A Light-Filled Oceanside Condo With Sea-Inspired Hues


The first thing a Canadian couple did after purchasing a 1960s Delray Beach condo overlooking the ocean was to strip the space down to its columns and bare structure. In place of its aging interiors and walled-off rooms, designers Allison Paladino and Zita Rudd, architect Mark Marsh and builder Phillip Maragos created an open plan that brings natural light deep into the space. “When they open the door, they undoubtedly know they are in Florida at the beach,” says Paladino.

The homeowners challenged Paladino and Marsh to design a crisp, modern space enlivened by color. Inside, a blend of clean-lined furniture, tactile surfaces and eye-catching artworks complete the cozy yet contemporary feel. A minimal but warm scheme marked by Paladino’s palette of blues and whites, along with marine-inspired accessories, allows sea, sand and sky to take center stage. “They really wanted to open it up, because it has magnificent views of the ocean and downtown Delray Beach,” Marsh says. “We elevated an ordinary unit to a much more airy, gracious and contemporary design.”

In addition to moving rooms and altering the ceiling detail, the construction also had to address architectural challenges, for which the team often employed a counterintuitive strategy of adding rather than trying to disguise. In the kitchen, for example, two columns at the center island were straddled with a lighting canopy and wrapped in stainless steel, almost like sculptural pieces anchoring the space. “I’ve learned your restrictions can often become your best assets,” says Maragos. “I do a lot of condo renovations and have had that occur over and over. ‘What are we going to do with this column or beam or window?’ It forces you to put so much thought into it that it becomes a feature.”

To complement the soft white of the limestone floors, as well as the golden hue of the maple cabinetry and the custom maple dining room table, Paladino selected a blue tone that is used throughout the space in different gradations. A pair of coffee cup swivel chairs enlivens the guest room, while a striking blue-tinted painting in the foyer gives way to the living room’s hand-tufted area rug paired with Giorgetti swivel chairs that recall seashells. “I gravitate toward those chairs in the main room,” the owner says. “Actually, the whole family does. We selected them for their style, but I’m amazed at how comfortable they are.”

Befitting the ocean landscape, so much of the home seems to float over the surface, be it the swivel chairs throughout or the bed in the master bedroom that rises a few inches off the carpet. Here, Paladino custom-designed a pair of cantilevered zebrawood bedside tables, with two tiers that rotate and open in different directions. “I think that it happened subconsciously, but it’s really effective,” she says. “The neutral palette—the consistency of these off-white tones we used—nothing feels very heavy in this apartment. The nightstands are probably a little more grounding, but the fact that they’re askew helps them feel more like sculpture.”

All told, the oasis over Delray Beach gives its owners a tranquil home to retreat to during Canadian winters. “We kept telling Allison the word ‘Zen,’ meaning we wanted a serene and uncluttered sort of feel,” the homeowner says. “Life’s busy, and this condo is our getaway from the snow and the usual pace of life.”