When Angela and Robert Bruckner moved to Naples from Dallas almost eight years ago, it was really more of a homecoming. Robert, now vice president of Roofcrafters Inc. in Naples, attended high school here before relocating to Texas for college. Years later, he met Angela in Dallas, and they married in Naples in 2006. Their two boys, Henry, 10, and Harrison, 13, were born in Texas, but when the timing and opportunities were right, the Bruckners loaded up their Suburban and drove to the Paradise Coast from the Lone Star State for good.
Angela Bruckner, a leadership and sales coach through her business, Constant Pursuit, notes that the move came with many benefits for her young family, including being close to Robert’s mother, who lives in town. In the summers, the Bruckners spend a couple months with Angela’s parents in Minnesota. In return, her parents visit Naples during Christmas.
With their imminent arrival, Bruckner is pulling together an intimate gathering. As a coach, she knows when she needs help, so she called upon Kaleidoscope Floral for the greens, Mikkelsen’s Pastry Shop for butter cookies and Buche de Noel cakes, Sarah LaMont at Why Style for wardrobe, and Dani Taverna from Duality Artistry for hair and makeup. On speed dial, Bruckner has Vera Jaye of Jaye Design, who helped to renovate her Weber Woods home into a serene and timeless family oasis.
Jaye pops by the Bruckners’ before the other guests arrive for a Christmas celebration. She and Bruckner work in harmony to finish up last-minute details, such as setting the indoor dining table and moving an old farm table from the patio to the middle of the three-acre lawn for hors d’oeuvres. Jaye labored for hours to create many of the custom Christmas decor pieces on display, including a blue and green stained-glass mobile for the living room niche and a repurposed wood door that was painted white, fabricated with faux tree limbs, and topped with two owls representing Robert and Angela.
Jaye’s long career in interior design brought her here from California six years ago. When Jaye is in the Bruckner family mix, with the boys sitting on the kitchen counter finishing up their favorite family tradition, making holiday wreath cookies made from cornflakes, marshmallow, and some green dye, everyone is at ease. “The Bruckners are a great family,” Jaye says. “I love that their kids were a priority in their design decisions.”
Bruckner and Jaye are collaborating to finish the last bits of the Bruckner home redo, including installing Henry’s queen-size bunk beds, finalizing the outdoor pool, and converting the yard shed into a man cave for Robert to share with his sons. “Vera came into this project knowing the house wasn’t ideal for our growing boys,” Bruckner says. “She created a separate space for each of them to study or entertain friends. But they are also responsible for keeping their areas tidy.”
In addition to establishing a boys’ laundry room, Jaye gave lots of consideration to the kitchen area, opening it up to ensure that all four Bruckners can be in there prepping, cooking, and cleaning simultaneously. “Vera helped us take down walls and create a galley sink, the key to our efficient design,” Bruckner adds. Jaye convinced the family to swap out small existing windows for large sliding doors with sidelights to bring in light and greenery from outside. “Looking out, it’s a painting of Florida,” says Bruckner.
Working with a company in Bonita Springs, Bruckner and Jaye found a walnut slab with a raw live edge—another homage to nature—for the foyer. Always striving for organization, Bruckner wanted everything to have a place, so the slab is for keys. Another one of the home’s most striking features are the front doors. “I had two plain fiberglass doors custom-painted and added polished nickel hardware for a tailored look,” explains Bruckner.
She and Jaye conspired on echoing the family’s love for the outdoors in their holiday decor. “For the entryway, I found hand-carved bowls and a vintage bushel basket, pieces that have a story and are a nice contrast to this home, which looks sleek and perfect,” Jaye says.
Back in the kitchen, the Bruckner boys are ready to sample their cookies. A student at Big Cypress Elementary School, Henry loves football, animals, and playing outside. Harrison also enjoys sports and pushes himself to excel on the field and at Oak Ridge Middle School. Whether watching them bake sweets or do chores, their mom looks on with pride. “They tackle our yard. It takes three hours to mow, but they make it fun.”
Bruckner’s favorite holiday to host is Thanksgiving, which Robert’s side of the family usually attends. She goes bananas with a theme, interactive games, and meal-planning. Her Christmas celebration is intentionally toned-down. “It’s a quiet time filled with traditions established when I was very young,” she says. “It’s special that my kids get to see my parents.” As she eagerly awaits their arrival, she checks on the smoked prime rib and scalloped potatoes.
Going to church plays a central role in the Bruckners’ Christmas. They attend Moorings Presbyterian, a place where Bruckner has devoted several volunteer hours, especially when she first moved to Naples. “I was on a mission outreach committee. We did hands-on research in the trenches to learn where the biggest community needs were and how money should be distributed to maximize benefits.” More recently, she’s been distributing weekend meals or “power packs” from her church to school kids who struggle with food scarcity. She also cares for a neighbor. “I give a lot of my time to her,” she says. “I try to be as helpful as I can, but I’m also trying not to spread myself too thin. I am a coach, so I have to take my own advice.” «