“Waterfront homes typically demand a more casual look that pays homage to their coastal surroundings, but when one of the owners is a fashion executive, high style also has to come into play. The design challenge lies in balancing the two. That’s why a Delray Beach couple called on designer Terri Pakravan, who had already worked with them on a previous house and knew their tastes when they were ready to build a new one. “The overall concept was ‘elegant beach,’ ” Pakravan says, “not too casual but a little bit glam, because she is definitely glamorous—high heels every day.”
But first, the couple had to find the right property for their family with two young children. They put letters in dozens of mailboxes, asking coastal homeowners if they might be willing to sell. One of just two replies they got back happened to be for the perfect location on the Intracoastal.
Once the previous ranch house came down, the couple approached architect Richard Jones and builders Thomas Laudani and Patrick Whyte to design and construct a house in the Bermuda style, which channels the island’s mix of a tropical vibe and British formality. “The design concept was based on the home’s proximity to the waterfront,” Jones says of the layout. “We created an L-shaped plan to maximize views to the water.” The main living spaces open onto a covered loggia and pool terrace, effectively creating an outdoor room and entertaining area as an extension of the home. Pakravan specified details such as blue-and-white accent tiles on the loggia’s steps. “It makes a big impression that they’re a bit more custom,” she says.
The custom elements abound inside, as well, starting with a vibrant Moroccan bowl Pakravan found in a West Palm Beach tile shop. She had it made into a sink over a Moroccan-inspired vanity she designed to go with it in the powder room. The exotic feel continues throughout the house, with dramatic splashes of blue and intricately patterned fabrics, furniture and lighting. “I love print and pattern,” the owner says. “They really define and give a lot of personality both to your outfit and to your home.”
But Pakravan made sure the glam part of the equation didn’t take over. Beachy elements such as grass-cloth wallcovering and sea fan art by Karen Robertson temper the exuberance of the crystal chandelier, velvet sofa and the coffee table’s pearl inlay in the living and dining spaces. In the kitchen and family area, a slipcovered sectional and unfussy wood tables provide grounding for the bold patterns across the draperies, rug and lounge chairs. Nearby, the home office enjoys the same juxtaposition, where a checkered grass cloth subtly echoes the trim on the dark blue built-ins and the Greek-key trim around the rug.
Fashion gets the final say in the master bedroom, with a plush, fur-like rug, a gold-studded table reminiscent of the wife’s Valentino shoes, and a giant Chanel No. 5 artwork framed in acrylic. The seashore makes a cameo appearance, though, in the form of a natural-fiber headboard that conjures sandy beaches.
Architecturally speaking, the architect and builders achieved a similar balance on the home’s exterior. “The entire house, including the roof, is white,” Jones says. “It’s against a white surface that one best appreciates the play of light and shadow.” The dark mahogany on the front door and arched garage doors, then, seem to leap from the surface, along with deep blue powder-coated shutters and trim. Even better, Laudani points out, is that the exterior applications stand up well to the climate. “The house is not only resistant to the significant humidity we get in Florida, but also to the high winds,” he says. The hipped rooflines may be attractive, he explains, but the sloped design will also minimize wind shear during a hurricane.
With the home’s design and construction in place, landscape architect Dave Bodker stepped in with trees, plant materials and hardscaping that complement the architecture. Palms along the pool extend the shade afforded by the covered loggias, and two huge date palms in front act as sentinels at the entrance. “You walk underneath their canopies, so it’s like an outdoor foyer,” he says. The L-shaped pool even mimics the home’s design while providing a larger-than-usual shallow area. “It’s fun for the younger kids, but it’s also a nice place to set down your lounge chair,” Bodker says. The paving, too, is a natural extension of the house, with Chicago brick on the driveway enhancing the home’s grand sense of arrival, and the travertine in back playing to its casual side.
Now that the residence is finally complete, the owners are thrilled with the seamless flow from inside out, where every space speaks to nature, with just the right amount of glamour on top. “It’s nice to live in a house,” the wife says, “where every corner has been touched to make it just what you wanted.”