From the pool deck of the Ginsburg residence, the view through bordering palm trees to the idyllic Intracoastal Waterway makes the setting itself seem like a work of art. Colors and textures abound, with the brilliantly hued South Florida sky, aquamarine waters and lusciously green landscape serving as the ideal backdrop for the home’s newly appointed minimalist architecture. The same balance of restraint and dazzle continues inside, where the clients—modern design enthusiasts with two children and a penchant for Pop art and street art—asked residential designer and longtime friend Martin Litman to create a renovated space that would evoke a fun and engaging art gallery.
When first purchased, the Golden Beach home had a Mediterranean makeup that didn’t match the Ginsburgs’ modern tastes. But inside and out, the renovation is a transformation that fuses a gallery-inspired foundation of pristine white walls and warm concrete floors with colorful whimsy emanating from the artwork and furnishings. “The design challenge was to modernize the house, to change the aesthetic to something more clean-lined,” Litman says. “But their art collection was thought about from the beginning, too. And since they have that appreciation, they understood the artistic part of architecture.”
Outside, the Mediterranean-style red barrel-tiled roof was replaced with a metal one, rounded columns were made square, and the façade painted a crisp, modern white. In back, where the great room and the master suite enjoy Intracoastal views, the two-tiered pool and patio area, once festooned in red brick, was resurfaced with concrete. Landscape designer Mercedes Porcari of Exoticscape followed suit with a modern materials palette of bamboo and river rocks placed around the home.
For the interior, a revamped, winding open staircase in the entry gives way to a double-height living room, where one finds Maximilian Wiedemann’s mixed-media rendition of Abraham Lincoln, based on a five-dollar bill, perched next to an eye-catching Ducati ready to be ogled. “The bold lines of the motorcycle and bright yellow color pop nicely against the neutral white and gray,” Lainie Ginsburg says. Alex Guofeng Cao’s chromogenic print of French actress Catherine Deneuve adds a shot of glamour along with a sleek, black modular sofa.
In the great room looking onto the pool and covered lanai, Litman’s design further opened up the kitchen and family room, creating cohesion by using the same blonde millwork against the kitchen’s white quartz countertops and gleaming lacquered cabinetry as well as in the family room. Yet Litman also closed off a circular opening in the breakfast nook wall in order to make the great room separate from the more formal living area while providing exhibit space for additional art—in this case an Ellwood T. Risk piece whose silhouette recalls the essence of a James Bond film. Emphasizing the “family” in family room, an adjacent built-in wet bar was refashioned into a computer workstation and gaming space.
Upstairs, where a mezzanine overlooking the living area leads to a string of bedrooms, Litman reclaimed the ash flooring that had once lived downstairs. The master bedroom is distinctive for its contrast, with a white tufted headboard and airy sheers punctuated by a charcoal sofa and chocolate chest. In the spa-like master bathroom, a warming drawer can be found near the raised tub, so the owners can simply reach anytime for a hot towel. It’s one of many subtle practical moves throughout, such as USB ports embedded in all the light sockets and efficient LED lighting to reduce energy. There are even closed-circuit cameras around the house, the feed from which the family can watch on one of two great room televisions (an homage to husband Richard’s security business, used not for intrusion but as a virtual window).
“We just wanted sophisticated, plain and smart,” Lainie says. “Everything has a function. Nothing gets wasted here, and yet it’s designed to be inviting. It just makes you smile.”