Visitors to Miami are often seeking disparate but complementary pleasures: the tranquil tropical beauty of the ocean and the upbeat energy of the city. So when designers Peter Hawrylewicz and Ken Lieber took on a condo in Bal Harbour overlooking both vistas—the unfolding cityscape to the west and south, the limitless sea to the east—the challenge was to create a home that balances serenity and liveliness, comfort and surprise. “It’s the two faces of Miami,” says Hawrylewicz, who, along with Lieber, worked with project manager Nicholas Poole and project facilitator Maryury Herrera. “In the mornings, the owners use the side facing the ocean, and it’s very peaceful as the sun rises. At night, they get the allure of the glimmering lights downtown. To have both ambiences, and for them to reference each other in a dynamic way, that’s fabulous.”
From the moment one enters the expanded residence—the owners split an adjacent unit with their neighbors to carve out more space for extended family—the design exudes a subtle kinetic energy. In order to imply movement through a lengthy entry hall that leads to the combined living and dining area, for example, the floor and ceiling alike are clad in long horizontal cedar panels that seem to point the way. “There’s almost a swoosh feeling, like you’re being pulled through the passageway,” Hawrylewicz says. “And all of the boards vary in length to add some variety and interest.”
Further inside, Hawrylewicz and Lieber made an unconventional choice given the opulent setting of the building: using industrial materials like polished concrete for the floors and raw steel for the baseboards and crown moldings. But the rugged elements work in tandem with warm woods and the exacting, seamless precision required of the construction. A door in the entry hall, for example, disappears into the wall with a flush edge, while an octet of custom lights nestles into the ceiling beyond. “The client wanted fine craftsmanship and quality finishes, so we did not skimp on either. The ceiling alone looks like a work of art,” says Jad Lahoud, the project’s builder along with Nazih Hardan and business partner Mary Kayal. “The designers married materials together beautifully. They had such vision.”
Though white is often thought of as the signature color for South Florida modern, here a richer, darker palette was chosen, both to allow the clients’ colorful art collection to stand out and to yield to the natural light outside as well. “When you’re there, the ocean and the sky are these bright, bright Miami blues—intense and lovely,” Hawrylewicz says. “Our approach was not to compete with those colors but to actually do a muted palette that would enhance them.”
In the living room, for instance, comfy sand-hued sofas, custom walnut paddle-armed chairs and a dark taupe rug give off an earthy vibe. In the media room, a chocolate sofa and orange silk carpet keep things quiet and moody. Yet the kitchen, with its hand-plastered walls and bone-colored cabinetry, lends a sense of brightness, acting as a magnet for the owners and their guests to congregate. Lighting takes on a sculptural, artful quality throughout, as seen in the bronze chandelier with hand-blown glass spheres over the dining table.
But it’s the outdoor spaces that may be the most inviting. The clients often breakfast on the relaxed east terrace, while the west side includes an eight-person dining table poised for enjoying the sunset, as well as an adjacent lounge space allowed by the enlarged unit. “Because the view is so expansive,” Hawrylewicz says, “you walk out onto the terrace and you feel small, in the absolute best way possible.”