By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
South Florida attracts homebuyers from all over the world with its views of the ocean, the Intracoastal and the sparkling cityscapes. Many of these high-rise condos are “decorator ready,” meaning the new owner has to hire a designer to install everything from flooring to lighting. How do designers ensure the furnishings don’t detract from the principal asset of a high-rise? Take a tour with us and see how four design firms are framing the view.
DESIGNERS: Toby Zack
with assistants Carolina Velasquez and Jose Arango
PHOTOGRAPHER: Dan Forer
Anyone who has managed the installation of a kitchen or bathroom knows the job can be exhausting. After a snowbird couple finished these difficult jobs they hired Zack’s firm to furnish their corner condo on an upper floor of Il Villaggio on South Beach.
Design for the view: The view of the ocean and Ocean Drive was the focal point. Zack’s team selected neutral furnishings that would enhance – not distract –from the surroundings. A sculpture that the owners selected was placed near the sliding glass doors to frame the view near a conversation area with black and white furniture. In the dining room, the glass table reflects the sky, the S-shaped chairs from Carriage House are white leather and the crystal pendant is elegant without being too dominant.
Window treatments: Sunshades retract into a soffit by remote control.
DESIGNER: Gerald Pomeroy
PHOTOGRAPHER: Robert Brantley
A longtime client with classical tastes from Boston hired Pomeroy to design her residence in Boca Raton’s One Thousand Ocean. His challenge was to create a design that balanced her preferences with the contemporary design of the building.
Design for the view: “The views are just extraordinary,” Pomeroy says. “My job is to reference what is going on outside and enhance it. That’s what makes breathtaking rooms for breathtaking views. You want to draw them in with the color palette and shapes and forms that Mother Nature has so beautifully designed.” He took the colors of the sea and sky for the living room and bedroom. The design was transitional with contemporary accents such as the coffee table and table lamps. A large piece of abstract art in sea colors enhances and doesn’t fight with the view.
Window coverings: Pomeroy took the classic route because his client loves curtains and fabric. The 25-foot high ceiling in the living room was given more manageable scale with curtains in a large hydrangea print that also add warmth. The linen fabric in the bedroom is reminiscent of a tiger hide but it is used in sea and sand colors.
DESIGNER: Kristen LeSchander
LeSchander designed this luxurious 4,432-square-foot condo with a 977-square-foot balcony as a model in Boca Raton’s Luxuria. The buyers liked it so much they bought it furnished.
Design for the view: “Ultimately people are paying for the view,” she says. “It is my primary focus to draw the eye to the view. You have to enjoy the space but the eye should go beyond the furnishings.” The upholstery and area rug are in sand tones so they don’t detract from the view. Blue accents come on the pillows, glass bowl and table linens.
Window treatment: The curtains have two layers – a sheer in champagne white that closes and stationary fabric panels in silvery blue silk.
Managing the black hole of the ocean at night: The sofa is facing a feature wall with the television. The sheer draperies can be drawn at night. Balcony design: She added a pub table near the Jacuzzi on the short side of the balcony. The side facing the ocean features a dining table with chairs and a seating area with sofa and chairs. “You want to give the client as much outdoor living space as possible, maximizing the space, a place to relax and read a book, a place to entertain and a place to eat.”
DESIGNER: Juan Poggi
PHOTOGRAPHER: John Stillman
A couple with four children, who live in Spain but come to Miami several times a year, bought two condos on the 24th floor at Jade Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach so they could enjoy 5,000 square feet of living space. They asked Poggi for a soft contemporary design with a living room that would accommodate 12 people as well as enhance the view.
Design for the view: He selected a neutral palette with sand colors so the furnishings would not detract from the view. The main upholstered piece, a six-seat sofa, faces the water. Two sets of pendants from Mooi, made from a synthetic fiber woven into a sphere shape, can be seen through to show the view. The area in the left of the photo features custom high-relief architectural tiles by Chicago artist Bryan Kerrigan. Five swivel chairs around a 24-inch table allow guests to have food and drink while enjoying the view.
Window treatment: Retractable shades can be dropped down to block the sun.
Balcony design: He kept it simple with two white lounge chairs and a white table and chairs.
Kristen LeSchander: Marc-Michaels Interior Design, 720 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-629-2124; and 850 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, 561-362-7037, marc-michaels.com.
Gerald Pomeroy: Gerald Pomeroy Design Group, 21 Milford St., Suite 2, Boston, 617-227-6693, geraldpomeroydesigngroup.com.
Juan Poggi: Poggi Design, 2030 S. Douglas Road, suite 120, Coral Gables, 305-448-5469,
Toby Zack: Toby Zack Designs, 3316 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale, 954-967-8629, tobyzackdesigns.com.