Oceanfront Bal Harbour Condo Was a Labor of Love

A seasoned designer leads an arduous renovation to success by transforming a closed-off floor plan into a light-filled residence with contemporary cachet

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Living styles may evolve through the years, but good construction allows for renovations that not only preserve but elevate the appeal of a space. That was the situation interior designer Luciana Fragali encountered when her clients asked her to update their newly purchased oceanfront condominium at The Palace at Bal Harbour.        

The couple, whose full-time home is in Montreal, owned a nearby apartment for winter escapes. But when they found the Palace residence—an approximately 3,000-square-foot, 16th floor corner unit with sweeping ocean views, a surround balcony, and expansive windows—they decided they had to move. But, that’s not to say their new place was ideal.

“One of the characteristics of older buildings is that people used to like closed rooms,” says Fragali who notes that the apartment, as well as the entire building, is a gem. “The apartment has great bones and that gave us the opportunity to create a new, solid floor plan.”

Starting in 2021, the interior features came down—including all walls, the original kitchen, bathroom features, and flooring. Pandemic-era worries challenged the project—from extended times for permits to come through to sick workers and supply chain delays— and each problem took creative thinking, flexibility, and patience to solve. When the service elevator was out of service for months, she and the homeowners had to work with the building management to allow for early morning and evening movement of materials. “Communication was key,” she says.                                                         

Despite the delays and setbacks, the building’s major asset came flooding through the unit’s expansive windows—letting in as much natural light as possible was the primary goal. The reimagined space is highlighted with ocean views from every room, and is perfectly inviting for entertaining.

Because the homeowners’ adult children and a growing number of grandchildren visit often, most of the materials selected are durable and easy to maintain. Fragali decided to keep the social spaces of the home wide open, placing the living room in the center, with furnishings—both new and from the homeowners’ previous apartment—that invite lingering as well as movement through the space. The flooring throughout much of the residence’s public spaces is a 30-by-72-inch porcelain tile, which is similar in size to marble slabs. “If a child is eating or drops a toy on a marble floor, you might end up with a stain or a chip,” says Fragali. “That’s usually fixable, but not always. This gorgeous tile gives a similar look and is almost maintenance free.” Other flooring—including that of the elevator foyer and private areas of the home—features 10-inch herringbone oak planks. “Wood is warm,” says Fragali. “It counterbalances the coolness of the porcelain.”

In fact, wood is a star feature throughout the residence. Custom paneling covers many walls throughout. The family room’s inset ceiling carries wood tones with the application of a wood-appearing wall covering, which allows LED lighting to accent the space and create a cozy nighttime glow. And the primary bath features a step-up wet room where wood-inspired porcelain tile avoids the upkeep of wood in a spot where humidity is the norm.

The kitchen and dining spaces are meant to marry form and function. In the former, the homeowners banished the idea of anything in stainless steel, updating the room with light brown panels and black appliances and hardware. The island showcases a juxtaposition of natural stone and wood with a connected surface for casual meals. The small appliance garage features recessed doors that open smoothly and give a clean, seamless appearance when closed.                                                  

The massive sofa in the family room is smartly perched for TV watching and relaxing, but the setup was not the one originally conceived. When the designer found out about a structural column that was not on the plans that had been provided,  she tried to cancel “the most comfortable Baxter sofa you can get,” but it was too late. Instead, she moved the sofa’s placement and reworked her plans to include tables to accommodate the narrower footprint.                                           

When the renovation was complete after 11 months of construction, the aforementioned headaches were forgotten as soon as the homeowners walked through the front door. “They were every emotional when they saw the finished space,” says Fragali. “They like the residence so much, they’re spending more time here than they ever anticipated. That’s the best endorsement a designer can get.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Luciana Fragali, Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Text by Kelley Marcellus

Photography by Craig Denis, Miami, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources

Living room

Sofa – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Pillows – Missoni, missoni.com

Club chairs – Moroso, moroso.it

Animal print chair – Homeowners’ collection

Round cocktail table – RH, West Palm Beach, FL

Marble accent table – Kelly Wearstler, kellywearstler.com

Low console – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Floor lamp – Flos, flos.com

Area rug – Oriental Rugs, Miami, FL

Family Room

Sofa – Baxter, Miami, FL

Cocktail table – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Drink tables – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Pouf – Missoni, missoni.com

Wall cabinetry designed and fabricated by Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Area rug – Violetas Home Design, Coral Gables, FL

Powder Room

Cabinetry designed by Design/Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Fine Surfaces & More, Miami, FL

Mirror – Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Wallcovering – Elitis, elitis.fr

Indirect lighting – Fadecci Architectural Lighting, fadecci.com

Dining Area

Round table – Minotti, Miami, FL

Chairs – Cattelan, cattelanitalia.com

Lighting – Moooi, moooi.com

Stone bar designed by Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Ottomans – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Kitchen

Cabinetry and island designed and fabricated by Miacucina, Miami, FL

Stools – Jader Almeida, jaderalmeida.com

Pendant lighting – Tom Dixon, tomdixon.net

Primary Bathroom

Cabinetry designed and fabricated by Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Shower designed by Design/Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Builcore, North Bay Village, FL

Primary Bedroom

Bed – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Headboard – Casa Metier, casametier.com

Bedside chest – Pianca, pianca.com

Lighting – Atelier Alain Ellouz, atelier-alain-ellouz.com

Bench – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Chair – Anima Domus, Miami, FL

Wallcovering designed by Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Wood fabricated by Casa Metier, casametier.com

Mirror fabricated by Studio Glass Miami, studioglassmiami.com

Area rug – Violetas Home Design, Coral Gables, FL

Throughout

Builder – Builcore, North Bay Village, FL

Millwork – Design/Solutions, Miami, FL

Drapery – Casa Mayo Design, Miami, FL

Indirect lighting – Fadecci Architectural Lighting, fadecci.com

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