Designers Jenny R. Peters and Rachel Mbiango stand behind their philosophy: A house should look comfortable and elegant and be easy to maintain. It should also be timeless and not overdone. A crowning example of their refined design aesthetic can be found in the Pinecrest home belonging to Jan Risi Field and her husband, Jim Field. Jan contacted the designers after touring the open house of Peters’ personal home and falling in love with the décor. Initially, Jan wanted assistance refreshing one room in her house, but the project turned into a three-year gut renovation. “She went from ‘I want to redo the kitchen,’ to ‘I want to redo everything,’ ” Peters says.
Built in 1988, the house had an exterior that leaned toward French country, with an interior that featured Colonial-style finishes and fixtures, French terra-cotta floors, Santa Fe-inspired stonework, and natural cedar-wood ceilings. While Jan loved the location and the bones of her home, she was looking for interiors that were lighter and brighter with a cohesive Hamptons-style look inside and out. “She wanted color as well as sophistication,” says Mbiango. “They entertain a lot and they have a big family, so we wanted to create comfortable spaces for them. It’s traditional at heart with a little freshness. It’s Palm Beach with an edge right here in Miami.” Peters and Mbiango “were very attentive to keeping it a family home,” adds Jan. “Did they push me out of my comfort zone? Every day. But they took my house to a level I never would have imagined.”
To help with the extensive remodel, Jan also called on architect Suzanne Martinson, who had originally designed the house over 25 years ago. “The existing style lent itself to additions that looked logical and didn’t overpower the site,” says Martinson (noting Mark A. Greenberg, who built the original home under Greenberg Construction Corporation and has since retired to Colorado, where he consults on construction projects under GreenbergCM). This time around, with the help of project associate Rob Cebellos, architectural changes included an extension on the west side with two bedrooms and baths, the creation of a sun room, converting the attic space above the existing garage into a playroom—adding a bathroom, dormers and an internal stair—and extending the east side of the house. “We found the same make of brick used on the original house to help the additions blend in,” says Gary Legrand Haskin, who served as the builder for the home’s current incarnation along with superintendent Mark Fischer. “Everything looks like it’s always been there.”
Peters and Mbiango began transforming the interiors by painting most of the walls and woodwork a crisp white and laying Jerusalem limestone on the floor; dark walnut flooring was chosen for the living room and main staircase. “We did a mix of wood and warm stone that is easy to maintain and looks fresh with all the white surfaces,” says Peters. The majestic walnut staircase commands attention in the entry foyer and is an apt introduction to the casual luxury found farther inside. The dark wood is a foil for the walls of bright white paneling and Venetian plaster. “The textures of the paneling and the plaster give the interiors a subtle richness,” says Mbiango.
After establishing a neutral foundation, the designers layered each space with Jan’s requested palette of “blue with a touch of blue.” They incorporated different shades of the color in nearly every room while mixing patterns and textures and other hues, such as yellow, chartreuse and brown, to keep the home cohesive while allowing each room its own distinct personality. Strong geometric-patterned fabrics were chosen over florals and damasks to break up the classical elements; antique Persian rugs add color and softness to the stone floors and anchor the mix of traditional, midcentury and found furnishings throughout. A crystal chandelier, paneled wainscoting and custom, hand-painted wallpaper in a soft teal set the tone in the stately dining room, where chairs upholstered in chocolate leather mingle with a regal 19th-century English dining table from the owners’ collection.
The designers also devised a billiards room with a bar and wine cellar clad completely in walnut paneling. “We wanted to create a space in the color tones that Jim wanted but that would still fit with the design of the rest of the house,” says Peters. A second-floor sitting room was designed for Jan; decked out in her beloved blue hues, the room features walls of windows overlooking the backyard garden, pool and pergola covered in blooming bougainvillea. “It’s such as special spot,” says Jan. “It feels like an old-fashioned Florida room.”
Like Martinson, landscape architect Susan Hall was another fitting partnership, as Hall had designed the landscape for the original owners and had already completed a renovation for the Fields, as well. Her inspiration this time was classic and traditional, and she wanted to create a feeling of being in the Hamptons to complement the architecture. “We used clipped hedges, espalier and manicured groundcovers,” Hall says. “Aside from the bougainvillea adorning the arbor near the pool, the landscape was to be a combination of green foliage and white flowering plants.” That arbor is an element that Martinson had designed previously, along with the pool, and Hall says it has only gotten better with age. Also added to the property over the years was a putting green, since the owner and his son are avid golfers. “When the property was expanded, we recommended building a new putting green farther back on the site and raising it slightly,” Hall recalls. “This allowed us to open up the immediate backyard of the home into a beautiful lawn area that was much more functional for entertaining and day-to-day activity.”
Today, says Mbiango, the entire home not only echoes the refreshed classicism of the exterior but also reflects the homeowners’ personalities: elegant and timeless. “My home is so comfortable and luxurious, and it suits our lifestyle,” says Jan. “For the first time, I feel like the house is the way it was always meant to be.”