Tropical Mid-Century Modern

Collaboration Was Key In Creating This Indoor/Outdoor Masterpiece Made For This "Outdoors" Family

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How would Frank Lloyd Wright design a South Florida home in the 21st century? That's the question Sharon and Howard Srebnick asked themselves when envisioning a complete rebuild of their home located on the Venetian Causeway in Miami Beach, Fla. With its mid-century modern footprint and warm tropical touches, the 9,600-square-foot manse captures the owners' clean-lined aesthetic in a very welcoming way.

The tight-knit family, which includes two young children and two 90-pound Standard Poodles, lived previously on the double lot in a 1920s Russell Pancoast Mediterranean. So, it was only fitting that they hire an equally impressive architect to bring their new dream home to life.

Longtime friend of the owners, architect Ralph Choeff started from the ground up, completely clearing the previous home to sculpt this quintessential indoor/outdoor modern masterpiece. "The owners were very specific about their uses for the home and how they wanted it to look," Choeff says. "They wanted a house they could live in for many years and their children could grow up in. They also wanted areas with large overhangs that create expansive outdoor living spaces for entertaining in the shade.

For this "outdoorsy" couple — avid cyclists, who also paddleboard, swim, kayak and spend many weekends boating — it was paramount the home take advantage of its prime Biscayne Bay and South Beach views. "A lot of people design their home for the adults; we designed with our kids and all of their cousins in mind," Sharon says. "We wanted it very open, very welcoming and very kid-friendly."

From the moment one enters the home, a series of 10-foot-high sliding-glass doors opens to large roofed terraces outside — immediately capturing the home's indoor/outdoor essence. "When you walk in through the main living area, all you see is the bay," Sharon says. "With a view like that, who needs any other water features?"

When it came to furnishing the interior, the owners kept the water views at the forefront. To carry through their vision, they commissioned interior designer Charlotte Dunagan. Similar to Choeff, Dunagan started from scratch, purchasing new, low-profile furnishings and durable materials that could transition from formal to casual in an instant, adding in a very select few from the homeowners' previous collection, and custom designing several pieces throughout.

Just pass the stairway in the entry, the great room, which includes a formal living area, lounge area and bar, modern tropical takes full effect with dark woods, linear shapes and exotic fabrics. The living area features a chocolate raffia-backed sofa clad in white cotton. Leather-cushioned armchairs blend seamlessly with the lines of the sofa, while cowhide-patterned sheepskin stools punctuate with an exotic kick. Dunagan opted for a tufted creamy white leather daybed that "defines the two spaces without competing with the bar area," she says.

Limestone flooring flows from the great room to the dining area. Aside from the massive square pedestal table that seats 12 — a conversation piece in and of itself — what makes this space so architecturally interesting are the sliding-glass doors that can open to dine outdoors and the frosted-glass pocket doors that can close to give the room total privacy.

Upstairs, dark Ipe wood grounds the voluminous master bedroom. The couple was very specific about wanting a low-profile bed, so the designer accommodated with an off-white leather platform style by Zientte. To warm up and balance the room's dimensions, Dunagan draped the space in sheers and placed a shimmery taupe area rug underfoot. The cowhide-covered chair Sharon purchased from KMP as a gift for her husband adds a touch of whimsy.

Outside, the home's indoor/outdoor styling comes to a crescendo with an outdoor kitchen, cabana bath, living and dining areas, wraparound terraces and a second-floor recreation area specifically for the children's use. Accessed via a natural concrete stairway, polished to a high sheen so it looks like terrazzo, the recreation area features sliding-glass doors that open to a bird's-eye view of the pool area. Below, the outdoor kitchen with a cantilevered roof, a signature Choeff design, allows for entertaining al fresco rain or shine. Beyond, a pool with a shallow wading area and infinity-edge spa invites family and friends to take a dip — a perfect reflection of the homeowners in every way<./p>

Interior Design
Charlotte Dunagan, Atmosphere Creations, Inc., Miami, FL

Mark Surloff, North Miami, FL

Ralph Choeff, Choeff + Levy P.A., Miami, FL

Ignacio Hernandez, Solid Builders, Inc., Miami, FL

Text by
Heather L. Schreckengast