When it comes to oceanfront living, bells and whistles are rarely needed. Subdued design features, a soft color palette and minimalist furnishings serve to complement nature, playing a supporting, but essential role. But for this seaside house, a fairy tale home nestled in lush surroundings, the inside is just as important as the outside. And renowned Franco-Swiss interior designer Alexandra de Garidel spared no effort in fine-tuning every detail for a showcase of livable luxury. “The house is made to be practical,” the designer says. “It’s not only nice to look at but it’s nice to live in, very pleasant.”
Large windows, a mixture of concrete and woods, and a human scale despite rooms of massive proportions are some of the main facets of this 9,000-plus-square-foot home, a secondary dwelling for the owners. The theme of transparency weaves through the property, from the massive windows, to the pool with its acrylic railing and an open-air lanai, its contents visible from the circular stone pathway to the side.
The lanai furnishings are of a luxurious, chic nature but conveniently suitable for the outside elements. Light sheers pull closed to shade the space reminiscent of the beautiful Delano hotel in Miami. “I pictured a white curtain floating in the wind, exuding a romantic aura while offering a shade of privacy … this was the idea,” the designer says.
Inside, one of the challenges de Garidel faced was incorporating finishes that would temper modern and in some instances cold elements. Case in point, cool concrete panels delineate space in the great room, while warm teak flooring flows throughout. The complex relationship between the modern and eclectic styles in the architecture and interior scheme begins in the great room housing the entry, kitchen, living and dining areas.
The designer curtailed the high volume of the spaces with furnishings that yield a relatable human scale. Stainless steel cabinetry lines the kitchen, where a glossy blue backsplash catches the eye and welcoming counter stools pull up to the warmth of a walnut-topped island.
“Everywhere in the house, one feels the pull of the ocean,” de Garidel says. The resin steps of the stairway, set at an easy distance from each other, ascend from one floor to another linked by two art pieces saturated in a deep blue hue.
A splash of blue carries through to the dining area, where artist Shirazeh Houshiary’s inspiration, so lightly pencil-stroked onto canvas and clouded over by a finely wrought blue color, creates the artistic focal point. The David Weeks ceiling installation – a mobile light fixture illuminated by the circular skylight just above — is definitely eye catching. Each tier gently moves to cast a shimmering glow around the space styled with concrete panels and touches of warm walnut. “Concrete is something natural, very practical, and very unusual to be used in such proportions inside a house,” the designer says.
In the living area, a hammock takes full advantage of the high ceilings as it suspends in a privileged position to enjoy the ocean views. “This is the kind of thing you have to think of during construction because if you don’t include the supporting structure into the ceiling, proper installation becomes really difficult afterwards,” de Garidel says. “It took us two weeks of discussion to get the exact, perfect position of the swing.”
Nearby, the main living area presents another temperature juxtaposition – the elegant, cool black stone of the fireplace and the actual function of the feature used to warm the space. A linen-clad sofa joins the Pilar Proffitt cocktail table and a walnut stool atop a sandy hued area rug that introduces an earthiness to the area.
The boy’s bedroom is a chic example of what little kids dream of – a room where superheroes and the color blue are the main acts. The beds provide clean, modern lines, tempered by the slightly vintage zest the Warner comic posters yield.
The stature of the home is unmistakable but the homeowners didn’t just want an impressive dwelling, they wanted a home to live in – full of warm furnishings and blue accents to remind them of the seaside bliss just outside.