Design — 05 January 2013
Before and after: Re-making a home


Love the location but looking for more function or style in your residence? No worry. Smart changes can transform your so-so home into your chic castle.

Extreme remodeling may mean a teardown, but the answer can be less radical. Solutions can range from adding on exterior and interior space to changing walls to reconfigure the interior.

Take a tour with us and learn how three South Florida homes were updated to meet the needs of their owners.



Alene Workman Interior Design:601 Sheridan St., Hollywood, 33021, 954-989-0898,

Back story: A young couple bought a home in Davie because they fell in love with the lake view, but the 3,500-square-foot residence was too small for their needs. The home was gutted and expanded to 8,000 square feet and became one of the largest in the community while not outshining or bringing too much attention to the exterior.

Wish list: Originally the couple thought they would fix this home for a temporary residence until they built something larger in a more upscale community, but their plans changed when the project began. They wanted a more formal dining room, a comfortable great room and plenty of storage.

“As they got involved with me and what we were doing, they saw the interior on the level they wanted as far as quality and feel and look,” Hollywood designer Alene Workman says. “They wanted us to raise the level for the interior millwork, lighting and sound system. It’s a smart home with a theater. They wanted it to be welcoming and comfortable because it would be a gathering place for family nearby.”

Design details: The excellent millwork carries the design throughout the home – from the dining room to the master bath.

The dining room was part of an expansive great room. No interesting elements in the raw space were able to elevate the room to the level they desired so Workman worked her magic with millwork on a long wall and in a room divider in pear wood with a satin finish.

“It is really more than a room divider,” she says. “There is no question it divides the space between the dining room and great room, but it also creates architectural interest and drama between the spaces. The area is also a buffet that creates storage.”

Accessories finish the room. The Murano glass chandelier from Italy resembles amber pieces of ribbon. The espresso color of the dark mahogany mirror echoes the stain on the legs of the dining chairs.

The tone of the custom cabinetry in the master bathroom is similar to the pear wood, but Workman says it is anigre, a wood with more graining and movement. “His” and “her” cabinets have equal amounts of storage. The countertop is Rainforest Brown granite and the floor is white marble with Rain Forest granite inserts to tie the room together.

Millwork also distinguishes the entry to the master suite – bedroom, office, sitting room, “his” and “her” closets and master bath. The doors are pear wood and the wall is Madagascar ebony. Textural contrast comes from a stainless steel shelf with glass top.

The coup de grace is the media room, which took over the space of the former garage.

“We came up with a design that says: ‘We have arrived. This is the home theater,’’’ Workman says.

The back section was raised 12 inches to make it more like stadium seating. Chairs are motorized and the sofa allows for family cuddling. Every wall was soundproofed and the floor is covered in wool carpeting. The elaborate sound system is built into a closet. The children can also play video games and view them on the projection screen. Silver accents – the mesh in the ceiling panels and metal poster supports echo the abstract sculpture of a man playing a guitar.

Epilogue: “Everything was done to meet the needs of the client,” Workman says. “The fact that the theater is so beautifully done is important because they are movie theater people. This is an entertainment center not only for their family but for friends. They wanted this to be a welcoming space and fun.”




Puzzitiello Builders: 2143 Union St., West Palm Beach, 33411, 561-718-4176,

YRA Design: 5707 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 8, West Palm Beach, 33405, 561-493-1500,

Back story: The clients, semi-retired empty nesters, bought a wood-frame house in PGA National because they liked the location. The Palm Beach Gardens home was built in 1986 before the devastation of Hurricane Andrew forced changes in the South Florida Building Code. The 3,120-square-foot residence had wood frame on exterior walls, an asphalt-coated metal shingle roof installed over an old wood shake roof, and 22-feet high vaulted ceilings with multiple skylights and original cabinets and flooring. Termites feasted on the wood.

“It was a very dated home,” says Ray Puzzitiello of Puzzitiello Builders in West Palm Beach. “Not much had been done from the 1980s when it was built. We ended up gutting the whole house except for the exterior walls and trusses.” He worked with YRA Design, an architecture, planning and interiors firm in West Palm Beach

Wish list: They wanted a large combined kitchen and family room, a formal dining room, a comfortable outdoor living space and large master suite.

Design details:  Puzzitiello says the kitchen was not visible from the family room in the original plan, but closing off the kitchen is so 20th century. The size —18-by-14 feet – is about the same, but a wall was torn down to create an open plan that looks more spacious. A bay window was added to overlook the pool. The cabinetry was replaced with more upscale cabinets in a lighter finish; a breakfast bar and granite countertops were added. The kitchen ceiling was lowered and replaced with a tray ceiling finished in stained cypress wood. GE Monogram appliances finished the kitchen.

The former dining room was converted into a butler’s pantry with a walk-in food pantry. Puzzitiello’s crew raised the floor of the sunken living room and converted it into a dining room. Columns, molding and a tray ceiling provided architectural detail.

An outdoor kitchen with a barbecue and refrigerator was added in the new covered area. Another covered outdoor area includes seating, a cabinet with a sink, icemaker and a flat-screen television. That section can be closed off and locked during storms or when they are away on vacation. Small planters were extended to become more a part of the living area so people didn’t fall down the steps to get to the pool.

Epilogue: Not only were the clients thrilled with the remodel so were judges in several contests. The house won the Aurora award from the Florida Home Builders Association for a kitchen remodel over $50,000, a silver award from the Florida Atlantic Builders Association for a knock-down renovation $1-$2 million and the Florida Power & Light award for energy efficiency.




Kendall Marcelle Design Associates: 1211 Stirling Road., Suite 110, Dania Beach, 33004, 954-367-6170,

Back story: A couple with four young children bought a spec house in Hallandale Beach that didn’t meet their needs. The 5,200-square-foot interior space was reconfigured and an outdoor kitchen was added. Dania Beach designer Kendall Marcelle was in on the two-year project from inception.

Wish list: The clients entertain as many as 12 family and friends at a time and wanted the interior space to be more accommodating for crowds. The original master bedroom was downstairs and they preferred to sleep upstairs to be closer to their children. It was essential that their art collection be part of the new design.

“I thought the house was undersized knowing this family’s lifestyle and how they entertain,” Marcelle says. “The solution was making the existing space flow for them.”

Design details: The former master bedroom on the first floor provided the extra space needed for entertaining. A load-bearing wall that closed off the former living room was removed and two substantial columns were added for support. The space between the two columns was the perfect setting for the abstract metal sculpture of a woman.

“The woman was an absolutely perfect way to divide the space,” Marcelle says, “and the columns didn’t make it look like an afterthought.”

The former entrance to the dining room was adjacent to the foyer and meant you had to walk through the kitchen past the front entrance to get to the dining room. The new plan closed off the space and converted it to a children’s playroom.

The kitchen was too small and not upscale enough. New cabinets were installed to the ceiling; a larger island with a granite countertop replaced the upper tier bar that was the height of the microwave. Appliances were upgraded to large 36-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator and separate 36-inch freezer and a Wolf gas range. Right off the kitchen is an oval table with banquette and seating for 10. The banquette is framed with display niches. A former wine cellar under the stairs was converted into what she calls a “Costco pantry” to store bulk items such as paper towels and toilet paper.

“The room stirs the senses,” she says. “There is a lot of color, heavy acrylics, tactile fired granite and a table inlaid with parquet oak squares from Italy.”

The master bedroom was moved upstairs into what was formerly a media room. The loft area was pushed out eight feet to create a secondary family room where the children could play video games and work on the computer. The staircase to the loft was left the same configuration, but the ornate Mediterranean railing was simplified into a more contemporary style with a pewter finish and stained wood cap.


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