A Modern Affair

Love Is A Funny Thing … You Don't Know If It Will Strike You Head On Or Build To Something Beautiful

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In the case of this 7,000-square-foot Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home created by designer Ken Crawford for his Tennessee client, excitement grew with each new color, texture and finish. The result — homeowners head-over-heels in love with their new house.

Crawford designed the home for the young family as a second residence and every facet is a departure from the traditional luxury of the their northern home. On a corner lot facing both the Intracoastal Waterway and a side canal, the three levels of gleaming white geometry set a new direction for the neighborhood. But one that has Holiday Boat Parade vessels halting in awe to gaze at the luminous structure.

Given carte blanche, Crawford came aboard to design the home with the owners' concept first and foremost in his mind. "My client said it should be contemporary, relaxed and that his favorite color was red," Crawford says. "After that he was absolutely fearless." And yes, it was the husband who became fully engaged in the design process. "We're both from the South," the designer says. "We understood each other."

Hugging the corner with biaxial water views, the family room proves that simplicity contains the ingredients of sheer drama. In pure white, Roche Bobois' leather sofas transform into reclining chaises and back to sculpturally elegant seating. Stealing a scene from the era of modern classics, a custom red "cup" chair designed by Jai Jalan joins Domus Design's glass and chrome cocktail table atop a plush, retro area rug. Yet, the most dramatic aspect is the ever-changing view. To keep it pristine, Crawford designed a nearly structural console from which a television ascends.

With the formal living room jettisoned, an atrial entry takes its place with a message: "Have fun and relax!" A contemporary blue felt and nickel billiard table bids welcome surrounded by Intracoastal Waterway views that open to a cantilevered stairway and a sleek Italian-influenced dining area to the right. Wrapped in glass, the walnut-clad stairway appears to float in space. Escher-like, it seems to both come and go. A custom sculpture is in the works for the small dais beneath the risers.

The formal dining area, like the other first level spaces, is given a uniquely Italian sensibility with marble flooring polished to a high sheen. An Andrea Lucatello glass-top table dominates surrounded by slim-backed, white leather chairs base-edged in stainless steel. Shades of blue mimic the sky and waterway as the custom glass centerpiece and a shiny stainless steel tower by artist Martin Schreiber pick up all of the reflected hues.

Facing the less active canal, a breakfast area, kitchen and intimate lanai align to form the favorite gathering place for family and friends. In the kitchen, subtle gray leather counter stools by Cattelan Italia sit like quotation marks beside Innovative's warm wood cabinetry topped with glistening tiger marble, while the breakfast area serves up both bounty and fun … a place for board games and kibitzing with the cook.

Refusing to be taken all too seriously, the media room's massive walnut door slides fully open to reveal the billiard table's fun. Stainless steel accents carry into the space, where Bonaldo's sleek, squeeze-waisted table sits in perfect complement to the sofa's pumpkin-colored coverings from Romo. Crawford suggested the bold orange viewing sofa for family or friends to gather in a brotherly heap as they watch the full-wall screening of a favorite film.

Just upstairs, a glass balustrade keeps the view into the soaring central atrium unimpeded as it seems to jut outward toward the pool. This floating catwalk connects the second floor's two wings — one given to the guest and children's rooms, the other to the master suite.

With his eye now educated to contemporary aesthetics, the owner wished to remain "architectural" even in the master suite. "We chose a stainless and lacquer bed, and wide bedside tables for their elegance and stark simplicity," the designer says. "The hanging pendants also reflect the minimalist approach … which in the end gives each piece heightened interest."

In the master bath, Crawford used every inch to insinuate something luxurious. A freestanding island of polished walnut strips and white lacquered cabinetry holds his-and-her vanities — each with its own built-in television. A ladies make-up space sits beside a cube-shaped soaking tub seemingly perched along the skyline to take in the view along the waterway. Artist William Braemer's red-toned paintings, Spring Bouquet 2 in the bath and Lady Rothko above the bed in the master suite, were commissioned especially for these spaces.

Though each of the dozens of glass openings can be closed with electric shades, it is the relationship of the home to its setting which sets it apart. In this house, the difference between indoors and out is only a perception. Considering himself to live in a home of enchantment where even a sculpture looks as if it has come to life, it is understandable why from time to time the owner still sends messages to his designer saying: "I love my house … thank you. I really, really love my house."

Kenneth Crawford, Kenneth Crawford Interiors, Hollywood, FL

Jerry Lang, Boynton Beach, FL

George Brewer, George Brewer Architecture, Delray Beach, FL

Bomar Builders, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL

Photo Shoot Production Director
Jerry Lang, Boynton Beach, FL

Text by
Marina Brown