“She has a sparkle to her,” designer Susan Connor says of her client, whose family was relocating from Connecticut to Boca Raton. Connor wanted to capture her client’s relaxed glamour and bring it to her and her husband’s new home, but with three young and active boys in the equation, “we didn’t want to make it ‘a don’t-touch-me house,’ ” she recalls.
The residence in question was a Georgian-inspired house that was designed by architect Benjamin Schreier of Affiniti Architects and built by Mark Pulte of Mark Timothy, Inc. As much as the wife adored the traditional vernacular, she was eager to move away from the formality she was used to up North and embrace a more casual—albeit chic—way of living in keeping with their new Florida lifestyle. “I liked the simplicity and symmetry of the exterior, but I didn’t want things to be fussy inside,” she explains. “I’m more modern and edgy, even in the way I dress. I wanted it to be airy and light, not heavy.”
Certain details were already in place, starting with the strong and varied architectural elements—including the moldings and plasterwork on the ceilings—meaning that Connor didn’t need to add them as she often does. The wife also “fell in love with some of the fixtures and colors,” she says, so many of those remained. “But Susan tweaked what needed to be tweaked.”
To make things bright, youthful and fun but not ultramodern, Connor, working with her associates Vanessa Bugeja and Joyce Leung, kept to a cool, fresh palette that leans toward beige, gray and watery blues. Many of the furnishings, particularly in the formal living and dining rooms, are in crisp white “for a refreshing Florida look,” Connor points out.
The house is shot through with silvery touches that play off the cool shades because, despite her penchant for glamour, “I didn’t want a lot of gold,” says the wife. Instead, there are subtle flashes of silver to be found in the home’s decorative accents—in the dining room, say, where nailheads on the chairs and on the corners of a photograph’s frame sparkle, matching the owner’s own effervescence.
Connor eschewed antiques for the furnishings, preferring to stick to clean-lined pieces with a modern feel. Many, such as the dining room chairs and table, are bold and sculptural. Connor even gave some of the more traditional furnishings a contemporary edge. In the family room, the leather-clad sofas have cushions upholstered in a light fabric that tempers their heft (there are more silver nailheads, too). And the clean lines extends to the outdoor furniture, which is sleek yet comfortable.
While every space exudes a striking elegance, Connor kept the children’s needs in the forefront of her mind. The club room has plenty of storage for toys, and the study has been repurposed to function as a homework and project area. Even the living room takes the children into account. Connor split it in two, on one side creating “an intimate little seating area for grown-ups only,” she says. On the other, there’s a more informal seating area with sight lines into the club room. The homeowners can watch television there or enjoy the spectacular views of the Intracoastal Waterway just outside the doors while still keeping tabs on the boys.
For Connor, the project offered an unusual opportunity. “The house feels like an older home—not a new house,” she says. One made with good bones and full of character. “To be able to put a contemporary twist on the traditional architecture was great fun.”