See The Retro Renovation Of This 1960s Fort Lauderdale Home


living room with tufted bench,...

Eternity Modern’s Pavilion bench occupies the living area, where Nathan Anthony’s Chadney sofa and Chess swivel chair are from Wasser’s Exclusive Furniture & Interiors. Glassisimo’s Drei coffee tables from Robb & Stucky rest on Kane Carpet’s Latest rug from Florida Floor Fashions.

living area with dark lounge...

The living area displays Thayer Coggin’s Kai lounge chairs from Wasser’s Exclusive Furniture & Interiors. A Malcolm T. Liepke portrait rests against a wall of oxidized steel. Near a Bill Armstrong photograph, designer Laetitia Laurent sourced a light fixture from a Palm Springs antiques store.

family area with Tony Orrico...

Tony Orrico artwork fills a wall in the family area, joined by another Liepke piece. Pillows in Casamance’s Derivee textile from Nessen Group inject a jolt of pattern to the B&B Italia sofa. Karastan’s Artistic Charm rug is from Flor Source.

office with vintage coffee table,...

A Noguchi coffee table in the office centers a rug from Surya’s Kavita collection, echoing the tones of the Iran Issa-Khan wall art. The Eames desk chair adds to the "Mad Men" vibe established by the owners’ armchairs and sofa.

dining area with black pedestal...

A trio of Tom Dixon’s gold and chrome Melt pendants hovers above the pedestal dining table and sculptural chairs. The oversize William Klein drawing introduces a graphic feel to the space, while a Liepke work defines the nearby hallway.

kitchen with white walls and...

The riveted finish of the porcelain backsplash from Cavastone brings texture to the kitchen. Countertops of Opustone Stone & Tile Concept’s City White engineered stone contribute to the tactile mix.

kitchen with concrete island, orange...

On a wall painted Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, Brett Smith artwork complements the stools at the kitchen’s concrete island. Visual Comfort & Co.’s Evo pendants suspend above Olympia Tile’s Oikos porcelain flooring.

bedroom with large portrait, white...

A Call Me Frank portrait headlines a guest bedroom, home to a bed by Demvel, Theodore Alexander nightstand from Kathy Kuo Home and Karastan rug. The Sonneman fixture hangs from a ceiling embellished with a Wallquest covering from Designer’s Mark.

It’s easy to imagine Frank Sinatra strolling into this South Florida home, with the rest of the Rat Pack in tow. Built in 1960, the residence epitomizes midcentury cool with its low roofline, walnut cabinetry and period details like built-in woodgrain wall speakers. Given the owners’ love of modernist architecture, it is little surprise that when they decided to refresh the interiors, maintaining its authentic character was the highest priority.

“They easily could have torn the house down and built a big contemporary structure, which is happening on both sides of them,” designer Laetitia Laurent says, pointing out new construction around her clients’ Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. “But they wanted a true restoration effort.” Having grown up in Europe, where she learned to appreciate historical preservation, the Luxe Next In Design 99 honoree enthusiastically agreed to the couple’s request to retain the abode’s distinctive personality. “I was very influenced by Bauhaus,” she recalls. “Subsequent to that, I toured homes in Palm Springs during Modernism Week. All of that was top of mind when I took on this project.”

Working with general contractor Robert Wolfe, the designer refinished retro elements such as exposed steel ceiling beams and concrete floors. She then amplified the vibe with furnishings that evoke the Mad Men era, drawing together creations by vintage masters: See the Mies van der Rohe bench in the living area; the Isamu Noguchi coffee table in the office. “A midcentury layout can feel low because of the ceilings, so we tried to elevate pieces off the floor so the spaces would ‘breathe’ better,” Laurent explains. This inspired selections such as the primary bedroom’s platform bed—which appears to be floating thanks to its recessed base—and the family area’s whimsical hanging chair, a deceptively modern piece that complements older counterparts in the room. “The contemporary items are influenced by Scandinavian and Danish designs for a minimalist approach,” the designer observes. “I felt like that was such a good blend for this house.”

Typical of a 1960s floor plan, the family area flows into the living area—two spaces that, although connected, called for separate identities. Catering to the clients’ love of entertaining, Laurent transformed the latter into a moody cocktail lounge, the showpiece of which is a bar with smoked-glass doors and a white quilted leather back. “We wanted the bar to seemingly disappear, so it’s nestled within a niche, but the wall is slanted—so it’s built on an angle, even though it looks flat from the front,” she reveals. Meanwhile, the family area is more casual and opens to the patio and waterway, where the owners dock their boat. Conscious of party guests flowing inside and outside, the designer narrowed in on performance fabrics that can withstand spilled drinks, wet bathing suits and the couple’s five dogs.

Laurent applied a similar mindset to the kitchen, where she introduced an industrial- looking backsplash and a combination of dark wood and gray lacquered cabinetry for an overall utilitarian appearance. To maximize efficiency in the compact space, the designer added an auxiliary bar and a second island to complement the existing one. The original, topped with concrete, presents a marvelous midcentury feat: “The countertop goes through the window and into a fountain outside,” she describes. “It’s a fabulous architectural detail.”

Informed by the structure’s materials, Laurent harnessed a color palette of gray, black and brown, with pops of orange and white, seen especially in pillows and throws. “The gray came from the floor and the aluminum ceiling beams, and we pulled in orange from the walnut,” she says. “The colors have a midcentury way of working together.” Mercurial gray pervades a guest bedroom with a pop art feel, inspired by a contemporary oversize portrait from the couple’s art collection. Leather also features prominently throughout—in pieces such as the primary bedroom’s custom nightstands—adding a masculine tone and a personal touch from the designer. “I’m a big horseback rider,” she muses. “I always have an equestrian inclination.”

To Laurent’s delight, 60 years since its construction, the abode still conveys its origins in not only aesthetic but also spirit and intended functionality: as a site for convivial gatherings hosted by the owners. “It goes back to that midcentury idea when people craved quality time and bringing in the outdoors,” she says. “This house has that fun vibe with a nice flow.”

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