Sophisticated Touches Warm Bal Harbour Geometric Marvel

A family home with modern lines proves that in geometry there can be style, sophistication, warmth and comfort


angles, cantilevers, floating stairs, suspended ceilings and vast, vast volume describe the elements we associate with contemporary architectural élan. And indeed, in this modern 11,724-square-foot Bal Harbour home designed by interior designer Deborah Wecselman and architect Ralph Choeff there is all of that. Yet, this waterfront residence was built to be called “home” by a growing family of five. A home where the ability to entertain, to welcome family and friends, and to remain a haven, both indoors and out, was paramount. “Our goal was to custom design every space by carefully blending proportion, light and natural materials to most honestly reflect the way this family wants to live,” Wecselman says. “It was about creating a home with a soul.”

Choeff was commissioned for his philosophy of blurring the grandeur of nature inside and out. Calling it “midcentury modern with tropical materials,” Choeff positioned his design to capture the expansive views of Biscayne Bay’s waterway and to invite that ambience inside.

Working with Wecselman, the two found communality in their love of natural textures. The entry’s walls and offset door are of lustrous Ipe and matched with the boldness of pale coral stone and travertine. Together, the materials are carried inside, wrapping the walls and transitioning into the “presentation room,” a formal social space beneath a ceiling soaring 24 feet high. Though there is an elevator, the stairway and the wall beside it are not only functional, but together create a kind of ascending sculpture along the entry. Wecselman introduced small bronze vertical insets scattered like shafts of metallic rain along the travertine wall.

From the second floor, the view looks down to the dining area — and ten vertical wooden elements. Wecselman designed the sculptural “moveable wall” to visually control the volume of the individual social spaces. “They are clad in walnut with bronze edge detailing and swivel around a metal support,” she says. Designed to be open, closed, angled separately or in unison, the head-turning concept offers unique utility.

A wife’s office presents both streamlined modernity and a more feminine tradition. Strategically positioned beside a large gathering room, a busy mother can accomplish desk work even as she pays attention to children a door away.

The master suite’s vista stretches across the water toward glittering city lights. Here, Choeff created an expansive balcony faced in Ipe, but which, per his plan, will one day support cascading vines — the blur of in and out again on display. Wecselman kept the bedroom’s colors pale and soft against the upstairs flooring of warm woods.

Yet it is from the rear that the drama dazzles. Almost like an illuminated stage set, both the beauty and the organization of space is on display. Upstairs, from the leafy master bedroom balcony and the Ipe sunscreen that is cantilevered over the outdoor kitchen, the scene moves left where the gym’s vertical screening can be seen through two-story windows. Further left, another “mini-master suite” shares a lofty tropical view. Downstairs, through a family room, the dark coil of a spiral stairway ascends to a roof terrace surrounded by glass balustrades.

From the nearly Olympic-size pool with its cascading infinity-edge, to an open-invitation to Mother Nature to take part in the evolution of this home, both Choeff and Wecselman are proud of its outcome — a showplace — and most importantly, a home.

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Deborah Wecselman, Wecselman Design, Miami, FL

Architecture by Ralph Choeff, Choeff Levy Fischman, Miami, FL

Builder David Adler, Adler Companies, Miami, FL

Landscape Architecture by Urban Robot, Miami Beach, FL

Text by Marina Brown

Photography by Kris Tamburello, Miami, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

front exterior

Ipe wood siding – International Hardwoods of Miami, Inc., Hialeah, FL

Travertine stone siding and steps – MGM

Designs & Co., Miami, FL

Oolite stone and installation by The Castle Maker, Cutler Bay, FL

Water element – Contra, Miami, FL

Fabricated by Reef Tropical Pool & Landscape, Key Largo, FL

Glass wall – Clear Choice Windows & Doors, Doral, FL

Fabricated by Crawford-Tracey Corporation, Deerfield Beach, FL

Front door – Roatan Mahogany USA, Inc.,

Coral Gables, FL


Console – Robicara, Miami, FL 

Artwork – Smith Davidson Gallery, Miami, FL 

Stairway and wall treatment – Custom designed by Wecselman Design, Miami, FL

Railing and wall treatment fabricated by Custom Metal Solutions, Miami, FL

Stairway fabricated by Adler Companies, Miami, FL

formal sitting room

Sofas and wall sconces – Restoration Hardware, Aventura, FL

Cocktail table, mirror and area rug – Addison House, Miami, FL

Round occasional tables – Kelly Wearstler,

Judith Norman, Hollywood, FL

Vintage occasional tables – Owners’ Collection

Stone wall treatment – Opustone,

Miami, FL

Fabricated by RETC Tile, Inc., Miami, FL

Floor lamp – Aqua Creations, Addison House, Miami, FL

Book stand – Artefacto, Aventura, FL

Petrified wood totems – Addison House,

Miami, FL

Artwork – Smith Davidson Gallery, Miami, FL

dining room

Dining table – Owners’ Collection

Dining chairs – Addison House, Miami, FL

Centerpiece and sculptural partitions – Custom designed by Wecselman Design, Miami, FL

Partitions fabricated by Hector & Hector, Miami, FL

Artwork – Smith Davidson Gallery, Miami, FL

Area rug – Niba Designs, Miami, FL

kitchen/breakfast area

Cabinetry, island and wall treatment – Downsview Kitchens, DCOTA, Dania Beach, FL   

Countertops – Opustone, Miami, FL

Counter stools – Artefacto, Aventura, FL

Light fixture and dining table – Restoration

Hardware, Aventura, FL

Side chairs – Minotti, Miami, FL    


Desk – Restoration Hardware, Aventura, FL 

Desk chair, armchair and accent table – Holly Hunt, Miami, FL 

Artwork – Smith Davidson Gallery, Miami, FL

Area rug – Niba Designs, Miami, FL

master bedroom

Bed, chest, bench, armchairs, ottomans,

accent table, reading lamps, chandelier and

area rug – Restoration Hardware, Aventura, FL

master bath

Tub – Waterworks, Miami, FL

Chandelier – Restoration Hardware,

Aventura, FL

Wall covering – Custom designed by Wecselman Design, Miami, FL

Fabricated by CH Mosaic, New York, NY

Accent table – Addison House, Miami, FL

Flooring – Ceramix Matrix, Miami, FL

patio/pool area

Pool – Custom designed by Choeff Levy Fischman, Miami, FL

Fabricated by Reef Tropical Pool & Landscape, Key Largo, FL

Chaise lounges and umbrellas – Restoration Hardware, Aventura, FL    


Owners’ representation – Amicon, Miami, FL

Structural work – Renco Shell, Coral Gables, FL

Recessed lighting – Kreon, Miami, FL, and

Element Lighting, Miami, FL

Flooring – Paris Ceramics, New York, NY

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