Hart Cottage

  • Address
    Naples, FL
  • Built

Buildings such as the Hart Cottage are an essential part of the region's rich history. Just as important, Bert Brosmith and the cottage he designed are direct links to the Sarasota School of Art and Architecture. Paul Rudolph's modern architecture attracted the attention of Peter M. Hart when he lived in Connecticut. By then, Rudolph was too busy to take on such a small project, but a young Brosmith, Rudolph's office manager of five years, was ready to venture out on his own and discussed the project with Hart.

The cottage on Keewaydin Island, a barrier island south of Naples, is accessible only by water. The central square platform is raised on four columns with decks cantilevered on all sides. Raising the cottage saved it from flooding and spared it serious damage when Hurricane Donna slammed Southwest Florida in September 1960.

External walls of large sliding windows or screens allow natural breezes to ventilate and cool the interior. It's open and abundant with daylight inside. And in the beginning, before the trees grew too high, views extended in every direction: over the island, the inland waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

Sadly, the location intrinsic to the essence of its appeal has also become the root of its demise. The core of the 1959 building is solid, but the cantilevered decks have become structurally unstable and the entire structure requires renovation. In practical terms the cost of renovation is likely to be greater than the monetary value of the property.

Ideally, neglected modern properties such as Hart Cottage can be rescued before it is too late, but in order to save Hart Cottage, public money or private sponsorship will be necessary to subsidize the renovations. That's a challenge, but not impossible. The family is exploring partnership/shared use possibilities, and volunteers are welcome. The family would be happy to bring others appreciative of its charms into this Mid-century masterpiece's magical island circle.

Quote to use separately (tbd): "When looking out from the decks or windows of the cottage, the feeling tone is one of complete connection to nature" – Irene Fascher, current owner of the Hart Cottage.

AIA Florida Southwest Southwest Florida Museum of History Herman Miller