Darks and whites contrast dramatically in the dining room, echoing the light and shadow play of the window screens. Dining table by Baker; chandelier by Atelier Gary Lee.
When interior designer Tom Stringer’s long-standing client asked to accompany him on an excursion to Marrakech following the purchase of a Fort Lauderdale vacation home, Stringer knew they had to tread with restraint.
“It’s a place I really love, and he wanted to see it through my eyes,” Stringer explains. The client, he recalls, was taken by the city’s courtyards, traditional riad architecture and the elaborate grillwork, which has become the key inspiration and focal motif throughout the home that they transformed from an on-spec new construction to a custom build.
“They have very similar climate conditions,” he notes. “There is a need to control light and heat. We took some of those lessons and applied them to the house: absorbed the ordering principles and ways we could manipulate light and create a sense of the courtyard building.”Elaborately carved Indonesian teak grillwork takes the spotlight in the foyer over a modern limestone and glass staircase, opposite an antique Chinese medicine cabinet.
The intricate grillwork patterns, executed in dark-stained Indonesian teak, make for a striking presence on the two-story wall opposite the minimalist foyer and limestone and glass staircase. Similar wrought motifs feature on the home’s exterior screens in laser-cut stainless steel, designed to weather the hot, humid climate. Finely polished white limestone lines the interior, terrace and outdoor space for a clean, monolithic backdrop that sets off the darks of carved teak and wenge stained wall panels and cabinetry. The monochrome effect is picked up by contemporary silhouettes and pops of graphic art, keeping the North African influences from veering overly literal.
“There are a couple of crisp Moroccan pieces and that’s it; it plays on the theme in a subtle manner,” Stringer describes. The furniture and art collection, he notes, was assembled from scratch, with owners bringing almost no existing pieces.A comfortable, grey-hued study is made personal with a collection of vintage photography and travel mementos. Sectional by A Rudin; accent chair by IRONIES.A Holly Hunt breakfast bar, Donghia stools and an Arteriors pendant lighten up the dark teak cabinetry in the sleek, clean-lined kitchen.A vivid orange and blue painting by Michael T. Noonan infuses a splash of brilliant color above a Holly Hunt table; saddle benches by Dessin Fournir.
“Creating an art collection for someone else is the hardest thing for a designer,” states Stringer. “Art is so personal; we showed hundreds and hundreds of images and then discerned a theme from the client’s picks.” The spotlight is on emerging artists, particularly photography: a lineup of vintage and modern fashion photographs features in the study, while the living area is dominated by a brilliant blue and yellow piece printed and bonded to a sheet of aluminum, a work by a mutual photographer friend of Stringer and the client. In the dining room, a trio of photographs depicts three-dimensional sculptures – both done by the same artist – and with one of the physical sculptures also in the home. Large woven steel pieces by artist Eric Gushee, resembling macramé done in metal, flank the fireplace; and a massive-scale digital print of Lauren Hutton features at the top of the mezzanine. Each hallway terminates with a collection, mainly of travel-gathered treasures: from Indonesian dolls to African sculptures.Natural tones and limestone flooring extends throughout the outdoor seating and pool areas for a uniform, monolithic look.
“I’ve traveled a lot with this client, and as we travel, we collect,” shares Stringer. “I love the juxtaposition: rustic and refined, ancient and modern.” Most of the furnishings lean contemporary, with the occasional exception: an Italian steel and limestone table from the 1970s, or a couple of unusual rope furniture pieces by French designer Christian Astuguevieille that “could be modern, or could be African,” Stringer describes.
The mainly neutral palette is diluted with a pale blue-grey throughout the living area “that might feel a bit like ocean water on a cloudy day,” while the bedroom suites are accented with brilliant spice tones. In the master suite, more grillwork covers light boxes lined with a vibrant mango-colored silk, casting a warm glow at night that recalls Morocco’s heated landscape. Vibrant mango-colored silk lines light boxes in the master suite for a warm, tropics-inspired glow; an antique chair adds interest to the otherwise simple silhouettes.In the master bath, scrolled screens and a striking photography piece by Paco Peregrín create an edgy, mysterious presence.
“The home is an expression of my love for the design in that part of the world, having evolved out of a great human experience,” concludes Stringer. “It’s a modernist ode to North African architecture.”
Photography Courtesy of Jorge Gera.
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