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By Riki Altman-Yee | Photo: by Robin Hill | Architecture & Design by SDH Studio | October 4, 2017
The owner of a Boca bachelor pad wants his guests to feel as comfortable as he is.
As gritty man caves go the way of the Neanderthals, one modern gentleman in South Florida envisioned a masculine space that spoke to his practicality and playfulness when he commissioned a 6,100-square-foot streamlined palace in Boca Harbour. Dreaming of fuss-free environs both inside and out, the young former Midwesterner called on the talents of architectural designer Stephanie Halfen of SDH Studio in Miami. “The challenge was to make it warm and cozy but cutting-edge,” Halfen recalls. “He wanted a contemporary home that felt warm and inviting where he would be comfortable entertaining.”
“I love a modern/contemporary house but I felt most houses of that style are cold and impractical,” the homeowner explains. “You’re afraid to touch or use anything. And if one thing is out of place, the house looks dirty. Stephanie understood what I was looking for.” Halfen instinctively knew the home should reflect the spaciousness of a loft, yet offer intimate gathering areas throughout, all pulled together with the use of natural materials, like wood, stone and glass. Custom ipe wood doors, a generous glass balcony and stone facades matching the driveway hint at the manly ambience inside, where guests enter into a sunlight-bathed double-height living space. Above, bridges connect the second floor rooms, while directly ahead is a soothing view of a canal leading to the Intracoastal. “The canal gives a Zen feeling as if the water runs inside the home,” Halfen explains.
Then there’s the pièce de résistance holding court in the center of the first-floor space—the homeowner’s informal invitation for guests to quickly let loose and relax: an edgy metal and wood pool table from Hurricane Custom Billiards. “My favorite piece in the house is the pool table,” the homeowner says. “Beyond that it is really hard to choose a favorite: There is a beautiful large fan in my room that I love, my office has a retro-looking Aviator desk and chair from Restoration Hardware, and I have an old movie production spotlight in my living room.” Aside from the custom pool table, the homeowner’s mother, who happens to be Wellington-based interior designer Florence Flameng, sourced all the furnishings.
Working within a palette of white, gray and brown, the interior architect and the designer managed to work in soft neutrals, including large-format porcelain tiles, stainless steel railings, ipe-clad ceilings, and even river rocks hiding under stairs near the entry. Halfen called on Mia Appliances for stainless steel Wolf and SubZero kitchen workhorses and MiaCucina to design complementary kitchen and bathroom cabinets that look polished, but could withstand a fair amount of active use—not unlike the rest of the home. “The owner wanted something ‘bulletproof’ for when he entertained,” Halfen explains.
The homeowner also requested a traffic flow that would allow him to enjoy hosting. “This layout really allows me to have an eye on everything and be able to relax as well,” he says. As guests typically tend to congregate in the kitchen, Halfen created openness so they can move easily to the living room. From there, large telescoping glass doors provide a direct view of and access to the pool and a barbecue area, while the family room leads directly to the pool deck. Halfen designed the landscape, complete with a Jet Ski launch and outdoor television area, and the pool, with touches the homeowner suggested, like submerged seating so his guests could sip cocktails while staying cool, and a Jacuzzi for endless soaking.
Unsurprisingly, the homeowner’s friends from Chicago are quick to visit and not at all eager to leave, so he and Halfen were keen to accommodate long-term stays. Even with five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms, on rainy days the crew can be found huddling in the owner’s favorite space: his home theater. “I love to make homemade popcorn there and have friends over for a movie or to watch the MMA fights,” he says. Even his office, with its personalized aviation-themed furnishings from Restoration Hardware, includes ample seating courtesy of a plush sofa from ACP Home Interiors in Deerfield Beach. It is matched with a durable coffee table, originally from India, that has been in the owner’s family for more than three decades.
Perhaps the only room specifically designed for privacy is the master suite, boasting a second-floor terrace with a fire pit and the best water views in the house. But even that room is reachable by swanky spiral staircase from the backyard, so chances are his visitors won’t be apt to let him sleep in. Halfen says she suspects that is perfectly fine with the man of the house: “He wanted other people to feel it was their home.”
ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN
ACP Home Interiors
Den sofa, dining room table
Staircases and railings
Living room Como khaki fabric modular sofa
Hansgrohe kitchen and bathroom fixtures
Fine Surfaces and More
Neolith kitchen countertops
Bedroom Gunter II floor lamp
Hurricane Custom Billiards
The Predator pool table
Large format porcelain tiles throughout
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, kitchen appliances
Mr. Glass Doors and Windows
Sliding glass doors
Regency Pool + Spa
Office Aviator Wing desk and chair, master bedroom bed, night table, trunk and Oviedo leather chaise, living room floor lamp, Aspen outdoor chaises