When architect Mitchell Kunik was first approached by his friend and colleague of 30 years to realize the vision he had for his new Boca Raton home, the idea was to create a residence that would respect and enhance the historic neighborhood’s eclectic architectural styles. the client had taken a transformative trip to California and, having been inspired by the legendary midcentury modern homes in Beverly Hills’ storied Trusdale estates, he imagined a similarly pristine, glass-ensconced oasis here that could celebrate and enable true indoor-outdoor living and entertaining.
The homeowner was first attracted to the site by a line of tall Casuarina trees guarding the property. “the idea was for the house to be a gem behind the veil, if you will, of these trees,” explains Kunik, who collaborated with architect Benjamin Schreier to set the project in motion. “once we got through the veil, we could do anything.”
The added privacy from the trees, as well as a perimeter wall and additional mature plantings selected by the owner, allows the house to be utterly transparent without feeling vulnerable. “my goal was to create a unique home that, once you move beyond the entry courtyard, opens to a dramatic, radiant interior,” the owner says, noting the shielded simplicity and restraint that can be seen from the street. “I love the outdoors, and the extensive use of floor-to-ceiling glass and wide gallery hallways provides the ability to see the expansive courtyards and pool area from virtually every vantage point within the home.” those windows employ the most efficient coated glass, with a new generation of technology that allows them to minimize heat gain without having to be tinted.
One wing of the u-shaped house contains a continuous kitchen, dining area and family room, set back from the glass wall to allow easy passage through to a study on the other side of a wraparound fireplace. “the client insisted upon the symmetry of the kitchen and the island lining up with the fireplace in the family room,” recalls designer Lindsey Snyder, who teamed with fellow designer tiffany Bowman on the interiors—a scope that included assuring a continuity of surfaces in the home. indeed, the quartz countertop of the kitchen island ideally complements the glossy lacquer of the kitchen cabinetry. and that wraparound fireplace is clad in crystal vein-cut travertine, just one of many luxurious materials that make the house sing and lend a new age feel to the midcentury modern architecture, including Italian porcelain floor tiles throughout and a striking three- dimensional mosaic tile wall in the master bath.
Throughout the house, which mixes midcentury- and contemporary-style furniture, the base palette remains neutral with the space punctuated by “pops of color in art, pillows and throw blankets,” says Bowman. “the owner also wanted to incorporate an organic feel, which you see in the live-edge dining table, for instance. I like the juxtaposition against the really clean, smooth kitchen aesthetic.”
Glass walls look out at a pair of interior courtyards, which are separated by a long covered terrace. the first courtyard features a quartet of large Sylvester palm trees, which speaks to the precision requested by the owner as much as the architecture and interiors do. “it was important that the trees lined up perfectly,” recalls landscape designer Anthony Sciortino, who worked very closely with the homeowner on the outdoor scheme. “We had to draw string lines and make sure they matched in height and thickness. You have a diamond-cut texture to the wood. at night, with the elegant lighting, it’s just breathtaking.” the second courtyard is oriented around a swimming pool flanked by another sunken lounge and barbecue area.
What’s more, all of these spaces can be seen at once as one enters the house, straight ahead through the glass walls. in keeping with midcentury modern design, a continuous ceiling height emphasizes this horizontality, almost like a succession of movie sets awaiting scenes. “With these midcentury modern homes, it’s about the fluidity of the architectural experience as you move through the space,” Kunik says.
In between the two courtyards, the covered lanai is ideal for entertaining, with its own outdoor living and dining areas looking out at the pool and back at the interior through the glass. “not many of the homes we do have that 10-foot-high ceiling inside and a loggia with the same height, and everything from the flooring to the ceiling running inside and out,” observes builder Scott Pfendler, who helmed the construction with his father, Rick Pfendler. “here, you really do have that indoor- outdoor permeability.”
Though the home’s clean lines, precise symmetry and sumptuous materials give it a luxurious and wide-open feel that accommodates large gatherings, it’s also comfortable for when it’s just the owner and his two Weimaraners who enjoy an active lifestyle indoors and out. and most of all, whether it’s amidst the glass-festooned interior architecture or in one of the home’s generous outdoor spaces, the end result is a kind of contemporary oasis. “because of my work, my life is crazy and hectic all day,” the homeowner says. “When I come home, open the doors and all I see is the serenity of the park- like setting with its swaying coconut palms and manicured landscape of Bermuda grass and the pool, I feel as if I am transported to a place were I am finally able to relax.”