Design — 03 June 2016
How designers manage waterfront views

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine

Cool breezes through sliding glass doors. Soothing sounds of waves breaking on the shore. Breathtaking views of the ocean or the Intracoastal or a lake. What’s not to like about living on the water?

Three South Florida designers show us how they manage the views, especially the ocean, which can look like a black hole at night.



Some designers cater to the view and nothing but the view, says Brett Sugerman, but he and his wife, Giselle Loor, have a slightly different approach.

“We always try to keep in mind trying to maximize the views,“ Sugerman says. “They are buying the home substantially because of the views, but we have a philosophy that you cannot sacrifice the flow of the interiors. You rarely sit and stare at the view. We need to make sure the interior functions well with the view in mind and sometimes in spite of the view.”

That philosophy is evident in the design of the living room of an 11th floor condo in Bal Harbour’s St. Regis they designed for snowbirds from the Northeast. The focal point is the flat-screen television and a gas fireplace. Only two chairs directly face the water view.

Clients who live on the water like to keep the sliding glass doors open to get the breeze, so Sugerman and Loor also consider the finishes and materials that may be exposed to salt air.

They designed the dining room to be uncluttered – no rug, no furniture except a round table and chairs. The focus is on the view of the city lights at night and a large painting during the day.

The inside is connected to the large terrace because the designers used the same marble flooring in both.




Aldo Puschendorf didn’t have to spend time getting to know his snowbird clients. He has worked on their homes since 1999.

“This time they wanted a design that was inviting like an art gallery with the coziness of the home,” he says.

The views of their Aventura condo were spectacular, especially those in the master bedroom which featured the water and the skyline. The bed faces the television on the opposite wall, but the water view is still dominant through the three large panels of glass.

Puschendorf says one of the biggest concerns is how the light comes through during the day. He likes to frame the view with side panels and always includes powered shades to block the morning sun. Side panels are also used to hide a neighboring building.

“What has changed is people are more aware of their surroundings,” he says. “They want the lightness of the view and take that into consideration inside. These people are from Chicago and they love art.”

That love of art was the driving force to Puschendorf’s interior design. The furnishings, much of it in neutral tones, compliments instead of competes with their artwork. For example, the large Earth and Nature print on acrylic in the living room was discovered at Art Basel. The adjacent lacquered wood half circles are Rusty Wolfe’s Yellow Ladder and his Bronze Life Guards are in the corner to the left of the glass doors.




Mayda Zayas-Bazan’s clients wanted to enjoy their vacation condo’s views of the ocean and Lake Boca. The apartment, which consists of two apartments with four balconies, won her an award for residential contemporary design over 5,000 square feet from the American Society of Interior Designers.

The views drove the design, including the galley kitchen where a small breakfast bar allows the couple to eat while looking at the water. The floating bed faces the water and has custom drawers behind the headboard. Even the bathroom was designed with a water view, thanks to a clear glass window that can be switched to opaque for privacy.

Zayas-Bazan also considered the night views in her planning.

“The lake is the focal point during the day,” she says. “In the evening the lake is dark and the other rooms were designed to emphasize the city.”

How much light the rooms get are other factors to consider. The best light comes when rooms face the east and south; north-facing rooms are much darker.

The husband likes to do business on his phone and wanted a place he could sit and enjoy the view so she placed two chairs and a custom table that doesn’t block the view near a large window.

“The view makes you feel like you are on a cruise,” she says. “The only thing you see is the ocean and it feels very peaceful.”

She created an entertainment room for their children and grandchildren in the second apartment. Someone can sit at the bar enjoying a drink; others can watch television or play pool.

“It is not just about the decoration,” she says. It is about the functionality of the place and how it makes you feel.”



Brett Sugerman and Giselle Loor: B+G Design, 401 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-929-6949,

Aldo Puschendorf: Puschendorf Interiors, 7120 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-751-0100,

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








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