Sue Engelhardt says she and Irl bought their original property in Naples in 2003, but after retirement they were able to purchase the adjacent lot, tear down their existing house and build something special.
Vero Beach-based architect Clem Schaub designed a remarkably beautiful home. “He understands that, if you’re in Florida, you want to be outside,” Engelhardt says. All of the rooms are bright and open, and the living room has floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides that retract to bring the outdoors inside. On each side is a large patio, each with a swimming pool.
Engelhardt says she had trouble finding a good technology integrator, but Schaub recommended Will Gilbert of Think Simple. “I felt comfortable with Will. He’s very open with how they will build something and transparent about pricing. If I would say, I really want this to be this way, he would always find a way to do it.”
Engelhardt and Clemens Bruns Schaub interior designer Christine Pokorney went shopping together and found a beautiful piece of fabric art by Olga de Amaral, which they made the focal point of the living room. But press a button on a remote control or iPad, and the artwork rolls gently to the right to reveal an advanced media system. “We had to use linear actuator motors to keep from damaging the artwork,” Gilbert explains.
In the evening, the family can watch movies on a Sony projector and a huge projection screen, but for the daytime, there’s an 85” Samsung TV, perfect when the room is bright. James loudspeakers and a James subwoofer provide high-impact surround sound but are virtually invisible.
Engelhardt says she was surprised and impressed when the Think Simple people came back, after the audio system was installed, and tuned each room with Crestron’s Surround Sound Tuning Kit, using a microphone to compare the sound coming from the speakers with a reference tone generated by a computer. “It’s night and day how much better it sounds.”
The room is an amazing place to entertain. The Engelhardts have held parties for their grown children, for their friends, for employees, college alumni, even her book club from St Louis. “I love to have people come and stay,” she says.