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In Record Time
By Emily Raphael | Photo: Portrait by Brett Hufziger | Interiors by William Bernard Design Group | April 12, 2017
William Bernard helps a hotel pro create his own hospitable home—very quickly.
Phil Cordell, who serves as the global head for focused service and Hampton brand management for Hilton Hotels and Resorts, spends as much time visiting hotels around the world as he does sleeping in his own bed. “I travel extensively for work during the week, so my home is my weekend respite,” he explains, “the place where I can unwind, relax and recharge.”
It was this very preference that brought him to the Venetian, a luxury residential development on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Although Cordell had lived there comfortably for years, when a prime corner unit on the 12th floor became available, he couldn’t help but snap it up. “The wraparound views are spectacular,” he says of the 1,925-square-foot space, which overlooks the beach, Intracoastal Waterway and downtown. “So I purchased this new home, but I wanted to ensure that we maximized the views—and incorporated the colors and elements of the sky, sand and water inside—creating a calming and comfortable space.”
Cordell enlisted the help of William Bernard—a Miami-based firm led by principals Tony Ferchak and Lorenzo B. Mollicone—to bring his vision to life. “They came highly recommended from friends, and after my first meeting with them, I knew that we were a match,” Cordell recalls. “Some firms try to impose their own design aesthetic, but their work reflects a wider range of styles. And most importantly, they incorporated my style, with their unique talents, to create a space that fits me perfectly.”
There were a few small hurdles the designers had to overcome. First, although the apartment was originally built with two bedrooms, the previous owners had combined the space into one big master suite, which Cordell wanted converted back. And secondly, Cordell needed the entire renovation to be complete in time for him to host his annual holiday party—which meant that William Bernard had a deadline of just a little over two months. “It was probably one of the fastest projects that we’ve ever done,” Ferchak explains. “When Phil gave me a completion date, I thought it was just a goal. I didn’t think he was really serious! I think we may have been installing the sectional sofa on the day of his party.”
“It was like a painting with a background and a foreground, taking pieces of the previous and new apartments and combining them into one,” Mollicone explains. The “painting” would be quickly executed. With no time to waste, the duo set straight to work, incorporating some of Cordell’s existing pieces with a careful mix of new furnishings, including Larry Laslo dining chairs, a Julian Chichester coffee table, Thayer Coggin swivel chairs and Arteriors light fixtures.
Because of the tight time frame, there was no time to have anything custom-made, save for the aforementioned sofa and some bar stools. Adding to the equation was Cordell’s impressive contemporary art collection, which includes numerous pieces from Rey Alfonso, a Miami-based, Cuban-born artist known for his bold, colorful works. “I commissioned a large custom piece of art from Rey for the dining room, and the design team found a way to float that beautiful piece on a glass wall,” Cordell explains, citing this as a wow factor.
“Phil is very high-energy, and this is reflected in his art and colors,” Mollicone notes. The designer focused on bringing oceanic elements into the design, incorporating pops of blues in throw pillows, kitchen tiles and the shag area rug in the living room. “It kind of brings the whole space together,” he explains of this exceptional piece. “It’s like the deep waters, with the aquas and the blues.” Another surface commands attention: the entrance to the residence boasts a full wall, inlaid with mother-of-pearl tiles, which undulates and reflects light like shells in the sea.
Of course, with Cordell’s strong hospitality background, the bedroom was important, and here Mollicone looked to continue the residence’s resort-like feel. Building upon a patterned area rug and zebra-striped footstools brought over from the client’s previous apartment, Mollicone selected a sleek tufted Davide bed by Nathan Anthony. He completed the space with a bright Ombra Peacock wallcovering by Romo. “Today, men are layering clothing with plaids and stripes and polka dots, and if it’s done right, it all works,” Mollicone explains about his inspiration. “It’s masculine in a fun way.” Sort of like a holiday at home.
William Bernard Design Group
Stefan floor torchiere lamps
Area rug in Mermaid
Caged Lantern pendant light
Studio A Crystal Slab lamps
LARRY LASLO FOR DIRECTIONAL
Stiletto armchairs and side chairs
Davide bed in walnut finish
Ombra Peacock wallcovering and pillow fabric
PINDLER & PINDLER
Bed upholstery and coverlet fabric
Custom sofa and throw pillow fabric
Wink stools and Zac swivel chair