The Strait & Narrow

A petrified wood sculpture references the seaside while providing a visual anchor for the expanse of sky reflected in the glass top coffee table. Oversized sectionals and matching chaise provide comfort and style. Sofas, chaise and occasional table • Soleil Furniture & Home Furnishings | Sofa fabric • Holland & Sherry | Abyss cocktail table • Duffy London | Fabricated stone sofa table • Cosmo Tile & Stone | Floor lamp and chandelier • Nella Vetrina | Area rug • Summit Rug

The custom dining room table, which comfortably seats 12, features a glass top and driftwood base. The accompanying chairs are upholstered in an indoor/ outdoor wool fabric. Table and chairs • Soleil Furniture & Home Furnishings | Chair fabric • Holland & Sherry | Chandelier • Archilume

The kitchen is designed for gathering and group cooking. White marble islands and white lower cabinets are mated to linear teak cabinets on the interior wall. Kitchen cabinets • Poggenpohl.

James Smiros, who is both the architect and interior designer for the project, along with his team, created an interior configuration for this penthouse that takes full advantage of the ocean front vistas and the South Beach art deco landscape.

The challenge was to take what was basically a white box with 10-foot ceilings and transform it into a comfortable vacation residence for a family of seven. It needed to be versatile enough to include gathering spaces for the family unit, private retreat spaces for individual family members, and indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces to accommodate friends and extended family.

The core walls of the newly configured interior are the same concrete as the existing perimeter columns, giving it a unified, simplified look. Flooring and area rugs play off the soft gray concrete, as does the predominantly neutral color palette. “The intent,” says Smiros, “is to avoid competition with the outside panorama.”

The furniture plan, which Smiros describes as “platform living,” is designed so that nothing impedes the view: Upholstered pieces have low arms; dining room chairs have an open-leg chrome base; benches with Lucite legs line ocean-view walls; high stools
with Lucite frames provide seating at the kitchen counters; under cabinet LEDs impart nighttime drama; and clear acrylic pendants provide sculptural lighting in the kitchen and dining room.

Smiros is a proponent of “only one diva at a time in a room.” In the living room, the diva is a dramatic coffee table whose name, Abyss, is inspired by a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche: “And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” Gaze downward into this table and one has the impression of being drawn into the depths of the ocean. Handmade by local artisans and in-house craftsmen at Duffy London, it is created using ethically sourced materials including wood from managed forests.

In the kitchen, three white marble zones add to the versatility of the space. The center island houses a sink and cooktop. The two peninsulas can be used for food prep, dining or buffet entertaining.

 Photography Courtesy of Durston Saylor.

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