Seasonal Escape


Soft Sensibility Sets The Tone For Furnishings And Accessories Selected And Installed In A Fort Lauderdale Estate In Record Time

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One would be hard-pressed to conjecture how long it would take to furnish and accessorize a grand-scaled estate, but certainly several months would be reasonable. This was not the case for a waterfront estate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that had just been purchased by a northern couple. It was well into Florida's "high season" when they phoned designer Annie Santulli after seeing her work in Florida Design. Nonetheless, they wanted to move into the home in four weeks to take advantage of the remainder of the season. Purchasing and installing all the furnishings and accessories for the 13,000-square-foot interior plus the loggia, terraces and guesthouse in a marathon four weeks could prove to be a formidable challenge. Not so for Santulli. "I walked in and the home had a vibe I really liked," she says.

Indeed the gleaming white, two-story California Mission-style structure with bold, wide, curved arches is poetic in looks and quality. So much so that the owners opted out of first-floor window treatments so they could fully enjoy the architecture and outdoor vistas.

Situated courtyard style around the centerpiece pool, the house boasts terraces enclosed by wrought iron railings that border the rooms on the entire second story. Originally custom built for people who then chose a different home, the floors shone in beautifully patterned Jerusalem Limestone, the kitchen and bathrooms showcased top of the line appliances and facilities, and the walls throughout were clad in lustrous white Venetian Plaster. "That was the big break for this house," Santulli says. "The architecture and clean palette afforded me unlimited possibilities, not locking me into a specific look."

Initially the owners sent Santulli a large assortment of pictures. The photos established the couple's preferences of muted colors, a primarily contemporary style and a home where they could kick back and relax. To fulfill her four-week commitment, Santulli first contacted her best resources and put them on alert. She then utilized an efficient formula she devised which completely involved the owners. For each specific area in the home, she provided a trio of compatible options from which they could choose. "To keep things uncomplicated, all the furniture I picked works together in all the options," Santulli says.

The preponderance of stately arches that define the home's exterior serves as prelude to the interior. Once in the living room, perfectly proportioned floor-to-ceiling glazed, arched windows invite a panoramic view of the couple's 90-foot yacht. The monochrome off-white palette induces the calming yet low-key elegance desired. An Ipe Cavalli sofa and companion armchairs form a social grouping hearthside, while paintings with soft blues and muted tones of white add a dollop of color above two Allegra consoles.

For comfort in the family room, the white American Leather sectional sofa renders enough seating for a small crowd to watch a game together. Stone International's cocktail table, accentuated with an inset of marble, offers ample space to hold snacks and beverages.

In contrast, a pleasant formality upholds the requisite overall comfort in the dining room. Here, handsome Ferguson Copeland linen-clad chairs, adorned with silver nailheads, surround the striking mahogany table that easily accommodates a party of 10.

For casual dining, the breakfast area and kitchen offer an upbeat, sun-filled environment. Beautiful in simplicity, a clear glass-topped Bontempi Casa table opens large enough to serve as a buffet, while four modern Nuevo stools pull up to the counter in the kitchen lined with classic white cabinetry topped in polished Jerusalem Limestone. Replete with a dark mahogany beamed ceiling, the relaxing space proves perfect for a light lunch or possibly watching the cook whip up a meal.

Just outside, the beckoning loggia continues the social spaces. With complete consistency, all of the seating for conversation and dining is shaped in dark brown wicker that repeats in the furnishings on the upstairs terraces.

With the clock quickly ticking, Santulli totally furnished and accessorized the house within the four-week deadline as promised. And for the remainder of the high season, the couple enjoyed the enviable South Florida climate while entertaining family and friends at home.

Interior Design
Annie Santulli, Annie Santulli Designs, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Photography
Robert Brantley, Delray Beach, FL

Architecture
Randall Stofft, Randall Stofft Architecture, Delray Beach, FL, and Naples, FL

Builder
Rodney Sarkela, Seppala Corporation, Boynton Beach, FL

Landscape Architecture
Dan Remy, The Tree Team, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Text by
Roberta Klein