Save for birdsong and the whir of golf carts, the streets in this estate section of South Florida’s elegant equestrian community are quiet. Its residences—all home to world-class riders—project a calm quietude as well. But the clean lines and crisp white exterior of this particular house stand in stark contrast to the riot of fruity hues and eclectic whimsy within.
“We wanted a fun, young, happy contemporary design,” interior designer Sasha Bikoff shares. She took on the challenge of composing interiors that steer clear of anything classically Florida— and, more specifically, anything traditional of Wellington. “When you walk into houses in this town, the decor is often horse-themed,” she adds, noting Hermès orange, saddle brown leather and equine motifs. “We decided we weren’t going to treat this like an equestrian home. Instead, we were going to enhance the tropical setting and create something uplifting and fresh.”
The client—a design-savvy professional with three daughters, one a serious rider—had already called upon architect Paulo Vicente, general contractor René Alonso and landscape architect Stephanie Portus to overhaul the property writ large. Because the residence would serve as home base for the winter equestrian season, it would need to cater to restful family time as well as a robust social calendar.
Reimagining the home began by scrubbing the interior architecture clean, finessing transitions and removing visual clutter to establish “smooth, simple, open spaces that flow nicely to the outdoors,” Vicente explains. The architect also added a fresh fenestration of black-framed windows and doors, introducing a contemporary edge to the dwelling while enhancing the convivial, alfresco mood the client so desired. “She used the phrase ‘garden party’ quite a bit,” adds Portus, who obliged with an invigorating landscape design defined by regal Canary Island date palms, sculptural groupings of Eugenia topiaries and sleek marble paving. The landscape architect also helped formulate “a procession of party spaces,” she describes of the multifaceted loggia, several courtyards and tranquil pool area.
When it came to the interiors, the owner had two specific wishes: to incorporate a set of pink lounge chairs she fell in love with after discovering them in a magazine and antiqued marble checkered floor tiles. Rather than feeling stymied by these requests, Bikoff embraced her client’s collaborative spirit, deeming the pieces perfectly in keeping with the haute-yet-playful Floridian vibe she envisioned. Both now welcome guests in the gallery—a swank, delightfully overscale foyer designed not simply as a receiving room but also as an indoor-outdoor cocktail lounge that connects to the pergola and pool. Grounded in soft gray hues via a palm-print wallpaper and crowned by a green Murano chandelier, the space acts as “a palette cleanser,” the interior designer explains. From this central hub flow Technicolor public spaces and many bedrooms, each boasting its own signature color and en suite bathroom—like lavender walls in one room, pistachio for the primary bedroom and a flamingo-pink tub for the owner.
It is hardly a surprise that the palette spans the full spectrum of the rainbow. After all, it’s what drew the homeowner to Bikoff’s work in the first place. “I’ve never been a beige-on- beige girl,” the client shares. “I looked into 100 designers, interviewed five and chose Sasha because I wanted color.” Still, Bikoff made sure to temper the tropical-pastel mélange with sandy neutrals and tangerine notes that bear a striking resemblance to, well, Hermès orange. “We did include some sneaky horse details,” she admits. Indeed, surprises like the orange-lacquered pantry off the kitchen are riffs on the local aesthetic, as are the dining room chairs with their pony-print upholstery. Meanwhile, dark wood furnishings throughout the home offer a sly homage to Wellington’s magnificent horse barns. “The tones we chose feel like barnwood,” she says. “That was definitely a little equestrian moment, too.”
Ultimately, it’s the subtlety of this home’s many juxtapositions that make it such a visual success—and the perfect lifestyle fit for Bikoff’s client. “At the end of the day, this house was designed for serious athletes who are tired and sore from long hours spent riding in the heat,” the interior designer explains. “They can kick off their boots and really live here. It’s comfortable, casual, artistic and elevated, all at the same time.”