By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
City & Shore Magazine
How do you define luxury? Is it contemporary furnishings with amenities such as a large wine cooler, billiard room and home theater? Is it design that brings to mind a stately home in England or France? Or do you long for a look that reminds you of a five-star hotel? Three South Florida interior design firms show us their definitions of luxury.
DESIGNER: Lisa Lalaounis and Bob Martin (Architectural Details)
PHOTOGRAPHER: Daniel Newcomb
A house with 8,500 square feet exudes luxury even before it is furnished. Lisa Lalaounis’s clients have a big family and love to entertain. They wanted a home that wasn’t too trendy, with plenty of room for family and guests to visit.
Lalaounis came into the design process right after the clients broke ground for their lakefront home in Weston and worked with them once a week for a year and a half. The finished project included six bedrooms, a home theater and separate guest house.
“We tried to merge the desires of the husband and wife,” she says. “She wanted a more traditional look and he wanted more contemporary. We merged both to please both of them. The things selected are timeless and define luxury. They transcend the moment and move forward with the clients and their lifestyle.”
Their lifestyle meant they wanted plenty of seating for conversation and entertaining. They can easily have 10 to 15 people sit on the two large sectionals and ottomans in the family room. The dining table seats 10. A more formal room has two sofas and two swivel chairs in front of a gas fireplace with traditional mantel. A player piano entertains guests having cocktails.
Bob Martin, who helped with architectural features for the home, designed what Lalaounis describes as “clouds” (four panels with recessed lighting) in the family room.
The 440-square-foot kitchen is a transitional style that pleases both husband and wife. The Quartzite counter, with room to seat four, is three inches thick. A window seat has more opportunities for seating.
DESIGNER: William Eubanks
PHOTOGRAPHER: Kim Sargent
William Eubanks is the guru of luxury designs. He is a master of blending antiques, silk brocade fabrics and crystal chandeliers. We chatted with him on getting a look of luxury fit for a palace.
“Luxury takes on many meanings depending on the individual,” he says. “I think of it as having the freedom to take the extra step to make it richer. Even in contemporary, you can have a rich palette of silks and wools. Something very textural can still be luxurious. It doesn’t have to be severe.”
Although his firm is doing more contemporary recently, he still has a lot of clients who prefer the Old World look. He says they want period details, trompe l’oeil, faux bois and silk damask.
Fresh flowers: Eubanks says adding fresh flowers are like a woman finishing her dress with jewelry. Flowers take the design to the next level because they brighten everything and add something alive in the space.
Lush fabric and trim: A Louis XVI bergere chair takes on more elegance with floral silk brocade in a Worth Avenue apartment. Place it next to an elaborate drapery of silk damask in golden tones and he says it’s like opening your eyes on a sunny day.
Gilt and chandeliers: An 18th century gilt mirror Eubanks found in a paneled home in Paris set the tone for an apartment he designed on Central Park in New York City. Reflected in the mirror is a 19th century Baguès chandelier, a company known since 1860 for well-crafted French style in lighting and wrought-iron work. Silk bed hangings placed under the soffit add to the lush look. “We wanted the room to wrap its arms around you, a place where you could go and forget the world is there.”
Canopy beds with sitting room: The client loves French antiques and bed hangings. Eubanks gave it a period look with hand-stitched silk bed hangings with swags and cascades and hand-tied tassels. He took two bedrooms and turned it into a master suite so he could create a sitting area. “This is what I call luxury,” he says. “Once you are in the room you don’t have to leave.”
DESIGNERS: Giselle Loor and Brett Sugerman
PHOTOGRAPHER: Barry Grossman
The design of this waterfront home in Boca Raton’s Royal Palm looks contemporary, but no one can doubt that it is luxurious. It’s 9,500 square feet with a home theater just for their three teen-aged boys, a master bath with views of the Intracostal Waterway and windows that can be frosted for privacy plus a clubroom with billiard table with leather walls.
“The wife was reluctant to move from west to east at first,” Giselle Loor says. “We built the equivalent of a resort for them in their home. They have a boat. It’s all part of a luxurious lifestyle.”
One of the most amazing rooms is the home theater the family calls the “kids’ lounge.” Three chairs near the television can be moved around to play video games. Behind them is leather motorized seating. Walls are sound proof with acoustic panels covered in fabric. Custom tongue-and-groove wood goes from behind the television to the ceiling for an architectural element. Motorized blackout shades retract into the ceiling.
“We wanted a standing architectural element,” Brett Sugerman says of the linear wall with gas fireplace that divides the living and family rooms. “The wall is 6 feet wide and very dramatic with antiqued marble, blackened steel and gray mirror. We wanted to enhance the horizontal look so we used the blackened steel to extend the look of the divider.”
The master bedroom sitting area looks comforting because of the soft gray tones and custom-designed chaises. Cast concrete tile provides a dramatic focal point. Custom wool and silk rugs Loor designed were made in Nepal.
“We knew their wants and needs because this is the third project we did for them,” Loor says. “She said, ‘Blow us away and give us a dream home you would do for yourself.’ It was so much fun and gave us creative freedom.”
William Eubanks: William R. Eubanks Interior Design, Via Parigi, Palm Beach,561-805-9335, williamreubanks.com.
Lisa Lalaounis: Decorators Unlimited, 4700 Riverside Drive, Suite 100, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-625-4033, decoratorsunlimited.com.
Giselle Loor and Brett Sugerman: B&G Design, 410 NW First Ave., Suite 301, Fort Lauderdale, 954-929-6949, bandgdesign.com.