Barbara and Jeffrey Rosenberg needed one renovation before they realized they needed another.
In 2017, the couple moved into their newly renovated second home at Sag Harbor in N.Y. They were delighted to have a house that met all their needs and was a great place to entertain family and friends.
So when they returned to their primary home, a house in Delray Beach, Fla., which they bought for $2.75 million in 2005, they couldn’t help but feel a little deflated. “The minute I walked into our house in Florida, I said, ‘This house needs to be redone,’” said Mr. Rosenberg, 74, who has largely retired from a family-run real estate investment and development company he helped build. “We got spoiled in Sag Harbor.”
The house was 7,760 square feet and was built in a contemporary neoclassical style. However, it didn’t feel right for the family. The coffered ceilings, the overwrought moldings, the decorative columns, the divided-light windows, the antiques — it all suddenly seemed old.
They also wanted to correct annoyances they had put up with for years, including the kitchen, which was weirdly cramped considering the size of the house — and hardly ideal for Mr. Rosenberg, who loves few things more than cooking elaborate meals for guests.
“The kitchen was completely devoid of windows,” he said, “so it had no natural light.”
They sought a fresh vision for the house and turned to Allen Saunders, an interior designer based in Miami who had designed a modern, clean-lined home for their son in Boca Raton.
Although the couple had specific ideas for what they wanted in the food-focused spaces — an expanded kitchen, a large wine room, an Italian pizza oven in the backyard — they gave Mr. Saunders only one directive for the rest of the house: “We want to walk in and go, ‘Wow,’” Mr. Rosenberg said. “We literally said to Allen, ‘You’ve got carte blanche to do whatever you need to do.’”
Relishing the challenge, Mr. Saunders drew up plans for a down-to-the-studs gut renovation that changed the floor plan and gave the home an unapologetically modern interior with black, white and aubergine details, along with plenty of conversation-starting pieces.
The design converted what had been a five-bedroom house into a three-bedroom — a primary suite, a guest bedroom and a bunk room for the couple’s grandchildren — with a gym, a home theater and plenty of space for entertaining.
A living room is located just inside of the front entrance. It’s centered around an immense chandelier with 55 purply handblown bubbles of Cameron Design House. “That’s supposed to be a ‘wow’ feature,” Mr. Saunders said. “Jeff collects wine, so we played with that idea, with the coloration and planning it almost like grapes.”
The living area is open to the dining room, where Mr. Saunders designed two custom high-gloss lacquer tables. They can be used for small family dinners as well as larger gatherings. “We felt it would be strange to have four people sitting at a gigantic table,” he said. “So we broke the table into two: one that can easily sit eight or nine people, and one that sits four or five people.”
A light installation of Ochre cast-glass droplets is also located above the tables. It can be controlled individually or in the whole area.
For Mr. Rosenberg’s showpiece kitchen, Mr. Saunders designed a space with two islands: a hardworking one, with black-granite and butcher-block counters, for food preparation; and a sleeker, 10-foot unit with curved ends, bronze-finished metal doors and a Calacatta Viola marble top, for serving. The pantry’s entrance and freezer are hidden behind three doors with shiplap panels.
Mr. Saunders added aubergine details in the primary suite. He included an upholstered headboard that reaches almost to the ceiling and high-gloss lacquered bathroom doors. Also, slabs of Lilac Marble with subtle violet hints were used.
After spending nearly two years renovating the interior, the Rosenbergs hired Mr. Saunders to transform the outdoor space behind their house. He created a wall of bronze- and green-glazed tiles, which provides privacy from neighbours and amplifies reflections off water.
“I used the pool as a reflecting pond,” Mr. Saunders said. “And that wall became a moving piece of art.”
The project was completed last January after nine months of additional outdoor construction. It cost about $2.5million.
The couple are “totally thrilled” with the house, said Ms. Rosenberg, 72, sounding slightly in awe of how different it looks today. “We can’t believe it.”
Mr. Rosenberg stated that the end result was well worth it, even if it took longer to achieve than they had anticipated.
“If you had asked me while we were going through the construction process, and we had to live in a rental, we might have had second thoughts about what we were doing,” he said. “But everybody who goes through a renovation, or a knockdown and a rebuild, goes through that.”
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Source: NY Times