When a New York couple commissioned architect Mark D. Stumer and interior designer Jessica Licalzi to create their mid-Miami Beach penthouse, they envisioned the 4,700-square-foot space as a vacation getaway. But the resulting design was simply too good; the couple quickly decided to make the oceanfront jewel box their year-round residence.
“They are repeat clients for 25 years,” Stumer says. “The couple wanted a unique and special penthouse, no bright and sunny white apartment. So we gutted the whole space, and designed the open-plan living concept. It takes advantage of the panoramic ocean views and maximizes the livability of the home.”
The owners’ aesthetic is decidedly modern, and their art collection adds rich interest to every room. They were hands-on with the renovation, including the selection of poured concrete floors, large-format Italian porcelain tile-paneled walls, custom-stained oak cabinetry, and built-in modern lighting. “I even took the couple to showrooms and introduced them to fabrics,” Licalzi says of their interest. “We stuck with modern companies, and went with what we liked.”
Entering the apartment through oversized entry doors, the eye is drawn to a recessed art niche—a stunning custom polished stainless steel frame that Stumer designed and carved into the hall—and a repeating motif of custom-fabricated blackened stainless steel and bespoke wire glass.
“The plan was aligned to carry visitors lineally into the home along this beautifully detailed entry hall with an oversized picture window looking to the sea as a visual end point,” Stumer says. “An intricate layering of ceiling planes, floating lacquer, and stainless steel beams brings down the scale of the hall, thus enhancing the transition into the higher ceilinged primary living area.”
The simple yet sophisticated look of monolithic concrete walls—with accents of blackened steel and stained oak—continues throughout the large living space. Touches of saddle leather and pops of color like turquoise, blue, purple, and hot pink add scale, depth, and texture. The bright tone from the Julian Ope vinyl on wooden stretcher of a woman posing in her underwear adds vibrance. The hues of deep blue and turquoise on the pillows, chairs, and accents reflect the color of the sea in the vista beyond. “The owners were ecstatic about this room,” Licalzi says. “They love the views, the wraparound terrace, and the detailing throughout the space.”
The biggest challenge of the project, Stumer says, was combining the bar, the interchangeable pool table, and the fireplace into one large space. “Getting all of this in one room took some thought,” he says. “We floated the fireplace off of the wall, and made the pool table double as a dining table.”
The combined kitchen and breakfast area were relocated to give the living space a central presence. Stumer raised the kitchen with two white quartz steps to “facilitate the building mechanics” and to enhance its look as a “contrasting polished white box against the industrial inspired finishes.” The adjacent family room houses a soothing white sofa and chaise from Poltrona Frau and contrasting black lacquer coffee table from Roche Bobois for reading, relaxing, or working on projects.
In the master suite, the vivid colors of six acrylic on epoxy resin square flat sculptures by artist Kim Hyun-Sik (2017) set the stage for the room’s purple pillows and blue furnishings. The silver-gray window treatments and bed appointments recall the light and the grey quartzite floor of the master bath.
With its custom step-in, stainless steel soaking tub and separate shower—each with glorious views—the owners can gaze outside at the ocean while bathing. The pewter Watermark fixtures and Nano glass white wall tiles echo the home’s clean, contemporary sophistication. “The detailing in this room is amazing,” Stumer says.
The owners and the design team were equally thrilled with the finished penthouse. Lucky thing, since the couple spared no expense on the project. “The husband and wife are a team,” Licalzi says. “They shop and make decisions together. We ended up designing with what we all liked, and everyone was happy.”
Interior Design by Jessica Licalzi, Mojo Stumer Architects, Greenvale, NY
Architect Mark D. Stumer, Mojo Stumer Architects, Greenvale, NY
Text by Linda Marx
Photography by Mark D. Stumer, Greenvale, NY