When Lynda Nitabach approached designer Amir Khamneipur at an event in West Palm Beach, he was captivated by her singular style. “She was wearing a fabulously unique outfit that stood apart from everyone else,” he recalls. “Her jewelry was incredible. I immediately understood that Lynda was someone who liked the best but looked for unique, standout items. That’s the night the journey began.”
The “journey” was the renovation of Lynda and Bob Nitabach’s 18th-floor condominium at The Bristol, the city’s new luxury high-rise where Khamneipur had designed the clean, tailored units and common spaces. “I wanted The Bristol to be a space where owners who were collectors and connoisseurs could walk through and feel the subtleties of details,” he says. “I wanted the spaces to feel rich with quiet moments and bold with textures.”
That vision appealed to Lynda, who believed the creation of their residence at The Bristol should be more like a curation. “I insisted every single thing be one-of-a-kind and extraordinary,” she says. “I have a very big personality, and it’s a quirky one, so I wanted the choices we made to reflect that.” It made sense, then, that Khamneipur was the right person to translate that charisma into the Nitabachs’ home.
To locate those exceptional finds for the unit, there was only one thing to do: “Lynda, Bob and I were to visit every gallery and showroom known to man,” Khamneipur laughs. The trio traveled so far as Paris, where they spent four days on an hour-by-hour itinerary being chauffeured from atelier to atelier, in and out of artist’s homes, meeting the very creators of each item purchased. “I have an experience with every piece in my home,” Lynda says.
The result is a collected residence that evokes the feel of a Parisian gallery right from the elevator foyer, where a stacked console and circular mirror are among the souvenirs from the group’s overseas excursion. Overhead, a chandelier made of melted glass rods mimicking a cloud shape injects a sense of whimsy that continues throughout the interiors. “ ‘Unforgettable’ is everyone’s first impression,” Lynda says. “This home tells a story—and there are stories in the middle of stories.”
Much of the residence’s playfulness is owed to its contemporary artwork, particularly sculptures. After seeing an Annie Morris piece in their Paris hotel, Lynda acquired a smaller one for a living area coffee table, situated not far from a Haas Brothers monster sculpture. Nearby, a colorful Mel Bochner painting hangs above a curvy Fernando Botero figurine. “When I walk by and see those things practically touching, I smile, because I think it’s so funny and pleasurable that you could put those two things next to each other,” she muses. In the main bedroom, a Rob Wynne artwork reflects daylight above the bed.
Furnishings read artistic as well—a result of Lynda’s challenge for Khamneipur to secure everyday items that are entirely out of the ordinary. “I had said to him, ‘Listen, I don’t want lamps,’” she recalls.“‘I want something that lights up—do not bring me a lamp.’” The designer’s response: animal-like forms that illuminate the living area. Sofas and armchairs show off elegant curves, a living area floor lamp doubles as a ceramic sculpture and the dining area chandelier emulates a chunky necklace. Even what could have been traditional bronze handles to the main suite have a twist: Designed by Khamneipur, they masquerade as snakes slithering on the doors.
Working with general contractor Paul Clippinger, the designer oversaw a minor renovation of the unit, installing Ornare closets throughout and bringing in an artist to hand-sculpt plaster walls in the elevator foyer. The home’s masterful mix of what Khamneipur calls “noble” materials— natural ones that withstand time—are his own artistry, honed over years of practice. “The longest relationship I have ever had has been with materials,” he jokes. White marble floors shine with gray shades of crystals, pieces with unlacquered bronzes will age with patina and woods offer varying textures, including a dining table with macassar ebony, living area armchairs with beechwood frames and touches of walnut throughout—polished, satin and sandblasted.
To Khamneipur, the final look is a visual memoir of an adventure embarked with clients who were willing to take chances. “It’s a recording of a journey,” he says. “The interior feels like a stack of inspired playing cards, each with a story, shuffled and then magnetically drawn together to align in harmony.”