8 minute read

artistic vision

By Kitt Walsh Photography by: Karina Kleeberg

Word-of-mouth is how Karen Press, owner and founder of Panache Designs, acquires her clients these days. Having created stunning interior design in the Boca Raton area since 2013 and with her projects appearing in many publications, her reputation as a visionary designer now precedes her.

For this project, a previous client recommended her to the young couple who appeared at her luxury boutique design firm with a set of specs provided by Toll Brothers, builder of their new home. They had come down from New York, small children in tow, and were now the owners of what Press calls “a plain vanilla box.” Press didn’t mind the blank slate, it gave her a canvas to take the owners’ preferences and filter them through her encyclopedic knowledge of design to create the perfect home for the family. The wife was all about glamor and sophistication. The husband’s main interest was for his bar room, a modern take on the man cave, which would contain his pool table, where he could hang out with his friends and watch the games. Avid entertainers, the couple also needed a great dining space for dinner parties. Fulfilling the couple’s wish list presented some challenges to Press. The ceilings, 23-feet-high in some rooms, made the space seem cold and cavernous. So, Karen plied a few tricks of the trade, such as using pendants, hanging chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling window treatments to “bring down the viewer’s eye.” She accommodated the couple’s favorite color palette, black, white, and gray, and introduced the requested glamor through textures and finishes, ensuring everything was top-of-the-line and luxurious. “Once I had talked to the clients and come up with the vision for the home, I literally searched the world to gather the elements,” says Press of her artistic vision. “I wanted everything to be unique and nothing anyone could replicate from a store. Most of the pieces chosen are custom and many designed by me.” She continued, “I was very appreciative that the clients allowed me to think outside the box, make use of my creativity, and to express myself artistically. The couple loved what I chose and together we created this entire project, which turned out to be very special and quite dazzling. It definitely creates the ‘wow’ factor we were aiming for. From their first step into the home, visitors catch their breath, not knowing where to look first in this jewel box of a home.”


The Ilfari Sexy Crystals chandelier, reflected off the porcelain Calacatta tile floor, sets a showstopping theme and creates an intimate welcoming feel to the soaring ceilings of the home’s foyer. The glass topped, chrome and black marble console table was designed by Press and handmade by artisans for the Arditi Collection® for Arditi Design. A spectacular statement piece, the palatial, Christopher Guy Altin chair is painstakingly handcarved from solid, certified mahogany and features a straight back in the form of a ‘twig grid’. It’s finished with a patterned lilac velvet seat and saber legs. Two Minaret accent tables by Global Views are perfectly spun to achieve crisp, clean lines with thick glass lenses resting inside the tabletops.


It is hard to decide what is the most eye-catching element of the elegant dining room. Costantini Pietro’s contemporary Light chairs feature conspicuously high backrests embellished with metal handles. Their slender silhouette is upholstered in Kravet, plum colored velvet fabric with stained beach sides. The chairs offer seating for 10 at Cattelan Italia’s Butterfly table, with a glass top and an elegant, rounded edge set on a sculptural metal base. Flanking the seating area are 20-foot-high stacked and book-matched porcelain slabs, chosen by Press, in shades of black and white, encased in black lacquer frames, acting as stunning statement pieces. Lighting the scene is an Elements of Love chandelier by Ilfari with diamond shaped crystals as big as a human heart, suspended from a chrome bar. The light of the fixture reflects off the polished surfaces and inlaid glass doors of the custom designed Madeline buffet by Swaim Furniture.


Custom made and hand carved by LA firm 11 Ravens, the Stealth pool table in the bar room takes its inspiration from its bomber aircraft namesake. Lights from below highlight its sleek black design and bold aesthetic. The Cubix LED Chandelier from Sonneman Lighting uses suspended cubes joined by a shared leg on each frame to allow for a myriad of horizontal and vertical placement. Additional light is provided by the 20-foot tall windows framed by custom cutout sheer draperies. Press designed the built-in cabinetry with a recycled glass countertop, with room for four televisions, and LED back-lit shelving which holds treasures from Global Views, John-Richard, The Howard Elliott Collection, and barware from GO Home Ltd. in crystal and chrome. Venice barstools by Miami’s own Muniz Plastics have seats upholstered in geometric Romo fabric. They are pulled up to a Glassísimo Waterdrop table with black brushed metal legs. The top of the table is painted underneath to give the illusion of raindrops. The Rubik’s Cube artwork comes from an Atlanta art gallery who reached out to Press via Instagram.


The alcove outside the dining room plays host to a 100-inch x 100-inch art resin print, “Light My Way II” by D’Alessandro Léon, which Press found at Left Bank Gallery. LED strip lighting inset along the sides change colors at the click of a remote and crystal sconces further illuminate the piece.


A six lamp Huntington chandelier with nickel and glass tubes from Hudson Valley Lighting shines down on the kitchen island. The island serves as a guest seating area via acrylic and chrome stools upholstered in chinchilla-striped vinyl. Flat panels keep the kitchen cabinetry modern and sleek in keeping with the rest of the home. Stainless steel and chrome accents are the perfect complimentary material in this sleek space.


The sectional with curved arms and built-in chaises, clad in charcoal crushed velvet performance fabric to resist staining, holds pride of place in this comfortable family room. Custom pillows in a variety of soft textures invite children’s cuddles and the custom area rug in shades of blue, gray, and silver is a flat weave to provide the perfect play surface. Press designed the wall unit of durable futuristic polymer and open glass shelving to provide storage, and to house art pieces like the silver man sculpture by John-Richard. The center is left open to host the sound bar and television. The wallpaper behind the unit has a fur-like texture. Sheer patterned draperies and motorized shades tame the afternoon sun.


Custom chairs from Design Master Furniture echo the vinyl clad stools at the kitchen island, but have a bit of added luxe with their patterned velvet backs and acrylic legs. They provide seating at the chic and modern Arcadia dining table from Bernhardt crafted from acrylic and stainless steel. Graced by a faux wood top with silver leaf backing, the rectangular table resembles a glistening block of ice. Above, Hudson Valley’s Liberty chandelier has retro coil bulbs in ballooning clear glass alternating with exposed filament bulbs and protruding rods refracting light from crystal and icy handcrafted glass discs. Floor-toceiling sheer window treatments and motorized shades diffuse radiant sunlight streaming in.


Press calls this “a bed to die for” when she describes the Bernhardt Interiors Estella bed in this master suite. The acrylic bed is wrapped in patterned Kravet luxe velvet and topped with organic silk and linen bedding from Donna Karen. Set against a wall sporting silver lizard skin wallpaper, a pair of Bernhardt curved steel benches upholstered in Kravet pewter velvet, grace the foot of the bed. Hepburn custom chests from Swaim have contrasting silver wood at base and drawers and are topped (by the designer) with glass. Twin Royalton chandeliers from Hudson Valley Lighting bring back the glamor of a Jazz Age ballroom as strings of crystal beads cascade down around the light source. A Dana Classic chaise covered in velvet, from Interlude Home, offers seating by the bank of windows and a glass top adorns the highly polished wood of the John-Richard dresser with aluminum hardware.

The highlight of this combined guest room and office space is the modern take on an old classic, the “Murphy Bed.” Originally created in 1900 when Lawrence Murphy wanted to court his love in his parlor but he had only a one room apartment. The solution to this moral dilemma? A disappearing bed. Today, Murphy Beds are used as clever space and storage solutions. Here, a queen bed provides a vibrant core color of tomato red.. The wall unit, underneath color blocked open shelving, also slides out to form a desk. Black poufs serve as seats or, when turned upside down, act as end tables. A houndstooth valance, trimmed in red cording, the horizontal striped two-tone shade, and the custom black and white fluffy rug add further whimsy to this delightful funhouse of a room.


Two different wallpapers, textured blue and textured white, set the tone in this formal power room. Press designed the wide floating cabinet topped by three inches of white crystalline countertop. Atop it sits a Cal De Medici transparent crystal sink by Maestrobath, serviced by the stunning Graff faucet mounted on to the LEDbacklit mirror. The Accordèon Chandelier by Marc Sadler for Slamp Lighting looks like a delicate fabric wrought in crystal, with an LED crown, the brightness of which may be dimmed as needed.