Fair and Square

Certainly Fair In Both Palette And Design, This Amazing Condo Has Squares To Spare

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Danielle Deperro, a South Florida-based designer, was familiar with the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. Situated on a stunning strand of white sand looking east toward the Atlantic Ocean and sweeping west toward the city's skyline, the building has been transformed into a luxury hotel with eight floors of high-end private residences. With the many amenities connected to a luxury hotel — concierge, restaurants and spas — the top floors' homeowners have the best of both worlds.

When the new purchasers of a 7,500-square-foot "empty shell" on the 21st floor stepped into one of DePerro's completed Ritz-Carlton residences, they loved what they saw and jumped at the chance to work with the designer. Merging a large, traditional Mediterranean residence in Weston, Fla., with this smaller condo on the coast also gave an opportunity to explore a streamlined vision of pale palette and pared-down luxury. With three grown children, these owners wanted four mini-suite bedrooms, plenty of room for grand-style entertaining, and lots and lots of light. And they would love it to be completed within eight months.

"In a space without walls, but with a nine-foot ceiling and plenty of condominium pipes and vents, we had our work cut out for us," the designer says. Yet DePerro considers hers a boutique firm, and working with longtime collaborator, builder Joe DiMauro, she felt sure of her team. "There were several particular challenges," she says. "Given the ceiling heights, I wanted the mix of varying depths to fool the eye into imagining great volume. Arranging 'squares' and reflective surfaces accomplished that goal."

The entrance was without distinction — merely an entry door. DePerro created a rotunda punctuated by frosted-glass panels that pull in light. After taking advantage of the 2,500 feet of wrap-around balcony, which allows each room one of many breathtaking views, DePerro was left with a wide central corridor connecting the activity areas with the entry. She solved the problem by purposing it as a transitional space, where a grand piano, doubled by a megalithic mirror, sits unabashedly in the middle to calm the traffic flow and prepare guests for the main social area beyond.

The use of squares … small, large, shallow and deep … came from both DePerro and the owners' interest in lighting. "To adapt the many recessed and cached lighting elements, I layered geometric shapes lavishly on the ceilings," the designer says. And the motif repeats in floors, walls and fabrics so that the resulting ambiance is a sustained harmony of shapes.

From the elegant balcony off the living room, rectangular steps of marble are an outdoor hint of the symmetry that lies within. Just inside, the central corridor puts squares and rectangles on display with painterly shadow boxes of amber venetian glass, echoed by swirls of white Venetian-glass lighting panels above — all set in rich wenge. The corridor flooring, a mélange of walnut and three shades of marble, resembles a work of Italian pietre dure.

Drama opens to the welcoming living room, where a wine room and open bar await one of the owners' many parties. To add sculptural form to the space, DePerro designed a chocolate leather bench that is by turns wave-like and tailored, and she chose a free-form Fusion Z glass fixture for its ebb and flow. "Because of the many windows, there really wasn't much room for art," she says. "The glass sculpture, with its happy LED lights, adds sparkle and whimsy."

From the custom-designed kitchen cabinetry with its sleek and reflective surfaces to the pure voluptuousness of the butternut leather sofas in the family room, natural and artificial light sing back and forth. Addressing the issue of too much light, DePerro customized motorized window shades throughout, but did not detract from the sweep of the view when she positioned the television in a floating étagère that directly fronts a window.

As elsewhere, surface tension reigns in the bedroom — soft and furry; glistening and lacquered; rounded and posh, and tiled and squared. The result is a luxurious fervor of shapes that at night becomes a twinkling heaven ... a very fair haven indeed.

Interior Design
Danielle DePerro with Leigh Serling, D. DePerro Design, Inc., Lantana, FL

Robert Brantley, Delray Beach, FL

Interior Architecture
Thomas Benedict, The Benedict Group, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL

Joe DiMauro, JSD Builders, Inc., Boca Raton, FL

Text by
Marina Brown