golden retriever, dances in her shadow—hoping to scoop up a morsel of food. Ketchup, a basset hound, snoozes nearby. When she glances out of the window, Heather no longer sees cows grazing or grassy plains. Surrounded by a sea of blue, she feels perfectly settled in her coastal cowboy home.