nterior designers Raymond Jimenez and Shannon Scott were already familiar with the 1954 co-op in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, neighborhood of Harbor Beach. They had been working on a unit in the building when Jiri Klubal and Andrea Zabel asked the duo to reimagine theirs, a vacation home destined to become their full-time residence. Located a few steps from the Atlantic Ocean, the dwelling was intended to be a haven for rest and relaxation. “We put our heads together and wondered: What does the space need to feel like?” Jimenez says. “Our conclusion was modern, beachy and inviting.”
The residence initially required a few structural changes to reconfigure its tight, closed-in layout. “Everything had been blocked off, and the owners wanted a more open concept,” Scott recalls. To tackle the renovations, the interior designers turned to general contractor Andres Hoyos. With Bruce Carlson serving as architect of record, Hoyos and his team gutted the rooms and demolished the walls around the kitchen. The resulting free-flowing space has become the centerpiece of the home, with proximity to the living area and the den. “You can now walk a full circle throughout the interior because of the floor plan,” Jimenez says.
Hoyos also installed porcelain flooring throughout the home as well as trimless frame lighting and ipe wood ceiling planks from the living area to the kitchen. “The wood structure is floating and is cut in an L-shape to create a cove light,” he says. “The sides have a knife-edge profile, so you don’t see the thickness of the wood.”
To delineate areas such as the master bedroom, den and bathrooms, Jimenez and Scott employed sliding smoked-glass partitions, rather than traditional doors. Also a clever space-saving measure, the doors stack together and allow the homeowners to completely open the residence to guests when entertaining. Framed in bronze, the glass still offers privacy; only silhouettes are visible from the other side.
Within the new setting, the interior designers introduced modern finishes, contemporary lighting and understated tones in line with the airy aesthetic. In doing so, the duo played to each other’s strengths: Jimenez, for instance, considers himself a refined modernist and tends to focus on details such as millwork and how features should be flush and trimless. “Ray has an architectural mind for streamlining,” Scott says, pointing out how Jimenez ensured the living area’s side table aligns with the trimless recessed and surface-mount lights. He also painstakingly composed the master bathroom’s convex ceramic art piece tile-by-tile.
For her part, Scott, who favors more eclectic styles, takes the lead on elements related to mood and atmosphere, such as material compositions and furniture placement. In this case, she and Jimenez took Andrea on a shopping trip to the Windy City to hunt for the perfect pieces. “Ninety percent of the furniture in the home comes from Chicago,” Scott says. “We get a different perspective there.” The trio returned from the excursion with items such as the kitchen’s contemporary copper bar stools, the living area’s blush-toned modular sofa and the master bedroom’s curved black-and-white houndstooth-patterned loveseat.
The furniture is especially striking against the neutral color palette and understated features that pervade the home, such as the gray croc paneling that spans most of a wall in the living area. “Ray had to be convinced of the croc,” Scott laughs. Jimenez concurs, “The subtlety of the color, the scale of the croc and the stitching around each panel help to refine it.” Nearby, the off-white Corian kitchen countertops dominate the center of the space. And the master bathroom’s cool black, white and gray color scheme underscores the modern mood. Still, the interior designers found ways to incorporate pops of color, including blue and brass accessories, plum gray cushions on the kitchen stools and a red leather chair in the den.
Much like Jimenez and Scott, who merged their design talents, the residence is a posh, pleasing blend of two distinct looks: contemporary and beachy, uniting the best of both styles. As Jimenez notes: “When you can make a space modern, clean and sophisticated, that is the ultimate satisfaction.”
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