Design+Decor Southwest Florida Fall 2019

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The 2019 Top 25 1. Michelle Mancuso | Samantha Drew Interiors 2. Lisa Gilmore | Lisa Gilmore Design 3. Arlynn McDaniel | Freestyle Interiors 4. Dawn Harmon | Little Palm Design Group 5. Mark Vanagas | Pacifica Interior Design 6. Barbara Zella | CID Design Group 7. Jen Davison | Collins + Dupont Design Group 8. Lou Shafran | Pacifica Interior Design 9. Lisa Kahn | Lisa Kahn Designs 10. Wilfredo Emanuel | Wilfredo Emanuel Design 11. Jett Thompson | Jett Thompson Home 12. Jaime Blomquist | Jaime Blomquist Intriors 13. Judith Liegeois | Judith Liegeois Designs

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14. Jenny Provost | K2 Design Group 15. Gil Walsh | Gil Walsh Interiors 16. Molly Hoover | Molly Hoover Design Group 17. Bethany O’Neil | Bethanie O’Neil Interior Design 18. Maria Price | Maria Charmaine Designs 19. Lisa Davenport | Lisa Davenport Designs 20. Jeffrey Fisher | Jeffrey Fisher Home 21. Leslie Thompson | Malibu West Interiors 22. Carrie Brigham | Carrie Brigham Design 23. Karen Larson | Broad Avenue Studios 24. Mickey Dickson Marzucco | Ecru + Ebony Design 25. Lindsey Davis Nicklas | L Design Studio 26. Debbie DeMaria | Vogue Interiors

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FALL 2019


Contractor to Client

Interior Designer Lisa Gilmore teams up with Builder Elisa LaBram Verch who builds a dream home for herself this time Story by Venus Vega Photography by Seamus Paine


The Top 25

The 2019 Annual Top 25 Design Firms in Southwest Florida Photography by Charlie McDonald

122 Luxe in Lighthouse Point Moved by the stunning surroundings, Interior Designer Jaime Blomquist creates an extraordinary entertaining space in a custom home

Story by Gina Scott Photography by Jaime Blomquist


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Editors Letter Ask the Experts Events

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Melange In The Field Profile

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Editor-in-Chief Matthew J. Kolk 203-820-1092 Managing Editor James Eagen Contributing Writers Deborah Brannon, Lisa Gant, Susan Heller, Pam Gersh, Anna von Stelzer-Worth, Kait Shea, Anastasia Storer Contributing Photographers Jane Beiles, Michael Biondo, Phillip Ennis, Tria Giovan, John Gruen, John Hannon, Paul Johnson, Neil Landino, Mark La Rosa, Tim Lee, Daniel Milstein, Janice Parker, Durston Saylor, Debra Somerville, Eric Striffler, Jonathan Wallen, Woodruff/Brown Photography Copy Editor Elena Serocki Graphic & Web Design East Coast Home Publishing

Publisher Shelley E. McCormick 203-545-7091 Advertising Director Dante Golio Account Managers Alessandra Flanagan Leslie Hayden Kim McDonnell Lisa Winter Michele Woodman Design + Decor 7485 Inspira Circle #1203 Naples, Florida 34113 Design + Decor is published six issues per year. To subscribe:; Subscriptions: one year, $28; two years, $50. Back issues can be purchased at For editorial inquiries: Editor, Design + Decor, 7485 Inspira Circle #1203 Naples, Florida 34113 or e-mail: For advertising inquiries: Please call Shelley McCormick at 203-545-7091. Reproduction whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All projects described in this publication are for private, noncommercial use only. No rights for commercial use or exploitation are given or implied. The opinions expressed by writers for articles published by Design + Decor are not necessarily those of the magazine.

EAST COAST HOME PUBLISHING 7485 Inspira Circle #1203 Naples, Florida 34113 DD-MAG.COM

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elcome to our second annual Top 25 Interior Designers issue. The Top 25 began as a way to identify and honor the design professionals who create marvelous and exceptional living spaces for us all. This year we added a theme: biophilic design. Originating from biophilia, which is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature, biophilic design incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment. I couldn’t think of a better topic more suited for this area. Congratulations to all the designers who made the cut! You’ll also find a fascinating story about color in our “In the Field“ department. We interviewed renowned color specialist Donald Kaufman, who is known for his expertise in developing personalized colors that complement the space and natural light in a client’s home. Donald and his wife often work as mediators to help their clients decide what would be the best shade for a space to give it the “right feeling. The piece also looks at how Colors of the Year are chosen—the process is a lot more complicated than you might think. We’re always working to bring our readers content that is relevant to today ’s market and looking for ways to assist you in making decisions based on knowledge you garner from reading Design + Décor. A special thanks to Niche Events for providing a space and planting for our beautiful cover. Grab a cool, refreshing beverage, sit back and check out this issue. Please reach out to me and let me know how you enjoyed it at

Shelley McCormick


- Publisher

Correction to our Amazing Transformations issue: In our story “A Fresh Modern Look,” PBS Contractors was the builder.

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BOLD + BEAUTIFUL Chloe Sconce Unexpected twists in the magically evocative ribbon awaken your deepest senses giving you the impression of being wrapped in the impulsive charm of a little girl. Exquisite hammered textures dance across the shining metal. Guilt Mirror Sculptured and shimmering tones of hammered and textured metal with a hint of hard edge surround a perfectly cut convex mirror.

Mademoiselle Armoire Designed with a profound admiration and influence of the French decorative arts, the Mademoiselle armoire will transport you to another world in a crazy beautiful kind of way. The filigree metal butterfly doors are backed by decadent fabric and open to a metal leaf interior covered in a high- gloss varnish with nine antique mirror drawers and two adjustable glass shelves. Monaco Monaco, a waterjet mosaic shown in polished Thassos, Calacatta Gold, and brushed Brass, is part of the Liliane™ Collection by Caroline Beaupere for New Ravenna.

Campus Collection by Mauro Lipparini The Campus collection has been designed to furnish the living area with modular sofas, low tables and writing desks - but also the dining room - with sideboards, dining tables and chairs. The dining table with rounded corners has an elegant structure, with rigorous and elegant lines in metal and solid wood.

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Symphony Sideboard The Symphony Sideboard draws inspiration from church organ tubes. Like all of Boca do Lobo’s designs, the Symphony is hand made by experienced craftsmen, each with different specialities, from metal-work to wood carving.

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hat does sustainability mean to the Snaidero brand? Snaidero’s and Snaidero USA’s commitment to offering products that protect the environment and human health started over 20 years ago, and is reflected not only in the materials used for our kitchens, but also in responsible manufacturing practices: - In the last two decades, Snaidero has managed to reduce its waste production by 90%, fuel consumption by over 80%, and water consumption by more than 50%. Waste materials generated through processing are also sent for recycling, whenever possible. - Snaidero also holds a Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody certification, ensuring all its wood products are from verified sustainable sources and source forest replenishment. - The company’s Italian production plant (where all the products sold in the Americas are manufactured) was one of the first in its sector to obtain the International Standardization Organization 14001. This certification ratifies Snaidero’s ability to deal with exceptional events and emergencies that may cause harmful consequences for the environment. - Snaidero USA has been an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council since July 1, 2008. Please tell us about your nontoxic varnishes and lowemission panels. Our company guarantees quality, protects the environment and human health, and improves customer service by implementing custom production on a per-order basis. Over the last decade, Snaidero has been focusing more and more on the issue of atmospheric emissions: - The wood particle boards used for all Snaidero kitchens and Snaidero USA’s ELEGANTE Bespoke kitchens and baths comply with the strictest world standards for formaldehyde emissions. The emission levels are less than half of what is required by the LFE E1 international certification, and also comply with the standards set by the California Air Resources Board Phase II, the EPA’s TSCA Title 6, and the CATAS Quality Award certification. - Solvent-based varnishes can be very toxic to the environment and human health, so Snaidero uses an alternative varnish with very low levels of organic solvents. - Our lacquer finishes use water-based varnishes that have extremely low environmental impact, while delivering the same high-quality results in terms of functionality and aesthetics. Which architects and designers collaborate on designing your lines?

We have a long history of partnering with some of the most internationally renowned Italian architects and designers. This tradition was started in the ’60s by Snaidero’s founder, Rino Snaidero, and has brought the company more than 30 design awards through the decades. Our current design collaborators include Paolo Pininfarina (of Ferrari design fame), who’s had an exclusive partnership with Snaidero for almost 30 years and has helped us introduce many innovative technologies and finishes to the world of kitchen design; Massimo Iosa Ghini; Michele Marcon, whose LOOK kitchen design won the 2017 Green Good Design award; Alessandro Andreucci and Christian Hoisl; and Mario Mazzer, a Good Design and Red Dot Design award winner, who recently designed Snaidero USA’s first luxury sideboard system and is redesigning Snaidero USA’s flagships showrooms in New York, Coral Gables (FL) and Los Angeles. What is trending in modern kitchens right now? - Large islands with surfaces of different heights and depths to designate to different functions, with different seating arrangements - Industrial influence - Dichotomies of styles, textures and moods, all while keeping the aesthetics clean and simple - Prestigious and unique wood finishes (responsibly sourced!) that give the space a lot of character What is next for the modern kitchen, in terms of technological advancements and different trends? You have to look at macro trends that are here to stay and are going to impact kitchen design for more than just a couple of years. Those trends are dictated by a lifestyle evolution, and bring about significant changes in the way we experience and interact with the kitchen. That means creating comfortable and very livable spaces where you can spend a lot of time—not just cooking, but also working, socializing, making memories— and never get tired of it. These include: - Kitchens with an architectural presence, where cabinetry is more like furniture in aesthetics and functionality, and where simple geometries and the careful use of light are used to create architectural forms - Fluid spaces that allow for an intelligent and highly personal organization of the space and your time in the kitchen - Dynamic storage elements that can be moved around and rearranged or stored away out of sight, as needed Biophilic design is a hot topic. How do you see it being incorporated into the kitchen? The kitchen has always been the center of the home and is even more so Design + Decor

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today, so livability is key. That includes: - Open spaces with large windows that bathe the kitchen in natural light - Natural materials that help you bring in nature, such as raw finishes, woods with an interesting grain and textures that recall natural patterns—even with their all beautiful imperfections - Seamless integration of living plants into the kitchen environment, especially using systems of open shelves on the walls, on the island and above it - Organic, flowing design that makes movement and the transition between different activities very effortless Resource: Studio Snaidero Naples 1482 Rail Head Boulevard Naples, FL 34110 239.431.5003

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lease tell us about the products your carry. The primary products that Elegant Strand creates and purveys are world-class luxury bedding, pillows, mattresses and towels.

Our mattresses are not too hard, not too soft—just perfect. Their design is based on superior knowledge, and they are made in Italy, where true craftsmanship lives. We’re confident that they are the ne plus ultra of mattresses.

The superior quality of our sheets is felt through the “touch experience,” which gets better with each wash. The elegance of their look comes from our quest to create products that are superior to those found in the most sophisticated places on Earth. Our “double pillow design” is made in Italy with the finest goose feathers enveloped by a luxurious down to provide ultimate comfort and full support for your every sleeping position.

Made with Egyptian cotton, our towels are thick yet light. Customers who desire a superior luxury experience feel the luxury of their bodies being dried by a truly absorbent towel, which makes their bathing rituals more special.


Our products are bought direct to market without retail overhead to deliver true value.

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What materials are used for your sheet sets, pillows, towels and mattresses? Is there any special process for manufacturing them? We custom designed and wove two types of sheet fabrics to offer our customers luxurious comfort while they sleep with a long-lasting, high-quality textile product. Our 350 Twill fabric offers a slightly softer feel that many women prefer, while our 280 Pinpoint Oxford sheets offer a slightly “crisper� feel that is often preferred by men. Both our bedding fabrics are among the very highest quality of sheets offered in the market. We use rare, extra-long staple cotton that has a naturally soft

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feel and is superior in quality to the cotton fibers used in most sheeting fabrics. The 1.375-inch-long, superfine cotton fibers are twice combed and then ring spun into silk-like fine yarns. Twill woven fabric offers the same soft feel of a sateen fabric, but with better durability and less propensity to pill as is typical with sateen woven fabrics. Sheets: These are made of superfine, twice-combed, ring-spun, long-staple cotton. The fabrics are colorfast. We use motherof-pearl buttons, with extra buttons on duvets and shams sewn in. Fitted sheets accommodate 20-inch mattresses with elastic all around. Our lock-stitch sewing uses high-quality thread. Pillows: Our “double pillow design” is made in Italy, with the finest goose feathers enveloped by a luxurious down to provide ultimate comfort and full support for your every sleeping position. Pillows are 80% down, 20% feather (outer side), gr. 300/10 oz., and 100% feather (inner side), gr. 1100/39 oz. Mattresses are made of proprietary foam. The sewn-in quilted pillow top is 15-inch high.

bed linens on their own in cool to warm water with no fabric softener, bleach or whiteners. Tumble dry on a low temperature and remove the sheets quickly, then smooth and fold. What was the inspiration for the names behind each of your collections? Our luxury bedding collections are inspired by European/Mediterranean chic towns and settings that are favorite places of Elegant Strand owner Mark Lorberbaum. Each collection represents a region or city that he aspires to: Saint Tropez inspires a dream of sailing across azure waters. Capri was inspired by the exotic bay of Naples. Monte Carlo was inspired by the medieval villages and the Alps tucked away in France. St. Moritz was inspired by a place of sweeping Alpine landscapes, ski resorts and an iconic lake. Resource:

Towels are 100% cotton and feature thick, thirsty, plush super pile with decorative cam. They are made of colorfast material. How should your customers care for your linens to increase their longevity? Elegant Strand sheets get better each time you wash them. Be sure not to overload the washer or dryer. It’s best to wash our 42

Elegant Strand 7606 NW 6TH Avenue Boca Raton, FL. 33487 833.695.1500

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lease tell us some background information on your company? Designer Rug Center’s family owned and operated showroom is located in one of Miami’s most prestigious shopping districts. With 4 Generations of Handmade Rug knowledge and expertise the Designer Rug Center’s team consists of Owner Nader Amini who specializes in Antique and Exclusive Fine Rugs offering the rarest and authentic Persian rugs dating back to the 17th century for the more traditional client. Mr. Amini is an expert rug appraiser and learned the trade at the young age of ten through his rug weaving mother and grandmother. Designer Rug Center’s team also consists of Mr. Amini’s wife Maryam Amini who is an Interior Decorator and their daughter Shima Amini Kutuchief with a background in fine arts and graphic design. Shima has introduced a new state of the art software allowing clients and designers the flexibility of customizing area rugs for any Residential and Commercial room. What services do you offer your clientele in helping maintain their rugs? Designer Rug Center is a master of their craft when it comes to helping clients maintain their rugs. They offer stain protection on each and every modern or custom rug, Hand wash cleaning services with complimentary pick up/delivery and expect repair and restoration services.

Designer Rug Center caters both the Public Retail Client and Interior Designers to satisfy their creative needs; while offering commission incentives. Designer Rug Center’s showroom houses a luxurious collection of Contemporary and Modern handmade rugs in a vast assortment of colors, materials and sizes along with Transitional, Traditional and Antique rugs from around the world. Apart from their own unique collection Designer Rug Center is also a certified dealer for Tufenkian Artisan Carpets, Samad, Chandra, Delos, Calvin Klein and many more that will cater to any project’s budget. Are there new collections you are bringing in this season? If so please tell us about them. Since Designer Rug Center has their own production looms in countries like Nepal and India, they are introducing new designs every month. Make sure to regularly visit their website and follow them on Instagram for the latest design updates @designerrugctr. Resource: Designer Rug Center 1100 Kane Concourse Bay Harbor Islands FL 305.866.5551

Tell us about the collections you carry? Design + Decor

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ith so many available choices in the marketplace how do you narrow down your choices of what brands you carry in the showroom? We view ourselves to be more of a boutique showroom and with that our focus is to bring you brands that offer something unique to the market. Our flagship brand is the Subzero/Wolf family of brands that now includes Cove, a revolutionary dishwasher. This family of brands is tried and true. The SubZero brand covers so many segments of the market, from traditional to contemporary; something for every design. We then feature brands that have something unique to offer. BlueStar is a commercial look that can be customized from their color and hardware options to the swing of the oven doors. True Residential brings commercial quality to the residential market with their reliable engineering and the ability to do various colors and trims. Bertazzoni has a more antique look at an affordable price. We offer products that we can stand behind and that you won’t see at every store you visit. That, and the service you receive here is what sets us apart and what will set your home apart What brands do you carry in your showroom? Subzero, Wolf, Cove, Asko, Best, Bertazzoni, Fisher and Paykel, BlueStar,, True Residential, Electrolux, Samsung and Chef Collection, Perlick, Uline, Liebherr, Monolith, Vent A Hood, Fulgor Milano, Speed Queen to name a few. We have a pretty wide selection of some of the industries top brands. As we all know technology is continually on an upspring, where do you see new technology in appliances will go? Appliances are getting more adaptive. You can control some from your phone. We see some gravitating to more of the “ipad” features, where you can swipe and have a menu of options pull up, while others prefer the classic look of knobs. For user interface, it all depends on the design that people are looking for.

vection and microwave technology to help dishes turn out faster and with better results than they ever did with an oven or a microwave alone. More than anything, technology is creating options in design. Whether it be having separate refrigeration from freezer, or ovens that are more consistent than ever, if you find the appliance at Fuse, you can be assured that technology is, in some way, playing a significant role in its performance. What do you suggest a homeowner should budget for appliances? We find people generally budget between 1% and 2% of the homes value. However, this is a very personal decision and can vary widely. On trend currently is more of a contemporary design style with a desire to “hide” as many appliances as possible behind cabinetry that can render refrigeration nearly undetectable to the eye with proper installation, this style will have you on the higher end of the range generally. Regarding cost, sometimes people are surprised about just how much appliances can cost. If you bear in mind that a Sub-Zero refrigerator, that may cost $10,000 or more, has a life expectancy of more than 20 years and due to its technology will save you up to $2,000 a year on food that would have spoiled in another refrigerator, you can see that not only will it improve your home’s value but it improve your daily life as well. What finishes for appliances are trending? Right now brass is back! Brass hardware and trim. Custom panels on refrigerators, dishwasher, and hoods are always in trend but color is very popular. I am seeing a lot of deep blues, blacks, and whites all with brass trim. Do you think homeowners should step out of the box and go with colored appliances and what colors would you suggest? I think a feature item in the kitchen is always a showstopper! If you are daring, Blue is certainly on trend, but you can never go wrong with Matte Black or a matte white. Resource:

Steam is very popular now. Being that people are more health conscious and aware of what and how they are cooking, steam cooking offers significant benefits. You can cook fresh vegetables in a healthy way using steam and convection cooking to help your dishes turn out better than ever. Speed Ovens are another. People using speed ovens are finding that it’s the oven that is most used in the home. They use a combination of con-

Fuse Specialty Appliances 990 3rd Ave North Naples, FL 34102 239.529.5976 Design + Decor

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THE IMPACT OF COLOR Story by Gina Scott

Miranda Priestly: Something funny? Andy Sachs: No, no, nothing. Y’know, it’s just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. Y’know, I’m still learning about all this stuff. Miranda Priestly: This… ‘stuff ’? Oh… ok. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic “casual corner” where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of “stuff.” -Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada”

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emember when consumers sought out avocado appliances and burnt-orange countertops for their kitchens? Many of us still have pretty vivid images of the ’70s color schemes in our minds. Ever wonder why certain colors are popular during specific time periods? Color plays a major role in our economics; it drives what people buy and how they live. You may not think much about it because color is all around you every day—it’s in nature, it’s at work, it’s at home. But how does color really happen, and who decides what colors are popular? Webster’s Dictionary defines color as “a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects.” Color is something that is perceived differently by each individual eye. The appeal of different colors is up for interpretation. With such subjective concepts behind color, how do we define it in such a way that it affects our culture at its core level? Because color is such a broad and important subject, experts like Donald Kaufman play a key role. As the owner of Donald Kaufman Color, Don works with both residential and commercial clients,


providing them with custom-mixed colors and much-needed advice. In fact, he and his wife, Taffy Dahl, an artist who works alongside him, sometimes see themselves as mediators when two people can’t decide on a color for one reason or another. Don has a background as a painter (using materials like canvas), so he has a perfect history to work with color. Because color is such a broad and important subject, experts like Donald Kaufman play a key role. As the owner of Donald Kaufman Color, Don works with both residential and commercial clients providing them with custom-mixed colors and much-needed advice. He and his wife, Taffy Dahl, an artist who works alongside him, sometimes see themselves as mediators when two people can’t decide on a color. Don has a background as a painter (using materials like canvas), so he has a perfect history to work with color. Over the years, Don and his wife have worked on projects throughout the U.S. and around the world. Their projects encompass using color to enhance tiny apartments to working on the new American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Don and Taffy work with people who care about how things look and “ want the right feeling” in their spaces. Not being archi-

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tects or interior designers themselves, they work together with all trades to harmonize different materials, wallcoverings, tinted concrete, etc. to create the best atmosphere for the space. “We can contribute to the poetry architects and designers create,” says Don, who describes color as a “shape-changing sensation.” He and his wife are often brought in to help decide if a color is the correct choice—it’s as simple and complex as that. Talking with Don, you understand just how much there is to know about color. He points out that “biologists believe human beings can differentiate between seven and nine million distinct shades.” Color shifts within the eye and is ever-changing. Other things that shift along with color are trends—and that’s where the avocado-green appliances come in. Who decided that green appliances would be a hit? Or did consumers already reveal what would be in style so manufacturers could produce just that? This involves color forecasting.

Donald Kaufman

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Sandra Sampson, vice president of public relations and communications for the Color Marketing Group, describes color forecasting as “determining consumer color preferences several years in advance.” Made up of volunteers, the Color Marketing Group is the leading international association of color design professionals, and has been forecasting color for over 50 years. Each year, the Color Marketing Group releases to the public four key colors, which are determined by regional color forecasting workshops known as ChromaZones® and in conferences throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Explains Sandra, “The

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PPG Color of the Year Chinese Porcelain

color forecasting workshops gather together color designers, marketers, color scientists, CMF designers, and others from multiple industries to discuss their industry-specific color trend research. Our trend research is driven by what’s happening in the economy, museums, movies, television, politics and elsewhere.” The members then boil down the research to the most forward-looking colors that will appear in the market two years ahead. Each individual color forecasting workshop collaborates on a 16-color palette with supporting color trend stories. Sixty-four colors make up the CMG World Color Forecast™ and are released to the members each year at their international summit. Color forecasting dates back to 1915, when the Color Association of the United States was founded. At that point in our culture, color became an important part of the economy. Sarah says it is all about “having the right color on a product, in the right market, at the right time” that helps sell products. It’s important for all industries to understand where the trends will be with color forecasting, because, as Sarah explains, consumers desire coordinating colors—for example, a pink towel that coordinates with their pink wall and pink blender. She agrees there is an “undeniable connection between color and our emotion, and color does influence us,” so the emotional connection in color design is an important component of the color design process. “The psychology of color can be influenced by our past experiences, our preconceived notions and symbology,” Sarah says. So if a child received a blue bike and had many good memories riding it, you could expect this child to carry the happy feeling about blue into his adulthood. Conversely, we can associate negative feelings with colors, so if 54

you grew up in a yellow bedroom and didn’t have a happy childhood, you might never be attracted to the color yellow again. Color can be attached to just about anything. For some cultures, traditional colors are symbolic or hold special meanings. Interest groups might associate a certain color with their mission statement. Color also affects us subconsciously and even affects our behavior. Would we stop at a green stop sign? Since we generally associate the color green with go and the color red with stop, we would at least be confused by the switch—if not cause an accident by not stopping at all. “The preconceived notion that all stop signs need to be red would make it confusing to us if someone were to change the color for another,” says Sarah. “Color psychology is deeply tied to context,” she continues. “Interior designers apply colors that fit the home, hospital, bedroom or kitchen setting—not too bold for sleeping, yet lively for gathering spaces. We set the mood of our homes by the colors we apply from the front door out the back, and into our outdoor rooms in context to the room’s purpose.” Outside the home, colors are carefully chosen for hospitals and doctor’s offices because certain colors are known to be healing. Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager for PPG Paints, agrees that we use color not only as a comfort at times, but also as a reflection of what’s going on in our culture. When PPG color forecasts, she says, “We look at societal influence. After 9/11, for example, the two colors

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DORNBRACHT | COYOTE | PORSCHE DESIGN STUDIO | FRANKE| SALGAR | LIEBHERR | BERTAZZONI Poggenpohl + Florida Designer Cabinetry 10800 Corkscrew Road Ste. 105 Estero, FL 33928 T: 239-948-9005 |

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that bubbled to the surface were soft pink and chocolate brown. Soft pink is a compassionate color and chocolate brown is a cocooning, hunkering-down color. They were all over fashion and quickly came into home décor because they represented the sentiment of the world.” Dee also says that after 2008, the wall colors turned to gray to reflect the recession. However, “after a sea of gray,” she adds, “we are seeing color come back. Blues and greens are super trendy right now.” She explains that they’ve never seen anxiety in the culture as they do now, and blue is a calming color, which is why they moved to blue as a color of the year. Color has such a wide-ranging effect on our culture that it’s hard to truly comprehend its importance. Anyone involved in the manufacturing of products is affected by color. “The right colors sell more,” says Dee. “If you get the right color in front of someone, it can help them with their project by coordinating all their pieces.” Color affects our buying choices and our moods; it can cheer us up or bring us down. It can even affect our behavior and our actions towards others. Dee thinks the global opinion on color is coming together in a way like never before. In the past, she says, different areas of the world had a harder time agreeing on similar colors to be the trend, but in the past few years, that hasn’t been the case. “I think that says the world is sharing a lot of the same sentiments,” she notes. At times, color is so mysterious that even experts who work with it have a difficult time defining it. For, as elusive and ever-changing as it is, color influences everyone around the world, every day. Its impact is more far-reaching than most of us could ever imagine. Resources: Color Marketing Group Sandra Sampson VP of Public Relations and Communications 1908 Mount Vernon Avenue 3rd Floor Alexandria, VA 22301 703.329.8500 Donald Kaufman Color Donald Kaufman 336 W 37th St #801 New York, NY 10018 212.594.2608 PPG Paints Dee Schlotter Senior Color Marketing Manager 1 PPG Place Pittsburgh, PA 15272 412.434.3131

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CONTRACTOR TO CLIENT Interior Designer Lisa Gilmore teams up with Builder Elisa LaBram Verch who builds a dream home for herself this time Story by Venus Vega | Photography by Seamus Paine

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esigning your dream home is a deeply personal experience. the From initial floor-plan stage to picking out color palettes, textures and the many other details in between, designing your home is definitely a passion project. While many of us are happy to share our grand ideas and have a team of experts handle the rest, this homeowner had a very unique quality that gave “handson” a whole new meaning. Lisa Gilmore of Lisa Gilmore Design is a renowned luxury residential designer known for the custom interiors she creates for large-scale homes and condos in Tampa Bay, FL, and across North America. With more than a decade of experience designing for prominent clients, Lisa and her team of leading contractors and artists work to create incredibly beautiful and unique spaces, drawing inspiration from her travels throughout the world. Discussing her relationship with her clients, Lisa says, “I always joke with potential clients that it is a lot like dating: there has to be open communication and Design + Decor

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Front entryway with view of palm fronds on the ceiling, accented by a simple and classic gold chandelier

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View of living room, showing different seating options instead of the traditional matching living room furniture

there has to be open communication and trust with the process. We love to work with people who give us an idea of what they are dreaming of; then we create a vision and design that they never knew could exist. We seek clients who appreciate and value interior design and the creative process that comes with it.”

ing to find or build their forever homes. With a diverse selection of landscapes—from urban cities to quiet beach towns—the state has so much to offer to those looking to settle down here. Elisa knew exactly where she wanted to live on her first visit to the island of Terra Ceia, located on the southern shore of Tampa Bay.

Elisa LaBram Verch is not only the owner of this home, but also the builder. She is president of LaBram Homes, considered to be St. Petersburg’s top custom home builder, founded by her father in 1986. This family business takes a personal approach to building homes. From the initial consultation to the final reveal, the team at LaBram collaborates with their clients, taking in their dreams and goals to craft beautiful and functional homes. Having grown up in the business, Elisa discovered her passion for creating floor plans at a very early age. After years of drawing and redrawing the floor plan for her very own dream home, Elisa was finally able to make it a reality.

Terra Ceia Island in Manatee County is home to the 2,000-acre Terra Ceia Preserve State Park. This small community is surrounded by all the goods that nature has to offer, including stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. The property Elisa now proudly calls home was once a palm tree farm, a detail that made her feel right at home, having grown up with orange groves on her family property.

Location, location, location Florida has long been one of the top choices for homeowners look-

Team work, dream work With Elisa’s building experience and Lisa’s creative eye, the two set out to create the magic that is this Old Florida home, which Lisa describes as having “Southern charm with a modern family approach—and a few bits of glam sprinkled in.” The team used bold lighting fixtures, fabrics, patterned tiles and bright pops of color throughout the home to highlight Elisa’s cheerful personalDesign + Decor

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Up-close view of the dining table, highlighted by the elegant chandelier hanging just above

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Long view of front parlor room with custom built-ins and chandelier that beautifully complements the room

ity. While styling was definitely a factor, it was also important that this family home was functional for everyday life as much as it is for entertaining and hosting. Her design choices, Lisa says, prompt plenty of talking points and interesting stories. Of all the colorful and thoughtfully decorated spaces in the home, the front parlor is both Elisa and Lisa’s favorite room. “It is the most colorful space in the house,” says Lisa. “It has so much character, and I love the colorful draperies.” They two women agree that a set of vintage French chairs from around 1897, with original nail heads and beautiful carvings, is what makes this space extra special. “Another piece I love is the photo of the orange that is framed above the couch,” says Elisa. “I grew up with orange groves on our property, and when I saw this piece, it immediately reminded me of my childhood.” As an ode to the environment and area in which the property is located, the design team decided to honor the property ’s past as a palm tree farm by contracting an artist to paint palm fronds on the ceiling of the foyer, another detail that makes this space stand out. Although each space in the home has a unique theme—such as pops of leopard print, colorful backsplash tiles, bold art and chandeliers—Lisa and her team managed to create a home that flows and merges, creating an exciting story. “All in all, I feel this project went incredibly smoothly,” says Lisa. “It may have been the fact that our client is a builder, and gets it. Or maybe it’s just the combination of great teamwork and communication. I’m really not sure why, but everything worked out so lovely, and I believe it’s because there was an undeniable amount of communication Design + Decor

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View of kitchen with patterned tiled backsplash and dark island with marbled countertop, contrasting with the white cabinetry throughout. Unique light fixtures above the island complement the spotlights throughout the kitchen.


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and trust with the project. Elisa allowed me and my team to do our job not only well, but also to our fullest potential. I’m very grateful for her trust in the process.” For Elisa, who had been designing the floor plan for her dream home for years, finally being able to build it felt like a dream come true. “As a custom home builder, I got a lot of insight into what my customers experience during the building of their own homes,” she says. “I delight in living in this home every day of my life, and am truly grateful to have had this experience.” Whether she’s entertaining her friends and family, or sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, waving as the neighbors pass by, one thing is sure: this is a forever home where memories that last a lifetime will be created.

Resources: Interiors: Lisa Gilmore Design Lisa Gilmore 2661 1st Avenue South Saint Petersburg, FL 33712 727.201.8902 Builder: LaBram Homes Elisa LaBram Verch 2661 1st Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33712 727-826-7206 Architectural Draftsman: Hartwell Design Group John R. Hartwell 1444 East Bloomingdale Avenue Valrico, Florida 33594 813.662.2581 Kitchen: Olde World Cabinetry 3751 62nd Avenue North Pinellas Park, FL 33781 727.530.9779 oldeworldcabinetry

Long view of the kitchen and island, with built-ins for storage and a door leading to the back porch

Landscaping: Florida Landscapes 9630 Quiet Lane Winter Garden, FL 34787 407.467.8200 Design + Decor

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BIOPHILIC DESIGN 2019 ANNUAL TOP 25 DESIGNERS ISSUE Biophilia is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature. Biophilic design, an extension of biophilia, incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment.

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he natural world is the refuge of the spirit, remote, static, richer even than human imagination.” —Edward O. Wilson

In our increasingly artificial and confined world, many of our best designers and architects are constantly seeking new ways to unite the indoors and the outdoors. By bringing some of the natural world into our man-made world, perhaps we can recreate some of that refuge of the spirit in the spaces we inhabit most often. “I think we are only just beginning to understand the restorative power of engaging with nature to improve our happiness and well-being,” says Malibu West designer Leslie Thompson. In her designs, Leslie tries “to start with large, sun-filled rooms, hardwood floors and the many colors in our beautiful Southwest Florida water and sky,” she says.

sparked an emotional response for them,” Leslie explains. To do so, she made use of some of the incredible technology which we have access to. “Today we have the ability to introduce products such as a Canadian live-edge dining table—literally a tree slab—to bring the magnificence of the outdoors to our interiors,” she says. She continued this style by incorporating “items with a tactile nature—touchability like a cowhide rug, and wallcoverings with an organic fiber weave—to bring daily rejuvenation” to the clients. Throughout the rest of the home, Leslie used a wide variety of materials designed to create that tropical, natural feel. The office doors were fashioned from tree branches that were enclosed in glass panels. The ceilings were made from cypress wood, and the worm holes in the wood were left visible to reinforce the very natural look of the home. A mirror for the entry was custom-made from shells that surround the glass.

The residence, which previously was a dated but well-kept home in Old For this world-traveling husband-and-wife duo, Leslie wanted to cre- Naples, is now the perfect retreat for the busy couple. From dated to ate a tropical retreat that would give the couple a break from the much tropical, the design is spot on. “Is there a design style called ‘paradise’? colder climate in which they normally live. “I wanted this home to There should be!” Leslie jokes. be tropical in nature, with colors and materials that resonated and Design + Decor

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n Florida, designing with nature in mind is, well, natural. With so many homes within view of the water, it’s hard not to make that the focus of every design.

Designer Faith Fix from Freestyle Interiors agrees. “Designing in Florida is a natural for biophilic design,” she says. “We start from the ground up in our clients’ homes, working with the architect on our projects to have as much natural light as possible and to incorporate the best views.” Because of the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Faith is often inspired to use color palettes that are evocative of “the calming nature of the water,” she says. “We use wood flooring a lot for grounding, and incorporate as much organic material as possible in both the backgrounds and the furnishings.” In every project, the designers at Freestyle Interiors create the atmosphere their clients want by using a variety of natural materials. “We use wood where it makes good design sense,” says Faith. “It also provides warmth in our designs, which is important for our clients’ comfort. We then add other natural materials, such as stone, concrete, glass and warm-toned materials. Plants are always part of the design.” Because so many of Freestyle Interiors’ clients also own homes in the much chillier North, the firm focuses on creating light, airy and warm designs that bear little resemblance to those northern homes. “We achieve that for them with all the natural light and interior selections that reflect the beauty of living in Southwest Florida,” Faith explains. “Many of our clients have a tough time leaving once they’re here, which we take as a sign that they’re feeling the natural and healthy atmosphere in their homes.” “We’re fortunate to live and design in a place that is naturally beautiful,” she continues. “Our sunshine and even our rain provide a harmonious and healthy environment. Our job is simply to bring that sense of natural beauty into the home, so our clients can enjoy nature in every corner of their home.” Design + Decor

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very designer has a particular design style that finds its way into every project he or she takes on. For Judith Liegeois Designs, biophilia is just that. “We love to use natural elements such as grass cloth paper, sisal rugs, natural waxed woods, stone, marble, bronze, clay, porcelain and blown glass—basically, anything that’s artisan or handmade,” Judith says. “Clients truly appreciate the many natural elements, which add a serene quality to all our homes.” For this home, Judith was charged with creating a “refined organic” space for a young family of four. “The clients are especially connected to nature, and the husband, particularly, is very tactile,” Judith explains. “His request was to have, in his shower, undulating lava stone underfoot.” This unique stone gives the glass-enclosed shower a natural feel, as if you’re actually standing on the uneven ground of the private bamboo garden outside. Another great example of the biophilic design elements Judith Liegeois Designs used in this project is in the entryway of the home. “Naturally-worn lava stone floors run from the outside front entry into the entrance foyer and main hall, continuing out through the opposing doors and on to the pool area,” Judith says. In addition, the foyer’s ceiling features a unique slatted walnut design that “gives the impression of being in a gazebo, which transforms at night when lit,” she says. “It evokes the feeling of being outside under the stars. The golden ‘swarm of thorns’ on the left of wall of the entryway was created by assemblage artist Ran Adler,” she continues, describing the home’s unique entry. “To me, Ran’s work typifies the meaning of biophilic design.” When asked what the biggest challenge is for designers in creating a space like this, Judith says, “There was no huge challenge in creating this home. Our architect, Rob Herscoe of Herscoe & Hajjar, the BCB Homes team and the homeowners made this project a dream. The only challenge was being unable to move in myself!” Design + Decor

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as anyone ever moved to Florida for its abundant office spaces? Not a chance! When someone decides to own a home in the Sunshine State, it’s usually because he or she wants to see more of the beautiful nature that makes our state such a perfect vacation destination. Florida’s natural beauty infuses every part of our lives, including the design of our indoor spaces. “Since I’m a native Floridian, it’s in my nature and heart to incorporate the incredible surroundings of our area into our built environments,” explains Dawn Harmon, principal of Little Palm Design Group. “ The connection to the natural world is an inherent affinity.” Dawn and her team are constantly seeking original ways to incorporate nature into their designs. “ There are so many innovative ways to connect with our environment, both visually and through our other senses,” she says. “Organic materials abound. Wallcoverings can have a great impact, with many textural offerings, such as cork, grass cloth, stones, wood veneer, digital murals, raffia, silks, metallic, paper weaves and prints. Furnishings

can enrich our contact with nature with live-edge wood tables, sophisticated and contemporary rattan, rough-edged stone pieces and driftwood tables. I like to accessorize with materials like sculptures that mimic nature, works of local artists or photography showing off the beauty of our area. Biomimicry of colors adds warmth and richness. Colors of sand, stone, water and trees are often used in this area. Elements of water, scents and texture further simulate bringing the outside in, while adding to our innate connection to nature.” For Dawn, creating a space that incorporates nature is about so much more than ending up with a beautifully designed room. She says it’s about pro viding a “place of happiness” for her clients. “Many clients say they know what they don’t like, but are often hard-pressed to describe what they do want,” says Dawn. “I’m often asked to make the space comfortable, relaxed and welcoming, where friends and family can gather. People may not always be able to identify this visual need to bring nature in, but they definitely like it and appreciate it when they see it. It’s almost instinctual.” Design + Decor

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he human spirit needs the outdoors, fresh air and natural light,” says Gil Walsh of Gil Walsh Interiors. Indeed, she believes that biophilic design is about much more than simply adding a houseplant. Instead, says Gil, it’s about “using the natural forms, shapes and colors of nature in a single design that creates a pleasant environment that affects my clients’ health and well-being.”

home in Western Pennsylvania. But when her clients acquired this 1978 home in Key Largo, FL, it was in bad repair and needed some attention. “This residence is a departure from the ‘Americana’ style of their home in New England,” says Gil. “We worked to incorporate the best architectural features of the house to bring it to today ’s standards of comfort.” To incorporate the natural materials and light so crucial to Gil and her team, they created a unique, compelling wall that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. “We often use natural elements like the Coquina base for the dining room table or bamboo-paneled walls,” explains Gil. “In this home, we also created a textured paneled wall in bright blue and white, and then added straw benches. As you pass the wall, you feel energized; staring at it is mesmerizing.”

Studies show that most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. Yet other research indicates that spending time in nature has a multitude of benefits for health and well-being that simply can’t be replicated with the artificial light and air of the indoors. “That’s exactly why sustainable home design— which focuses as much on the health of the inhabitants as it does on the health of the planet—includes maximizing natural lighting,” says Gil. “A naturally lit space will help you be more Before its transformation, “this was a vintage 1978 home in bad productive than an artificially lit environment.” repair,” says Gil. “Now it’s what we call a ‘tropical mid-century modern’ residence. It’s truly a retreat for the couple to enjoy This project was meant to become a vacation retreat for a couple and share with friends and family.” Gil Walsh Interiors had worked with previously on their main Design + Decor

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lthough the focus of this issue is biophilic design, it’s also about design in general. Biophilic design is a technical term that sounds grand and intricate and, in some ways, it truly is. In other ways, though, it’s as natural as the materials that have found their way into these homes. When asked how she incorporates biophilic design into all her projects, designer Carrie Brigham says, “It’s actually much easier to incorporate it than you would think. Large spans of windows in the architecture allow natural light and a view to the nature outside. We can also use natural wood floors, marble and stone tile, and earth-tone fabrics and paint. In our region, it’s quite easy to incorporate the blue and green tones found in the Gulf of Mexico into fabrics and accessories as well.”

For Carrie and her team, it’s not so much about using biophilic design as a single, all-encompassing design style. Rather, they bring natural elements into any design their clients choose. “Most clients want their homes to be a serene oasis and a place that reflects their personality, whether it’s a Zen garden feel or an art gallery vibe,” Carrie says. “No matter which style our clients choose, nature is effortlessly incorporated with materials, greenery and views.” It’s not always easy to use purely natural materials inside a person’s home, however. Between kids and pets and just life in general, a design that solely relies on delicate, organic materials won’t last for long. “Our clients want life-proof, pet-proof and children-proof materials that can be wiped down and cleaned without hiring a pro,” she says. “So, when needed, we turn to man-made materials like quartz and porcelain, which have organic veining.”

One innovative way Carrie has found to bring the outside in is with lighting that changes with the sun. “We use Ketra, a light fixture sys- Regardless of the extent to which biophilic design is used, Carrie and tem that connects all the artificial lights throughout the home, and her design team are excellent at creating beautiful, inviting and livable programs them to follow the sun’s light characteristics throughout the spaces that fit all their clients’ needs. day. So the light is warmer in the early morning and late evening, and cooler around high noon—automatically.” Design + Decor

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or many designers, biophilic design is solely about cre- ture-inspired shapes to further highlight the home’s connection ating a space that evokes the sense of being in nature with the environment. “Organic shapes in natural materials are with every element that’s chosen. This often includes center stage in this project,” Jenny explains. “The ‘twisters’ that are the support legs at the bar, kitchen a wide variety of natural macounter and outdoor kitchen were conterials and color palettes that ceptualized, mocked up for testing, and contribute to the overall atmosphere. then carefully crafted. They tell the story of the environment and the open design For other designers, however, biophilic of the house.” design is a tool in their toolbox. It’s well loved and used often, but it’s not necThe home was built and designed for a essarily the end design. The K2 Design Group uses biophilic design to lend some couple with unique tastes and a zeal for warmth to their more modern design fresh ideas. “Our clients are gregarious style. “My interest in future-design dicbusiness owners who are absolutely full of life,” says Jenny. “They go at it full tates using modern products that are not tilt. The architecture and interior design necessarily made from natural materials,” of this house suit them completely. In says K2 owner Jenny Provost. “However, fact, it is them.” a future-design must still feel like home. It must be warm, welcoming, even cozy.” Working with such vibrant clients created both the greatest delight and the For this project, the views were everybiggest challenge in this project. “The thing. “The house is literally open to and seems to be one with the Caloosahatchee biggest challenge was the constant invenRiver,” says Jenny. “The wind whips tion and experimentation with a client through the structure—the feeling of being enclosed indoors is who was eager for ideas that were truly unique,” says Jenny. “It far from this home’s open-air reality.” was three years of intense design and execution, but by the end of it, we all thought it was absolutely worth it!” Throughout the space, the designers chose to create unique, naDesign + Decor

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ltimately, design is all about humans. It’s about discovering the needs of each and every client and creating a space that is perfect for them. One thing every human has in common, though, is our seemingly innate connection to nature. For designer Lisa Kahn, this connection is what informs every design she creates. “Biophilic design is about linking human beings back to nature and the outdoor world through the design of the spaces we inhabit,” she says. “That might sound incongruous, but when you consider that we are basically hardwired to need connection with nature and, conversely, that we spend 90% of our time indoors, biophilic design is critical to the overall wellness of the people who use the spaces we design. I use it as a foundation for every project.” In each of her projects, Lisa uses unique materials throughout the design to give them that one-with-nature feel. “In one project,” she recalls, “I used a mosaic floor tile in ming green marble that is styled to mimic water waves. When you step onto this bathroom floor, it appears as though you are stepping into a stream. The effect is cool, refreshing and utterly magical. My client actually gasped with delight when he saw it for the first time.” In another project, Lisa created a fireplace that merged beautifully with the waterfront view below. “In this combination entry/living room,” she says, “the fireplace wall is made of an enormous slab of Sea Pearl quartzite, which is almost the exact color of the bay water outside the sliding doors. It appears as if the water is washing out right down the wall. That stone is surrounded by natural walnut shelving, which ties into the walnut flooring and also borders the stone like a tree reaching up to the ceiling.” Lisa’s attention to each and every detail of a home’s design and her goal to tie it all back in with nature is inspired by the clients themselves. “I think that people come to Naples because they enjoy our natural environment,” she says. “They come for the beach, the water, the weather, the sunshine and the vegetation. Many clients come here to decompress and escape busy lives elsewhere, and we have this shining opportunity to create spaces where they can relax and refresh themselves and get back to what makes everyone feel good: Mother Nature.”

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here’s no denying that one of the most restful places on Earth is a garden that is loved and skillfully tended. For a retired couple with a passion for gardening, what better way to celebrate their years of hard work than by creating a beautiful garden retreat in the middle of the Sunshine State? Lisa Davenport and her team took on the project, excited to help the couple realize their vision. “I view biophilic design as designs that embrace nature and natural elements, weaving them into the concept and aesthetic of a project,” says Lisa. “Often, it can be as simple as designing spaces with large doors and windows that invite the outdoors in. Other designs adopt natural, rugged stone, live-edge tabletops, grasscloth finishes or more dramatic living walls. This project in particular truly wraps its arms around biophilic design.”

“This carriage house with the garden room and outdoor living spaces allow natural components to not only be accents in the design, but to be the backbone of the design,” she continues. Throughout the entire space, greenery is used abundantly, bringing life and beauty to a space that could have become rather harsh, with its white paneling. In addition, natural cedar and reclaimed beams cover the ceilings, creating a space that is both warm and inviting. Creating a biophilic design can be a challenge. “It’s always a delicate balance to use the natural elements and manmade products together, and to draw attention to the fabricated elements,” Lisa explains. However, by carefully selecting and placing a variety of natural woods, stone, brick, greenery and even fire, Lisa Davenport Designs turned the blank, open backyard into a garden escape that is perfect for hosting friends and family. Design + Decor

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hether incorporated into the aesthetic design or the building aspect of a home, the concept of biophilic design is based on connecting a home with the natural world around us. Incorporating organic elements into a home can be seen in subtle ways, such as the use of skylights, which allow natural light from outside to come through the ceiling. Skylights can be as big or as small as you want, and are a wonderful minimalist design for any room. Wilfredo Emanuel’s contemporary and traditional designs embrace the warmth of biophilic design through the textures he uses to imitate nature, and through the natural color palettes he chooses. It is in these details that he brings nature into his designs. Using materials like stone and cedar wood for an illuminated wine bar helps create a sleek, finished look while honoring the feeling of being in a natural wine cellar. Another beautiful approach that Wilfredo uses is the living wall. This can be either a section or a whole wall that is covered in real greenery—flowers, plants or a combination of both. It is a very intricate and delicate element to add to any home or indoor space. Since it would be difficult to properly water an entire wall, living walls typically have an integrated water and soil system that keeps them alive. It is also essential to consider the effects that these elements will have in the home—and that nature itself will have on the elements. Wilfredo explains that natural woods specifically can often expand and later shrink down when exposed to humidity, which is why you won’t find many homes in Florida with wooden exteriors. Wilfredo says that having elements that connect his clients to nature is very important to his work. It is very comforting to experience the freshness and lightness that is felt in nature throughout one’s home. Design + Decor

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hile bringing some elements of the natural world into our homes is not a new concept— think houseplants and window herb gardens— the notion that our home should be designed around such an idea is not quite as a common. Some designers have been incorporating natural elements in their designs perhaps without even knowing they were working within a specific concept. According to designer Mickey Dickson Marzucco of Ecru & Ebony Design, “My feeling in working on a project has always been ‘bringing the outside in’ and using natural materials. The term ‘biophilic design’ is new to me. Whenever I get involved in a new build or renovation with a client, I like to look at how much natural light will be filtering into each space at particular times of the day, in conjunction with how they will use each space. Since we are in a seasonal area with a lot of our clientele, it is difficult to have live plants, so we choose to use different woods and natural stones in our designs.” In the two projects pictured here, Mickey used various natural materials, like a natural hardwood by Legno Bastone, walnut cabi-

nets and Conrad shades, which are made of sustainable natural fibers. In one of the projects, Mickey was also able to manipulate the existing spaces in the home. “I converted the lanai to indoor living space at the client’s request to give the feeling of a brighter, more open floor plan,” she explains. “A slimline sliding glass door system was installed to maximize that outdoor view of the lush landscape surrounding them. Their vast property overlooks a pond and tree line in the back, so the stone fireplace and simple wood mantle and beams gave them the natural elements of bringing the outdoors in. We used a custom wool rug and natural cotton fabrics as only side panels to allow as much natural sunlight in as possible.” “The project where I completed a total gut and remodel was a little more traditional with bits of eclecticism,” Mickey continues. “We transitioned it into what I named ‘continental chic.’ We added a lot of clean-lined design elements paired with some of their antique pieces. The use of some vibrant color and bold patterns transformed this into exactly what the clients wanted and love!” Design + Decor

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any designers depend on the natural world, on some level, for inspiration in their designs. While this might not directly translate to a biophilic concept, the idea that the outside world has something to offer us even indoors is not lost. For those with an understanding of how human beings relate to nature, a biophilic design is really the only way to design. Jenn Zella, director of design at CID Design Group, realizes that as humans we are deeply connected to nature. She believes that our surroundings largely contribute to our well-being. “They impact our mood, our productivity and our health,” she says. “Humans have existed for hundreds of thousands of years surrounded by natural elements, and only in recent history have we lived in a modern built environment.” Jenn shares with us what biophilic design means to her, and how her team uses this concept in their clients’ designs. “Biophilia is an entire field of science that unravels how our body responds symbiotically with nature,” she says. “The color temperature of lighting alone cues countless physical responses. Within every project—regardless of geographic location, brand or aesthetic—we incorporate organic materials, natural texture, live or preserved greenery, maximum exterior glazing, and air and water purification. We employ circadian lighting systems, which are more affordable than ever with smart bulbs. We research what trees are locally grown for our species, and what rock is locally mined. One good example is the coral stone art installation in the tower lobby at Kalea Bay in Naples. Coral stone is one of our most affordable local stones; it is used as riprap for breaker walls, and it reinforces a local connection and strong biophilic design. Nature is the greatest designer, and we just want to provide it a stage.” For their clients, who are developers, Jenn and her team have designed three new high-rise communities, whose brand has a focus on biophilic design as a value proposition. “People are more conscious than ever about their health and well-being, and our built environment can have a positive impact if we are aware of and thoughtful about our design,” she explains. “We also spend over half of our day interacting with technology, so natural materials are comforting, reassuring and grounding, and remind us that not everything is digital and virtual.” For Jenn, being aware of and existing in a society that is actively seeking ways to integrate technology into daily life is to be mindful of the potential risks that can come from such a world. “Electromagnetic fields are truly a concern, especially as we are approaching a 5G network in many cities,” she says. “If we focus on biophilic design, we can still create healthy environments that help us be our best selves. Not only is this the right thing to do as professionals, it adds a tremendous amount of value.” Discussing some of her favorite materials and sources, Jenn says, “We love Philips Hue smart bulbs, which can be programmed to be circadian and can retrofit any fixture. We use Sage Green living walls, based in Chicago, and Paloma Teppa’s Plant the Future, from Wynwood, Miami, for preserved walls. We also love the Urban Cultivator, which allows us to farm even in urban environments, and, of course, any locally harvested or mined material used in its raw, natural form.” Design + Decor

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iophilic design is something that most designers and homeowners probably already incorporate without knowing that they do so. Most people would agree that it’s only human to want to feel connected with nature, or at least have the feeling that being in nature gives us. For this reason, designers might be inclined to add details like skylights or floor-to-ceiling windows, or to use color palettes inspired by the bright colors of flowers. Even these small details are elements of a biophilic design—a concept that incorporates nature directly or indirectly into a design.

were the organic wood shapes, teak root and rattan furnishings, seashell accents and agate accessories.”

While most people are happy to have a few simple reminders of the outside world, these clients have a lifestyle that is deeply connected to outdoor life and “entertaining their guests with a focus on organic beach living,” says Michelle. Staying true to her clients’ love of the seashore, her team focused on an open layout that featured floor-to-ceiling windows. “This bold display of the ocean made for stunning focal points that accented our design aesthetic as well as the routine of our clients,” she says. Designers brought the Designer Michelle Mancuso gives us her take on this concept. “Bio- beach home for her clients by using an array of materials, including philic design is the unique ability to bring the organic designs of Belgium linen, sea grass and jute rugs, agate accessories and seashell nature into our clients’ homes,” she says. “We incorporate this by accents. focusing on natural fabrics such as Belgium linen, an abundance of natural light, unique shapes and a neutral palette that resembles the While natural materials are part of this design concept, space and placement are also important elements. “The master suite originally environment surrounding our clients’ homes.” had no view, but by moving the bed into a floating position and For this project, Michelle drew inspiration from the dunes encir- installing brand new floor-to-ceiling windows, we found a beautiful cling the residence. “We sourced pieces that best complemented the solution to an obstructed view,” Michelle explains. “It allows for breathtaking view and enhanced the natural tones of the ocean,” she more natural light and provides this couple with a magnificent view recalls. “Some of the more specific and literal interpretations of this of the ocean.” Design + Decor

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very designer has his or her own unique approach to diverse design concepts, and biophilic design is no different. While some designers focus heavily on the use of organic materials and details like living walls, some prefer to use the spaces in the home to bring the outside in. For designer Maria Price, founder and president of Maria Charmaine Designs, Inc., biophilic design means using the clients’ space to give the home the feeling of relaxation and comfort the moment they step in. By understanding her clients’ lifestyle and how they like to entertain and host guests, Maria is able to use their existing space and views to incorporate a biophilic design. Designing a thoughtful space for these clients was especially important to Maria. The property is a vacation home for her retired clients, who often host their friends and family here, grandchildren included. “These clients have a view of the Gulf of Mexico,” Maria explains, “and they want to be able to enjoy their views without glare or blinding sunlight so they can ex-

perience the serenity the water brings into their space. Their spaces also need to be user-friendly for their grandchildren, who literally bring some of the outside in. They have an active and energetic lifestyle.” Maria and her team used a color palette inspired by the sand and ocean to emphasize the idea of a “relaxed coastal” feel. Materials like glass tiles, linens, shells and natural fabrics offer the space a restful environment that mimics the relaxation of being at the beach. While creating access to the beautiful views her clients love so much, Maria was mindful of the potential problems that might be caused by the organic elements in her design. “While creating the environment to incorporate visuals from the outside, we did not hinder or eliminate the visual based on the amount of light coming into the space at any point during the day,” she explains. “We used materials that can tolerate the sunlight and show little or no fading or deterioration from the ultraviolet rays.” Design + Decor

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hen most people think of Florwas not functional in the living room, and there was ida, they picture beaches, sand very little real connection to the backyard or view of and probably an assortment of the golf course.” wild reptiles. It would make Molly and her team decided to utilize the entire footsense that those drawn to the print of the yard to expand the outdoor living spaces beachy vibes of South and from all areas of the house. “The master now has an Southwest Florida would want those same relaxed area for sitting and enjoying morning coffee,” she feelings extended to their homes. Molly Hoover of says, “plus an additional 30- by 25-foot living space Molly Hoover Design Group says that yes, they do. off the back of the house that is complete with a huge “Biophilic design is a natural here in Naples,” she fireplace, dining area and an outdoor kitchen—all notes. “The mass appeal of our environment here added for year-round enjoyment and entertaining.” is inside-outside living. We are all are drawn to this The team was also able to build a contemporary twoclimate that we are so lucky to live in—that gives story cabana for an office or alternative get-away us the luxury of enjoying nature, fresh air, exquisite landscapes and water space, moving the pool to the back setback of the property to do so. They year-round.” placed the new reflecting pool through the entire middle of the living space to retain the tranquil water element. Those elements are all essential parts of a biophilic design for both interior and exterior spaces. Molly explains that in addition to being beautiful, this Keeping in mind that it isn’t always sunny in Florida, the team also concept is good for our soul and well-being. “It is proven that biophilic equipped the space with roll-down screens and hurricane shutters for full design and being connected to nature lowers our blood pressure, reduces protection. “To tie the hardscape to the landscape, we incorporated Alexanstress, increases creativity and improves cognitive function,” she says. “By der palm trees around the reflecting pool up by the house, and zoysia grass incorporating these elements into our everyday living, we are reminded that and natural stone pavers to blend these two spaces seamlessly,” Molly exnature is precious and that we need to keep our environment healthy. A plains. “Seeing greenery and water continuously was very important. Along room with something green instantly comes to life. When a room is alive, with the natural sky that peeks though the aluminum awnings that give a I believe we come to life!” hint of shade, we worked on lighting with the clients very intentionally to perfect the space.” For this particular project, a biophilic design was the only way to go. Although they have a home in Ireland, Molly’s clients spend most of their Molly’s biophilic design of this property included special details like a cariyear in our lovely Sunshine State. As an extremely active couple with a bou mount placed on a nickel-gap tongue-and-groove wall in a sitting room growing family, they appreciate being able to spend their days outdoors, featuring a teak driftwood root cocktail table. The room is accessorized playing golf with friends and family. with fresh tulips and coral—the flowers as a nod to Molly’s background in the flower industry. Of this particular element choice, Molly says, “I believe Molly notes that, although the property is ideally located on a golf course that all design should reflect the personality of the client, along with just and has wonderful outdoor space, the connection to the outside world was a hint of the designer. I love to bring in an organic element that is unexcut off from the actual property. To begin the design process, she explains, pected, makes you smile, is a great conversation starter or is just plain fun! “we compiled lists and visual inspirations that molded the vision of the The caribou mount is a personal favorite, as it has a special meaning conend product. The very first thing I suggested was to eliminate the screen cerning a time and place of great memories and emotion. This connection cage. The whole concept of the ‘cage’ is to trap us into a limited space. We along with the complete, unexpected element here in Naples, is so unique.” often talk about an area as light and airy, but a lot of design doesn’t take the In the end, a Mediterranean-style home became a lush coastal contempoliteral sky into consideration. The house had a large picture window that rary paradise. Design + Decor

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t’s no secret that one of the most appealing things about Florida for homeowners is its easy proximity to sandy beaches, bright green golf courses and lush tropical forest environments. That being said, it makes sense to want to bring the feelings those places evoke into the home as well. Designer Jeffrey Fisher tells us it’s pretty hard to be an interior designer in Florida and not be mindful of biophilic design. Jeffrey and his team at Jeffrey Fisher Home incorporate elements of nature using murals, artwork, lighting and furniture. Using both organic elements and conceptual design to imitate the natural world and the feelings it gives us, Jeffrey explains, “We’ve sourced furniture made from actual tree stumps and sconces with agate shades. Conversely, Christian Lacroix’s mural of palm trees and surrounding vegetation with a live-edge bench floating on it brings an artistic sense of nature to the interior. We’ve also worked with local artists like Juan Carlos Collada on a number of custom feather butterfly installations. His multi-panel creations are so realistic, you almost sense a flutter of movement from them.” In one particular project, the team brought in the awesome elements of the outside world with a design for a 1,000-square-foot foyer around a custom seven-panel butterfly installation by Collada. “In the same space,

we placed a cocktail table made from an actual tree root and two rattan side tables woven in an organic shape,” says Jeffrey. At the end of this foyer is a glass wall that looks toward the magnificently landscaped yard, and—whether it’s initially conscious or not—one senses the outside has been brought inside when you spend time in this room.” Of course, biophilic design does not depend solely on the use of organic materials, but also on the conscious use of space. Elements like living walls and large sliding doors or glass panels can be used strategically in spaces like a shower. With a view of beautiful greenery, you’ll feel like you are showering in your own private tropical oasis—and who’s to say you aren’t? It would be hard to find a client who wouldn’t embrace the idea of biophilic design once he understands the concept and its importance. “Whether I’m designing a spec home or a private client’s new build, adding biophilic elements transforms the space to an entirely other level of interest and sophistication,” says Jeffrey. “We are fortunate to live and work in a tropical climate; to not blur the lines between outdoors and indoors would seem odd. And let’s not forget that designers have been doing this long before it was chic to term it ‘biophilic’!”

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iophilic design incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment. Designer Lyndsey Davis Nicklas of L-Design Studio gives us her perspective on the subject. “As a designer and resident of the Sunshine State, I find it hard not to incorporate the concepts of biophilic design into our spaces,” she says. “It is essentially connecting the interior environment to nature and the outdoors. In Florida, we often build our spaces around our beautiful water views, whether it be the gulf, a serene canal or a lake. Even our lanai and pool areas, with stunning water and fire features, become focal points of the whole house. We take advantage of the bright and sunny weather with large picture windows, skylights and glass sliding doors that pocket to open our space to nature. If you look closely, almost every space has some biophilic design application.” Lyndsey says she and her team typically use architectural applications to incorporate this concept into her designs. Large panoramic windows and EuroWall Systems allow their clients to open up entire rooms to the exterior, providing a true indoor/outdoor space. Strategic landscaping helps thoughtful interior views capture the color and texture of the outdoor spaces. “Even our lanai cages are being designed to have panoramic views so they do not disrupt the natural views offered,” she says. “ There are so many small ways we address the importance of nature in our interiors. When styling a project, we always try to incorporate some natural elements and greenery; they soften a space and can have a calming effect in a room. Even simply space-planning a room to take advantage of the outdoor views can change the way we feel in that space and how we connect to nature.”

homeowners to want access to the natural world around them. Indeed, several of her projects have been centered around capturing the view, whether that be a lake, golf course, bay, or even the city. “People spend so much time inside that they don’t even realize they need to spend time outside to escape the hustle and bustle,” she says. “Having homes that bring us closer to the outdoors reduces stress and enhances our overall well-being.” Lyndsey says her clients often want her to pay extra attention to incorporating views and nature in the main gathering spaces of a home and in the master suite. “ Typically, the main areas of a home have access to wide window expanses and sliding doors that lead out to additional outdoor spaces or balconies overlooking the water,” she says. “ These can be challenging, as we usually need to position the space to capture these views as well as accommodate for sitting back and watching television.” Since there isn’t always a way to create a sight line of a view in every room, Lyndsey and her team sometimes use smaller natural elements, such natural wooden beams for texture and warmth, or simple greenery to help bring life into a space. Homeowners often request a biophilic design without realizing they are doing so, she notes. “It is human to want to have access to natural elements, especially when we are bombarded with technology all day,” says Lyndsey. “When you spend eight hours a day looking at a laptop screen, phone or tablet, it makes sense to want to sit down at the end of the day and enjoy the sight of a warm, glowing fire feature at the far side of your pool, with the gentle sound of a waterfall to help you unwind. It is never a hard sell for a designer to create spaces that bring serenity and comfort to clients—that is a luxury we can achieve with any project.”

As a designer based in Florida, Lyndsey finds it customary for Design + Decor

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or designer Karen Larson, merging the idea of wellness and biophilic design into a home is a no-brainer. In an era of constantly evolving technology and illness, creatives like Karen are becoming more educated and involved in the ways our living spaces affect us, both negatively and positively. Like many of those dedicated to the craft of interior design, she is learning how to bring the healing properties of our natural world into our modern built spaces. Karen and her team take great care and pride in creating spaces that are not only beautiful but healthy. “The use of biophilic design elements creates a sense of happiness and an uplifting mood,” she says. “Design professionals and the building industry are focused on new standards to improve human health and well-being. Recently, Broad Avenue Studios has specialized in wellness and biophilic design in private residences. It’s important to us, and that’s why we try to incorporate these different aspects into our designs. In an age in which we spend so much time inside and away from nature, it’s essential to bring nature in with us.” As a Naples-based designer, Karen has one of the world’s best natural views at her disposal: the Gulf of Mexico. “We try to make the view of the water a focal point as much as possible,” she says. Karen and her team bring in biophilic design with natural elements like green walls, and by using large windows and deconstructed walls to help open up a space. “Whether it’s the morning sun or a beautiful sunset, natural light is so important, and we try to make as much use of it as possible,” she says. They also use water features and both outdoor and indoor plantings to help bring the outside in and display something live and natural in the home. While interior designers often employ space and art to imitate nature, Karen says she prefers to use organic materials whenever possible. “They provide

a more authentic look than man-made materials,” she explains. “We use natural stone and wood as much as possible, and even use green walls and details like a live-edge wood bench to add beauty to a home.” Although they haven’t had a project that is entirely focused on a biophilic design, her team is always mindful of incorporating wellness into their designs, such as by using proper lighting control to accommodate healthier living. An example of this is a home in which the lights begin to dim around the same time every day as reminder that it is time for bed. The dimming lights throughout the home guide the homeowners into the bedroom, freeing them from the common distractions that often prevent people from getting the rest their bodies need. Indeed, though we might not be aware of it, a detail as simple as lighting can greatly affect our health. In Karen’s understanding of wellness, “it is important to understand proper lighting and how it assists with our natural circadian rhythms,” she says. “Scientific studies have found that circadian disruption can act as a human carcinogen. The proper artificial light can influence mood and wellness—for example, soft, diffused light can promote relaxation, while blue light can help to improve productivity, which makes it a great choice for workspaces.” “In adding all these biophilic elements, however, space planning becomes key,” she continues. “Lighting, art, patterns, colors, water features, green walls and plantings—when used, all have to be properly spaced in areas where something specific is trying to be achieved. Is it where you want to feel calm? Or is it a place of high energy? Proper planning is important.” For Karen and her team, the goal is creating a space where clients not only feel happy, but a space that adds value to their lives in so many ways. Design + Decor

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ogue Interior Designs has been creating beautiful commercial and residential interiors since 1979. Constantly evolving to meet and exceed its clients’ standards, the firm takes into consideration each client’s unique way of life and work to create thoughtful spaces. As Florida-based designers, its team members find it difficult not to include organic elements that reflect the natural environment that attracts so many homeowners to the area. Designer Debbie DeMaria, principal of Vogue, says that her team enjoys incorporating natural elements in their projects. “There are many products that help create this type of interior, such as tiles, wood and stones that can be easily installed on walls, floors and columns,” she says. Beyond imitating the textures of nature, Debbie and her team also incorporate organic materials, such as live-edge tables, faceted glass light fixtures and natural stone or marble fixtures like sinks. “I believe this style of design serves the purpose of promoting positive well-being,” she says. Discussing one recent project with a biophilic design, Debbie recalls, “The home is located on Mystique Island in the West Indies, and it was built on a cliff with no windows— only doors. The entire living and dining areas were built around koi ponds, a large swimming pool and lush landscaping. We used local wood for beams, walls and floors, and warmed it up with textured fabrics and linens. It was absolutely breathtaking.” Organic materials not only add life and beauty to what might otherwise be a stale space, but they also remind us of the abundance of nature, bringing the emotions that nature evokes into the home. Debbie says it is common practice to incorporate wood in many spaces, whether it be a simple beam or a layered detail on a wall. “Today ’s furniture manufacturers produce many options for designers to use in this area,” she says. “Live-edge tables are popular now, and outdoor furnishings have given great focus to this style.” For this particular design, Debbie explains, “I didn’t want this project to be restricted. The clients wanted the feel to be spacious and relaxing while incorporating elements of nature.” Debbie and her team achieved this goal by using the sound of running water, highly textured walls and natural materials like stone and grass cloth. “We also used chandeliers, various accessories and built-ins,” she says, “but the final combination of free-form design was blending in different organic materials and giving mindful love of all that is nature.” While some clients may not care for nature-focused concepts, Debbie says she would love to continue using certain elements of biophilic design in her work. “By accessing the relationship with nature and using its tranquil properties, I believe our clients will have more of a connection with their homes,” she says. “Utilizing the positive impact of nature to strengthen our health and well-being is just another added luxury for Vogue designs.” Design + Decor

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or Florida-based designers, it would seem almost impossible not to draw inspiration from the very environment that attracts thousands of new residents to the area each year. For Jett Thompson, that is exactly the case. Thanks to her unique creative aesthetic, Jett is known and celebrated for combining the organic with the refined, always adding an unexpected flair to her designs. She understands that biophilic design is about our natural gravitation to the outdoors. “We strive to have a seamless transition between our interior and exterior living areas,” says Jett. “The outdoor living areas now include upholstered sofas and chairs, fireplaces, TVs—they become extensions of the traditional family room. Most of our clients are escaping the harsh winters up north and are here to soak up the sun and fresh air.” The clients for this project are from Connecticut, and they typically spend four to five months a year in their Florida home. As empty nesters, they are both very athletic and enjoy outdoor sports like rowing, golf and tennis. “They love being able to come in from these activities without the worry that any of the furniture or fabrics are too precious,” says Jett. “On the other hand, the wife is very chic and wanted an Old Palm Beach vibe running throughout.”

Jett and her team used outdoor fabrics on everything inside and outside for easy care. “We used patterns found in nature, palm prints, animal prints and vintage bamboo tables inside.” They also selected a bamboo motif for the outdoor furniture to create a relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces. To achieve that vintage beachy vibe, Jett and her team chose a variety of materials that honor that environment. “We used custom Verellen upholstery in perennial outdoor fabrics, a custom recycled plastic outdoor rug from Sweden, and ShellStone flooring inside and out,” she says. In addition, the team utilized oversized 24- by 24-inch tiles that were laid diagonally, which Jett explains was done to enlarge the space visually. Other organic elements incorporated in the design include a natural clam stone sink in the powder room, elegantly draped against a faux tortoise wallcovering, wall-to-wall sisal carpeting in the bedrooms, and, of course, vintage English bamboo tables and cabinets. This new warm getaway is the perfect escape from harsh winters, when taking in nature simply isn’t an option. Now these clients can enjoy the beach whether they are out on the sand or sitting comfortably in their home.

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ou Shafran, CEO and founder of Pacifica Interior Design, believes that a good design is not always about following trends or rules, but rather about creating something timeless that enhances daily life. Drawing inspiration from both her native California and her current home base in Naples, Florida, Lou and her team use biophilic design to create an experience for her clients in their modern built homes that satisfies their inherent need for contact with nature. “Recent progress in sustainable design has certainly improved this situation,” says Lou. “Most sustainable design focuses only on reducing environmental damage from waste and pollution, or on excessive use of resources like energy and water. Largely missing has been the equally important need to reconnect people with nature, which is essential to their health and productivity.” To incorporate elements of biophilic design, the team at Pacifica makes use of the expansive natural views in the area with vast open windows, and sources organic materials like wide wood planks, natural stones and sea glass for flooring, countertops and other features. These timeless elements help connect their clients to nature in their daily lives. Because of this, says Lou, almost all their projects revolve around integrating the exquisite natural surroundings. For many of Pacifica’s clients, Florida is their secondary home. That is why designing private spaces with an open feeling, surrounded by natural elements, is so important. Pacifica Interior Design creates an environment that allows their clients to relax, disconnect and reconnect with nature—and with themselves. For Lou and her team, incorporating nature is and always will be integral to their designs. Design + Decor

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or the past 30 years, the Collins & DuPont Design Group has been creating timeless residential interiors. The firm is dedicated to a personalized design process that allows its team to create oneof-a-kind living spaces that radiate warmth and what it calls “livable luxury.” This includes the use of biophilic design, according to project lead and designer Jenifer Davison. “Something as simple as adding floral or botanical fabrics or nature-inspired wallcovering or works of art is a great way to bring color and texture to a space,” says Jenifer. Being exposed to nature or natural elements can benefit us in everyday life; it can help lower our blood pressure and ease our mental state. Jenifer says that as a designer, she has many opportunities to incorporate natural elements in subtle ways, such as finishing details like marble countertops and natural wood floors. “And since we live in South Florida and use our outdoor living spaces so frequently due to the year-round beautiful climate, we are often asked by clients to carry the same flooring from the main living space to the outdoor living areas,” she says. “This always helps to marry the inside with the outside, making it flow cohesively from one area to another. Of course, a view of nature always helps to set the backdrop for a beautiful space, such as having an oversized pocketing slider—with a bonus if it’s cornerless!—to reveal your personal, unobstructed view unique to your home.” While there are many different ways designers can incorporate the concepts of biophilic design, Jenifer prefers to use organic elements whenever possible, rather than materials that imitate the real thing. Organic materials can be more expensive, however, due to the limited availability of resources, as in the case of exotic woods like Wenge and Zebrano. Natural materials can also require more maintenance. “For example, consider a porcelain tile made to look like

Carrera marble vs. real Carrera marble, laminate wood floors vs. real wood floors, poly silk vs. real silk,” says Jenifer. “The list goes on and on. Even still, I get excited anytime I get to use a natural material sourced locally, such as Florida limestone, because it has less environmental impact than sourcing materials from the other side of the globe, and it supports our local economy.” Though biophilic designs are not as popular among her seasonal clients, Jenifer still makes a point to incorporate indoor plants. “They can help purify the air you breathe and bring a little element of greenery into the space,” she says. “I often select easy, lowmaintenance plantings such as snake plants, fiddle leaf, yucca, banana leaf and various palms to soften the space and emphasize the tropical environment in which we live.” Biophilic design truly focuses on bringing the natural world into our living spaces, which can be done in a number of creative ways. “I once had a client who went to great lengths to create a water-feature wall at her front door because she liked hearing the sound of cascading water when she entered her home,” she says. “While it was a costly endeavor, it is beautiful, especially at sunset. And she loves it—and in the end, that’s all that really matters.” Florida is known to many as a second home, where they come to escape the harsh winters of the north. Coming here to build their vacation home is an opportunity for them to get away and relax. “Here they can decompress, relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor,” says Jenifer. “Being able to escape and immerse themselves in a space that incorporates nature is important to many clients. As designers, we see these trends come and go, but one thing remains constant: Mother Nature never goes out of style.” Design + Decor

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aime Blomquist is a dedicated designer whose driving passion is creating spaces that are both beautiful and functional—and also contribute to the well-being of her clients. Jaime and her team believe that biophilic design serves a greater purpose than just to decorate an interior. “In the last couple of decades, biophilia has been recognized by the scientific and design communities as a positive benefit of interaction with nature,” says Jaime. “Research shows it can improve productivity, lower stress levels, enhance learning comprehension and increase recovery rates from illness. Biophilic design, therefore, isn’t just another design style to improve the look of your interior; it is essential for your happiness and well-being. Exposure to natural daylight is an important element. It can help to elevate your mood and balance the hormones that regulate sleep. This is a key element in our designs.” There are many different ways to incorporate biophilic elements into a design, such as by using organic materials or materials that imitate natural ones, or even conceptually through art and natural color palettes. For Jaime and her team, biophilia is about making spaces more authentic and memorable in a meaningful way. They achieve this through the use of elements like living walls, indoor water features, green roofs and art that evokes nature. Jaime says an essential part of a successful biophilic design is being able to achieve balance in “emphasizing the openness of a space and its relationship to nature. This also creates a safe space where people can read, work or meditate, quietly.”

For this project, Jaime and her client shared an innate love of nature and belief that our environments affect how well we think and perform, how we feel, and how our physical bodies respond. Naturally, they decided to incorporate the concept of biophilic design. To do so, Jaime and her team sourced organic materials and natural handcrafted furniture. “I often use reclaimed wood for ceiling, barn doors and flooring,” she says. “We used live-edge wood to make an expansive 10-person dining table and a large side table in the living room to create biomorphic forms. We used tumbled, chiseled-edge travertine on the floors, linen and silk wallpapers, and a color palette of hues found in nature. Large windows and doors were used to take in the beautifully landscaped backyard, reflecting pool and Intracoastal Waterway.” Because this project was a renovation, Jaime and her team created an open floor plan that flows through the home, allowing easy interaction with the family. It was also important to bring as much natural light into the home as possible to truly harness the power of biophilic design. She explains that adding these elements created an environment where the family is healthier, more at peace and more in tune with one another. “Biophilic design is not another passing trend,” says Jaime, “but a practice that will become inherently more important in the future of design, interiors and architecture. Even more than that, it’s going to be a guiding principle of interior design.”

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rawing inspiration from her travels across the country, Bethany O’Neil understands that most people have an innate desire to incorporate the awe of the natural world into their living spaces. She believes that most designers are instinctively programmed to do this, and she herself makes it a point to incorporate natural elements in her designs, either by imitating nature indoors or by using color palettes inspired by nature. Using biophilic elements to bring the natural world indoors can be executed in a number of ways. While Bethany prefers to use organic materials whenever possible, she notes that some clients may not care for the maintenance required for real indoor plants. Instead, she may opt for displaying natural coral and shells. Another great solution she offers are silk plants that look so beautiful and natural, you’d need to touch them just to be sure they aren’t the real thing! As a Naples-based designer, Bethany is no stranger to the incredible views to be found in the area. Because of this, panoramic windows are an important element in her designs. “We do all we can to accentuate the natural sunlight and capture the view of the gulf and all it embraces,” she says. “Windows are by far the most important architectural features that define a home as a space, as it relates to natural light. They are the most important investment to add to a home.” Besides using the existing spaces in a home strategically, Bethany says that simple elements such as paint can help bring the outside in. Using color palettes inspired by those found in nature, Bethany explains, will only add emphasis to the surrounding view and help create harmony between the exterior and interior. Another tip she shares to merge these two environments is to continue the use of materials in each design. For example, natural shell stone looks just as beautiful inside a home as it does by a pool deck. Yet another simple yet elegant element of biophilic design that Bethany uses is any kind of water feature. “Introducing water features just outside the front door and even by a pool helps create good and peaceful feelings,” she explains. “The pure movement of water and the sound it creates is both relaxing and functional, as it can help to drown out the sound of traffic noise. Even though this feature remains on the exterior of the home, it is still an experience that can be enjoyed from within.”

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isa Gilmore is known for her beautifully crafted interiors that use her uniquely creative eye to merge style with functionality. And while she wouldn’t describe her designs as being focused on biophilic concepts, the idea of being inspired by nature and all it has to offer is certainly not lost on her.

they appreciate the beauty of nature and the importance of natural elements in their home, they aren’t particularly interested in Florida’s common “beachy” designs. Lisa says her team takes a less traditional approach, using less literal applications of this concept by relying on the strategic use of textiles, patters and color.

Most designers use organic materials or materials that imitate certain natural elements to bring the outside in. Though this is a beautiful approach, Lisa says many of her clients come from across the globe, and while

Instead of bringing in live plants, they might use a textured or bright floral wallpaper or art piece. In this way, the design not only adds color and character, but also gives a nod to nature and helps bring in the good feelings

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evoked by a natural environment. That being said, Lisa says her designs don’t strive to imitate nature, but rather to complement it. You won’t find any artificial plants or faux greenery in her designs; instead, she focuses on using bold color palettes inspired by those found in nature. Another subtle way to successfully incorporate biophilic design, says Lisa, is through strategic use of space. Whenever possible, her team will try to accentuate an existing view or create one as needed. In this way, the idea of biophilic design is truly more conceptual than it is literal. Manipulating a

space—either by creating one that is focused on a nature view or by opening up a previously closed-off space—adds a more natural flow to the home. Animal and floral prints, wood furnishings, color and texture are all ways to include the concept of biophilic design in a home without literally bringing in the outside world. It is always important to have subtle reminders of nature, and this can clearly be achieved without having the greenest thumb in the world! Design + Decor

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Moved by the stunning surroundings, Interior Designer Jaime Blomquist creates an extraordinary entertaining space in a custom home Story by Gina Scott | Photography by Jaime Blomquist

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he homeowners of this beautiful 8,000-squarefoot custom home in Lighthouse Point, FL, built the residence as a entertaining space where they could retreat and eventually retire. Seeking out Jaime Blomquist, principal of Jaime Blomquist Interiors, the couple explained that they wanted a space that would accommodate many people, as they enjoy hosting large parties for their friends. Jaime met the challenge head-on by offering not only her design skills, but also by improving construction elements that needed to be revisited. The owners were very involved in all the elements of the project, meeting with every team member who worked on the house. Ultimately, the two-year venture resulted in a magnificent home featuring a modern coastal design that accentuates the spectacular views from the property. The home’s open floor plan connects the kitchen, dining room and living room, all of which feature a coastal modern color palette consisting of a white-on-white backdrop and earthy pops of color. “We wanted the interiors to be a neutral color palette so that the breathtaking views of the Intracoastal on three sides of this home would become the focal point,” explains Jaime. “We wanted to create a modern, timeless interior that felt coastal—not cold modern.” The indoor living area opens onto an outdoor space that doubles the entertaining square footage, thanks to six oversized glass pocket doors that fold onto one another and open to the covered patio. Here, Jaime created a lagoon oasis for the many parties the clients plan to host outdoors. The owners and their guests can enjoy a hot tub and pool, illuminated by LED lighting that alternates in a full spectrum of colors. Water fountains spray into the pool, and a lounge ledge allows everyone to enjoy the water— even those reclining on chaise lounges rather than plunging in.

Hardie Boys showed off their work with the addition of corbels, columns, gingerbread and trellis work. Owners and guests arrive at the home on a limestone drive.

The home is filled with furnishings that also accentuate the stunning outdoor views. Since the clients requestDesign + Decor

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Neutral earthy tones with natural designs make up the furnishings and decorations in the home. The table is by Palecek, accessories are by Global Views and the fabric is by Kravet.

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The dining area houses an amazing chandelier called Caviar from Arteriors.

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A custom staircase spills out into the main living area. The steps are poured in place and clad with walnut. The support column is also clad in walnut.

ed furniture that would continue the coastal modern feel, Jaime proposed furniture and accessories that remain neutral so that the sight line would be out to the beautiful water vistas, and not overcome by any furnishings. The homeowners also wanted the coffee tables and accessories to be organic and natural, which Jaime achieved in both color and style.

mous amount of light spills into the home at any time of the day. Indeed, unless it’s in the dark of night, the owners rarely need to turn on a light switch to see their way around the house. The living area is mostly south-facing, which keeps the space light and airy, but avoids the direct heat of the sun. The master bathroom is unique, as it has windows on both the east and west sides.

The earth elements in the home help minimize the coldness of the modern color palette. “When someone wants coastal modern, they want to bring all the earth elements of the sand color, the ocean color, and sunrise and sunset colors—those soft secondary colors,” Jaime explains. The addition of tans, blues and corals to those colors make the space feel cozier, especially in a large space that is mostly white.

The master bathroom has other exceptional elements as well, one of which is a favorite feature of Jaime’s. “One design element I love is the circular rotunda shower in the master bathroom,” she says. Since the ceiling in the shower is about 18 feet high, Jaime’s team went through several different design options before they settled on the final design, which makes a statement and serves as a focal point. In such a space, Jaime says, “ when everything else is neutral, you need something that your eyes are pulled to, design-wise.” Jaime’s team created this by using a brightly colored mosaic glass

It was essential that the floor plan design take in the spectacular three-sided ocean views, which means that an enor-

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Guests enjoy grabbing drinks from the custom wine bar with Cambria countertops and backsplash by Lunada Bay.

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tile by Oceanside Glass & Tile. One of the biggest challenges of the project was creating unique yet cohesive designs for the home’s seven bathrooms. Both Jaime and the owners wanted each bathroom to be distinct and memorable. The team accomplished this by using the same colors but different materials to create a different vibe in each bathroom. Though no two bathrooms are the same, the designs still flow from room to room throughout the house. Each bathroom has a simple yet interesting feature that makes it stand out. One bathroom, for example, uses a mosaic tile by Island Stone in an unusual way: the tile runs in front of the vanity, through the shower and up the shower wall in one line.

A herringbone pattern was used in the shower and carried on through the floor design. The porcelain slab is by Dekton, the mosaic tile is by Lunada Bay and the Stone chevron on the floor is by Artistic Tile.

Another challenge Jaime needed to overcome was correcting the window and door placements throughout the house. Often, windows are placed for the exterior aesthetics, and designers are then called upon to make those windows work within the house. Jaime also designed all the cabinetry and millwork herself. Having control over so many aspects of the project was challenging, but also allowed Jaime the freedom to make corrections and design choices where needed. A key design element utilized throughout the home is walnut wood texture. “Walnut wood tone became a grounding color,” says Jaime. “When you have neutral everywhere, you need something that’s grounding and becomes the foDesign + Decor

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The well-lit master bath features Cambria countertops, custom cabinets, mosaic glass tile in niches by Oceanside Glass & Tile and Hans Grohe plumbing fixtures. The soaking tub is surrounded by pin lighting in the floor that makes it look like it’s floating at night.

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Swivel chairs from Artefacto were placed in the master bedroom’s sitting area to be able to enjoy the water views. Bedding is by Eastern Accents and the bench at the foot of the bed is custom made and upholstered in alligator.

cal point.� The design team used walnut in the living room ceiling, up the staircase, on the first floor, on structural columns and as a design element in the kitchen. There’s even a barrel walnut ceiling going up the staircase, which can be seen when someone enters the front door. The staircase itself is formed with concrete and clad with solid walnut. Other materials used throughout the home include Cambria quartz countertops in the kitchen, laundry room and all bathrooms, where custom-made cabinetry is also featured. Quartz is a material that looks like natural stone, but has all the qualities of a man-made surface, such as placing hot items on it will not damage it. Glass by Oceanside Glass and porcelain tile by Artistic Tile were also used. A porcelain tile

that looks like stone makes up the entire first floor and a custom-made walnut flooring is on the entire second floor. Unique sinks are featured throughout the home, including a mirrored sink in one of the powder rooms. Palecek and Global Views provided furniture and accessories for the home. Working on a piece of property with a magnificent view was all Jaime needed to create a home that was everything the owners wanted. Using the surroundings as inspiration and carefully choosing finishes and color palettes, Jaime and her team transformed the large living area into a personal, comfortable space where the owners can retreat privately or entertain an enormous crowd. In the end, both the designer and the owners were delighted with the result. Design + Decor

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Resources: Interior Designer Jaime Blomquist Interiors Jaime Blomquist 1780 NE 7th Street Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 954.999.5601 Architect Intelae Architecture 1615 Federal Highway Boca Raton, FL 33432 561.672.7124 Builder Jonathan Thomas Developers, LLC 1900 Banks Road # B4 Margate, FL 33063 954.977.8411 Pool Designer/Builder Van Kirk Pools 3144 SW 13th Drive Deerfield Beach, FL 33442 954.755.4402

Pottery Barn lanterns set the mood for the pool where guests enjoy the lounge ledge and hot tub.

Audio/Visual Atlantic Smart Technologies 130 Juno Street, Suite 1 Jupiter, FL 33458 Jupiter Office: 561.776.0066 Vero Beach Office: 772.299.4441 Ft. Lauderdale Office: 888.473.3660 Design + Decor

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THE TOP 25 DESIGN FIRM KICK OFF PARTY On Wednesday August 21st, Design + Decor hosted The Top 25 Design Firm kick off party at Ferguson in Naples.

The party was co-hosted by Design + Decor, Ferguson and DXV and included information of the upcoming article, attire, date of the covershoot and generally to be surrounded by the industry leaders. A wonderful time was had by all and we congratulate this years honorees! 134

Photography by: Dana Gillette Photography

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uring his career, Mitchell Rossell has been fortunate to not only be in the right place at the right time, but also to know the right people. He currently owns three companies in Southwest Florida that, combined, have dominated the entertainment market in the area: the Foliage Factory, which provides live plants for events; Foreman Productions, which manages DJs and bands, with co-owner Brett Foreman; and Niche Event Rental, which provides hard goods that enliven entertaining spaces. The Foliage Factory was founded 16 years ago, when Mitchell saw an opening in the market for providing live plants for the event-planning company his wife was working for at the time. A few years later, during the recession, Mitchell was also selling insurance, but when he heard his friend, Brett Foreman, talk about concerns about his band, the Brett Foreman Band, Mitchell offered to manage the band instead. Brett thought that was a great idea, and they formed Foreman Productions. Then, about four years ago, a trusted colleague was selling her business, Niche Event Rental. Her high-end vision aligned with Mitchell’s, so he purchased her entire business. Now, says Mitchell, “We’ve been able to keep that growing as well, so all three together have become a family of boutique event services—companies that mesh together perfectly and create great events.” Mitchell believes the first meeting is critical when he is introduced to a new client. Often the first contact the client makes with his company is over the phone. “I try to make sure we stay as true to whatever dream the initial call came from, without being tainted by budget and other outside factors,” he


says. “So I like to interview a client in-depth during the first phone call. A lot other companies will allow the communication process to build over time, but that call came to you for a reason. Someone had an idea, and they called to ask for your help in bringing it to life or developing the idea. So I find it’s important to spend a lot of time on that very first call and get as much info as possible about what that person is dreaming could happen.” Mitchell is quick to mention that a huge part of his success is due to Brett, his business partner. Brett has a long-standing positive reputation in the community, and this has allowed them to “parlay that trust people had in him into trust in other things we were doing,” says Mitchell. He believes they would not have the same opportunities afforded to them if they didn’t maintain the trust Brett established through his band and also show tremendous attention to detail in putting on great events for their clients. Mitchell has certainly been in the right place at the right time and known the right people, but he’s also done an excellent job at carrying the ball to provide outstanding services and events for the customers of all three companies. Niche Event Rental Mitchell Rossell 760 14th Avenue NW Naples, FL 34120 239.352.9000

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Covers 3 GCD+D.indd AND 4 ECH+D.indd 3 3

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Covers 3 FALL SPRING AND2017 4 2018 ECH+D.indd GCD+D.indd GCD+D.indd 44 4

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