Old Florida Living Comes Of Age In College Park

An Eclectic Residence With Clean Architectural Lines And An Organic-Contemporary Flair Is Fashioned Into A Welcoming Home That Is One With Nature
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Brought to fruition by architect David Barrett, the aptly named, 4,000-square-foot "Tropical House," which is situated on an acre of land in the downtown Orlando suburb of College Park, features a modern, contemporary design and clean, angular lines. Forging a relationship between the construction of the house and the natural world, Barrett created a vision of contemporary green architecture and sustainable style, even building the home around its surrounding 100-year-old live oaks so as not to disturb their root systems. "We seek spirit in architecture," Barrett says, "and the two are inexorably intertwined. Each sacred place is an outgrowth of a poetic seed — a Gestalt — and my goal is to protect and celebrate the natural beauty of the environment."

"We worked hard to create a warm, comfortable and inviting environment for the owners to enjoy the home's dramatic architecture and the spectacular views," designer Robert Turner says.

Custom built for homeowner Summer Rodman and her husband, Steven McCall, this primary home reflects their casual sophistication, world travels and passion for Tibetan and Asian art, which is nonchalantly integrated into the decor. Clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows, open areas and varying roof heights create spaciousness, light and dramatic interior volumes that form a sanctuary for their busy lives. While the outside's verdant foliage elicits a sense of serenity and transcendence, so too does the use of natural materials indoors — bamboo flooring, cypress ceilings and walnut cabinetry — forming a seamless transition between inside and out. "The furniture, with its clean lines and minimalistic approach, is designed to engage and accentuate the architecture," says designer Robert Turner, who custom-created almost all of the home's furnishings.

Starting in the bright and airy great room, with its 15-foot-high, vaulted ceilings and picturesque views of the garden and lake, the designer created three seating groups to promote conversation and socializing in an intimate setting. Here, China White walls form a neutral background, allowing the tropical hues of light orange, pale green and citron to complement the cool terrazzo floors. "I created a warm and comfortable environment for my clients that reflects who they are; to have a great living space in which to live, play and entertain," Turner says.

"I've created a design for living with longevity and integrity that reflects my clients' lifestyles and opefully inspires them as well," says Turner, whose own inspirations come from Philippe Starck and Mies van der Rohe.

In the nearby kitchen, cabinetry composed of handcrafted, quartersawn walnut offsets the room's cool white Zodiaq quartz countertops, where curved edges hit a striking, geometric note with a contrast of textures. "Both Steven and I love to cook so the kitchen is the hub of our household," Rodman says. "And with the extra island space, we can cook together in peace."

Upstairs, French doors open out onto a balcony off Rodman's office, where mementos from her grandmother — antique hats and Japanese lamps — grace the shelves, rose-colored walls and fabrics emit a sunset hue, and flokati-covered 1950s lounge chairs, also a legacy from her grandmother, beckon with their shaggy white comfort. Double-pane, tinted windows reminiscent of shoji screens encourage natural light and modulate the heat from the sun.

"This room is modern with a soft touch," Rodman says of the guest room. "It's a peaceful and relaxing space."

These windows reappear in the guest room, where a custom-designed, floating-slab platform bed provides visual interest while echoing the light hue of the bamboo floor. In addition to Tibetan objets d'art collected on a sojourn to Tibet, Nepal and Thailand, Rodman's eclectic taste runs to Los Angeles artist Souther Salazar and Orlando painter Fritz Stinebaugh, whose formidable Kabuki dancer looks down from the wall, adding a dramatic intensity juxtaposed with the understated simplicity of this space. This refined look continues throughout the residence, resulting in a welcoming environment in which the owners feel very much at home.

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Interior Design
Robert Turner, CRT Studio, Inc., Winter Park, FL

Eric Cucciaioni, Winter Park, FL

David Barrett, Barrett Studio Architects, Boulder, CO

Text by
Jan Engoren