Departments — 05 January 2018
Five designers share their favorite rooms

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine

A high-tech game room in South Africa, pictured here. The Plantation home of Ty Law, a retired NFL star who played last for the New England Patriots. A high-rise condo with a great view in Boca Raton. A condo on the water in Fort Lauderdale. An office on Palm Beach. Come with us on a tour of five South Florida designers’ favorite rooms.




Perla Lichi, like many designers, lives for the times clients allow her free rein. This freedom allowed her to create a game room in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a family with four sons who love to hang out and play video games.

City & Shore: Why is it your favorite?

Perla Lichi: The clients allowed me to use my creativity to design a room that stands out from the rest. I like it because it’s funky and fresh. I wanted to create a room that is out of the ordinary. It’s like a state-of-the-art man cave.

C&S: What are the details?

PL: The floor is easy-to-maintain porcelain tile that appears like stainless steel. The bar has a white onyx top and the wall covering is a washable burl. The room’s highlight is the tray ceiling, created in a wave pattern with LED lighting that can change colors to change the mood.

C&S: What can readers learn from this?

PL: You can make any room as interesting or creative as you want.





Joe Fava’s clients wanted him to transform the former owners’ neo-classical design into something lighter and more comfortable in this first-floor condo in La Rive in Fort Lauderdale.

City & Shore: Why is this your favorite?

Joe Fava: I was concerned about doing the wall in walnut because I was afraid it was too much of a contrast to the light gray lacquer in the kitchen and the client didn’t want them to match. Now I really like the walnut on the walls and doors and I love the ceiling. It is not easy to make the wall look so seamless. I wish I had ‘before pictures.’ The doors were iron with glass. The baseboard and crown molding were black lacquer.

C&S: What are the details?

JF: This apartment is on the ground floor right off the lobby so it was designed to soundproof noise from the lobby. Floating white cubes, some concealed and some for display, prevent the wall from looking too heavy. We got rid of the old ceiling and created a curvilinear feeing with LED lights. The concrete column had to stay so we removed the dry wall to show exposed concrete. It is always interesting when the same space can have two different looks.

C&S: What can readers learn from this?

JF: Don’t be afraid of mixing different textures together – the concrete on the column, the polished marble floor and walnut wall. Architectural elements can create interest rather than using pattern.






Joseph Pubillones needed a private space to write his syndicated “The Art of Design” column for Creators Syndicate. When a 550-square-foot condo with a view of the marina on Palm Beach went on the market, he bought it. During Hurricane Irma the power went out in his West Palm Beach main house, so he stayed in his new office. He also uses it to entertain guests and to meet clients.

City & Shore: Why is this your favorite?

Joseph Pubillones: This is my new office/pied-à-terre. It’s a peaceful place for me to write. I wanted it in neutral colors because I work so much with colors all day. There are plenty of closets with racks and shelving for pattern books that I can pull out and show clients.

C&S: What are the details?

JP: It’s a mix of new and vintage. The sofa is from the 1970s, a mid-century modern mirror reflects the light and the view, there are also a Moroccan poof and a 1930s swivel chair. If a friend or client stops in I can serve them a cocktail from the bar. The wood floors have a gray distressed finish.

C&S: What can readers learn from this?

JP: A white room doesn’t have to be cold. This one has accents in gray and taupe. The draperies are ivory silk, the walls are marshmallow and the sofa is gray.






Cecil Hayes, a designer who was named to the prestigious Architectural Digest Top 100, made her mark designing for such celebs as Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson and Penny Hardaway. Her favorite is the living room she designed for Ty Law.

City & Shore: Why is this your favorite?

Cecil Hayes: Ty encouraged me to do something different. He loves beautiful things and has unbelievable taste you don’t expect from a football player. I love the furniture and all the different textures. As soon as you come in you see a water feature that trickles down eight feet on a glass ladder. He wanted something that gave guests a natural feeling as they walked into the room.

C&S: What are the details?

CH: The room is an example of mixed media. The sofa wall is made of stainless steel panels with carved grid lines. White ash wood gives it depth. The coffee table is a conversation piece because the base is from a jet engine. The serpentine sofa, one of my favorites, is Italian leather. Sculptural wooden columns go into the dining room. The water feature trickles down eight feet on a 24-inch wide sandblasted glass ladder. It creates a live sculptural piece.

C&S: What can readers learn from this?

CH: You don’t have to have a stamp and do everything everyone else does. You can reach outside the box and create something that makes your home a little different.




Sometimes it’s all about the view. Mayda Zayas-Bazan’s favorite room is in an older building that once had closed off rooms preventing the snowbird owners from enjoying the view from their Lake Boca condo. Her plan was to reroute plumbing, take down walls from the 1970s design and update the electric and air conditioning. These changes meant everything had to be changed to meet the latest building codes.

City & Shore: Why is this your favorite?

Mayda Zayas-Bazan: I love this because it was designed to highlight the view. To me, it is one of the best views in Boca. They can see everything from the beach to the city. It’s relaxing and a great place for entertaining. The clients wanted something in blues and greens to reflect the view and comfortable furniture.

 C&S: What are the details?

MZB: The clients wanted a larger kitchen so I removed the wall between the main room and the kitchen and took space from the laundry room by putting the washer/dryer behind doors. A mirrored buffet that serves as a bar evokes the popular Hollywood Regency style. The ceiling was lowered so high-hat lighting could be installed. Hidden motorized shades with sheer panels of fabric don’t take away from the view. The functional coffee table has two tucked-in ottomans opposite the sofa and storage boxes on the other side.

C&S: What can readers learn?

MZB: A porcelain floor looks great but costs less than marble. Put your money in good furniture instead. Leave the colors for things you can change such as pillows and accessories. Pick the least color in your art to use in accessories.




Cecil Hayes: Cecil’s Designers Unlimited, 6601 Lyons Road # C4, Coconut Creek, 954-570-5843,

Joseph Fava: Fava Design Group,
255 NE Fourth Ave. #117, Miami, 786-536-5380, 

Joseph Pubillones: Joseph Pubillones Interiors,
44 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, 561-655-1717,

Mayda Zayas-Bazan: ZB Interiors,
1254 NW 102nd Way, Coral Springs, 954-464-8628.

Perla Lichi: Perla Lichi Luxury, 7381 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs, 954-726-0899,



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