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  Issue 19-4

  GLASS BOX
One Couple’s Penchant For The Cutting-Edge Design In Contemporary
Hotels Brings Inspiration To This House By The Bay

 


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ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
Ralph Choeff,
Ralph Choeff Architect P.A., Miami, FL

BUILDER
Jay Meiselman,
Jay Construction Co., Bay Harbor Islands, FL

TEXT
Robin Gelfand

PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark Surloff, North Miami, FL


 

"BUILDING ONE’S DREAM home calls for important and often life-altering decisions. Luckily, for the couple that built this stunning 6,900-square-foot Miami Beach estate, several answers were as clear as the glass that wraps it. Choosing a location was simple. During morning walks around their beach community of Surfside, Fla., the couple’s desires went in the same direction as their strides: Biscaya Island, an exclusive neighborhood whose architecturally significant homes are outdone only by the spell- binding bay views this private oasis provides. Identifying a style was easy too. These frequent travelers to New York City and Europe gravitate toward modern, both in the hotels they choose, as well as at home.

But the real no-brainer was selecting an architect. The couple’s choice — architect Ralph Choeff, whose scope of work features high-profile projects such as the Mondrian hotel on South Beach, a SoHo hotel in Manhattan, and a roster of celebrity residences including those of actors Matt Damon and Edward James Olmos.

“White lets your brain expand and ease itself,” says architect Ralph Choeff,
who enlists the most basic of colors to showcase the architectural artistry.

Drawing upon his vast experience in the architectural genre of mid-century modern, Choeff set about fulfilling the couple’s vision. Unobstructed water views and an allowance for copious natural light topped the wish list, making glass the material of choice. Paired with other contemporary elements like clear anodized aluminum and natural concrete, the result is a modern marvel. Friends call them “gutsy,” but as the homeowners see it, “living in a glass box” has its benefits — most notably, the vista it gives. “You walk in and it hits you,” the husband says. “There’s something about staring out at the water. The blood pressure tends to lower a few notches.”

Besides the therapeutic effect of limitless bay views, these busy business travelers derive calm from minimalist surroundings. “Our inspiration comes from our travels, specifically modern hotels,” says the husband, who hoped to capture that same untroubled elegance at home. “It’s all about simple lines.”

To gain the desired minimalist feel, Choeff did not stray from the same color — or absence thereof — that he uses across the board on all his projects. “White lets your brain expand and ease itself,” Choeff says. “Wherever I want to go, I can go with white.” White-painted walls throughout allow the subdued tones of natural materials like the lime- stone floors and poured concrete stairs to pop, where they might otherwise become lost in the colorful shuffle. Fabrics, too, like Zanotta’s aubergine in the living room, are intentionally kept subtle, so the home’s architectural detailing retains top billing. In keeping with the transparency motif, two-story glass windows immerse the living and dining rooms in daylight, elucidating one of Choeff’s chief architectural philosophies: the maximization of natural light serves to increase the grandeur of a space.

“When you come home from a hard day’s work, you want to feel like you’re on vacation,” choeff says.
“You wash your mind of everything, or at least try to.”

Just beyond the ultra-modern kitchen wrapped in light oak, the media room best captures the recreational spirit of the house. Grid-backed chrome Knoll stools face the open-shelved, fully equipped custom bar, where cocktails and smoothies are mixed to the sound of piped-in lounge music. The party inevitably spills onto a pool deck rivaling any found in the toniest of South Beach boutique hotels.

“When you come home from a hard day’s work, you want to feel like you’re on vacation,” Choeff says. And having successfully achieved a resort-like feel in their magnificent residence on the bay, the owners can easily proclaim that their favorite getaway is the very place they call home.

Click Here to View Interior Design Sources

Rear Exterior
Sofa, dining table, chairs, chaise lounge and cocktail table - Gandia Blasco, Clima Outdoor, Miami, FL
Barstools - Emeco, Design Within Reach, New York, NY
Pool - Custom designed by Ralph Choeff Architect P.A., Miami, FL, and Jay Construction Co., Bay Harbor Islands, FL
Elevated al fresco dining and bar area - Custom designed by Ralph Choeff Architect P.A., Miami, FL
Built-in sofa, and alfresco dining and bar area fabricated by Jay Construction Co., Bay Harbor Islands, FL
Glass surround on the skywalk/sun deck - Conti Glass Corp., Miami, FL

Living Room
Sofas - Zanotta, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL
Armless wicker chairs - Republic of Fritz Hansen, Design Within Reach, New York, NY
Cocktail tables and console planter - Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL
Centerpieces and floor vases - Absolute Flowers, Surfside, FL
Artwork - Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
Stairway - Custom designed by Ralph Choeff Architect P.A., Miami, FL
Fabricated by Jay Construction Co., Bay Harbor Islands, FL
Railing fabricated by Conti Glass Corp., Miami, FL
Lounge chair on second floor mezzanine - Cassina, Design Within Reach, New York, NY

Dining Room
Table - Custom designed and fabricated by Madison Millwork & Cabinet Co., Hollywood, FL
Side chairs - Knoll, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL
Centerpieces - Absolute Flowers, Surfside, FL
Chandelier - Owners’ Collection

Kitchen
Cabinetry - Madison Millwork & Cabinet Co., Hollywood, FL
Counter stools, Gaggenau hood, Viking cooktop, double oven, microwave and refrigerator - Owners’ Collection

Media Room
Sofas and cocktail table - B&B Italia, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL
Barstools - Knoll, Design Within Reach, New York, NY
Sharp flat screen TV and pendants - Owners’ Collection
Bar and shelving - Custom designed by Ralph Choeff Architect P.A., Miami, FL
Bar, shelving and stainless-steel cabinetry fabricated by Madison Millwork & Cabinet Co., Hollywood, FL

Throughout
Millwork and molding - Madison Millwork & Cabinet Co., Hollywood, FL

 

 

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