Two Of A Kind

A Designer And His Client Think And See As One To Create An Eclectic Home In South Florida

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After the third property designed by Fred Furze and Linda Bard for their creative and accomplished client, the designer and the homeowner now see and think as one. There was the home in Jupiter, Fla., a place near Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and, of course, the 86-foot yacht — all styled for the owner by Furze and Bard. Yet the new property, while exuding a contemporary feel like the others, would be different.

The smallest of all the properties they designed for the client, this project — which started as a modest renovation that progressed to a full-scale rebuild with a new master wing and pool — became “the house my client likes the best of all,” Furze says. Situated on winding canals of deep water in Fort Lauderdale’s venerable Las Olas neighborhood, Furze and Bard saw a dated 4,500-square-foot house born of the Mediterranean craze. Wanting a home that would be comfortable, stylish, liveable, and most of all, functional, the client and designers conceived and transformed this home built around an existing banyan tree. “It was a trick to build a pool so near the tree. But it’s one of the main reasons my client bought this property,” the designer says. “It took two years from design to move-in, but with the exception of the flooring, this is a new house top to bottom, front to back.”

A front facade of stacked pebbles and limestone-wrapped pillars, introduced by a Furze-designed, woven-iron gate and grate fencing, sets the tone for the dramatically designed interior. Guests may linger momentarily before entering on a dais-like platform, where the first of many whimsical objects d’art dangles from a rope.

Inside, an open living room flows toward a dining room, kitchen, and media room that all front the pool and the banyan tree. Here, Furze and Bard used vibrant tones in complementary contrast to rich walnut and a neutral gray palette. Smoky stacked lava-stones form the fireplace wall, while purple and gray tones combine in the sofa from Holly Hunt. Furze designed the cocktail table of grained and burled walnut and leather so that “the owner can feel free to prop up his feet in comfort,” he says. Using the oranges and purples, artist Laura DiNello’s reclining figure above the fireplace and Adriana Hoyos’ beaded sculpture in the hall provide artistic focal points.

With unique wood-paneled wall covering from Maya Romanoff, the dining room seems iridescent beneath the softly illuminated crystal “seeds” from Ochre. The designers didn’t shy from adding pattern and textures that can easily stand on their own. The platinum area rug from Tai Ping is crafted of looped and cut silk and wool that form layered lattices.

Just beyond a hallway styled with the homeowner’s treasures, the kitchen is filled with natural light that spills through transom windows. Here, organic drama is understated with slate-veneer cabinetry, a burnished granite top, and sophisticated Berman Rosetti barstools seated in saddle-stitched leather and bronze, and topped by chip-hewn walnut backs. With a backdrop of utilitarian-white cabinetry, the collection of orange glass pods above suspend the eye.

The client’s last home had a mega-sized media room for watching full-length films and their Broadway counterparts. Combining the art of staging with sheer “lay-back-and-relax” comfort, this media space seems to laugh out loud. As if a child had his way with a quilt, patterns and colors tumble in fun with Roche Bobois’ “Mah Jong” modular sofa and edgy pink club chairs. Dancing in time with the sofa, the custom wall-to-wall carpet isn’t out of step.

An inventor of numerous household bestsellers and generous with wisdom to other entrepreneurs, the owner is unendingly creative and always on the go. Yet in this house, Furze and Bard believe their client has found home. A place of comfort and functionality that calls out for him to put his feet up — even as he plans his next business venture.

Interior and Architectural Design
Fred Furze and Linda Bard, Furze Bard + Associates, Hollywood, FL

Ken Hayden, Miami Beach, FL

Architect of Record
Art Bengochea, A S Bengochea Architects, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Bill Bentz, WA Bentz Construction, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Text by
Marina Brown