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Renaissance charm

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With its decorative ceilings, hand-painted finishes and luxurious furnishings, this master suite has a distinctly Italian air


With any long-anticipated vacation, the journey can be as exciting as the final destination. So it is with a master suite designed to provide a luxurious, private retreat – the passage to the suite can be instrumental in helping establish a sense of escape.

In this Italian-style waterfront house in Boca Raton, a large, circular staircase helps set the scene for what lies beyond. With its handcrafted cast iron balustrades and giant chandelier, the staircase is reminiscent of a grand Italian villa.

Architect Mitch Kunik says the owners' love of Italy determined the design of the house – and the detailing. And although the family living spaces have a rustic, Tuscan ambiance, the formal rooms and master bedroom suite have a more refined look that hints at the Renaissance period.

Ruched silk drapes and decorative hand-carved pelmets in the master suite frame a spectacular view of the waterways – a view that takes in a Venetian-style resort further down the channel.

Interior designer Lesly Maxwell says the furnishings provide a soft, rather romantic setting – one that doesn't detract from the view. The intricate plaster mouldings on the pelmets and ceiling contribute to this look.


"As the room is very large, we chose a plush carpet, which ensures the space is still comfortable," says Maxwell. "With all the windows and glass doors to the terrace, the room is light and airy, but we balanced the lighter elements with the dark wood of the bed and night stands."

The decorative Italian look continues in the adjacent his-and-hers bathrooms. The feminine bathroom, shown on these pages, features a central whirlpool tub, positioned directly beneath the windows, in line with an ornate plastered ceiling medallion. A marble tub surround and vanity tops complement the milky tones of the cabinetry.

Intricate hand-carved mouldings are also a feature of the vanity cabinetry – the decorative patterns complementing the Florentine-style wallpaper.

Maxwell says the house interior is characterized by strong textural elements – a theme that continues in the master bedroom suite.

"While there is a lot of stone and marble in the bathrooms, we have mixed the polished marble with honed marble floors to provide contrasting textures," she says.

Further visual interest is provided by the traditionally styled accessories, which reinforce the Italian feel. Gold-plated faucets and antique sconces add a Renaissance flavor. Door and drawer pulls have a similar antiqued finish.

First published date: 17 June 2008

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Credit List

Architect Mitch Kunik, AIA; Benjamin Schreier, AIA, Affiniti Architects (Boca Raton, FL)
Interior designer Lesly Maxwell, Lesly Maxwell Interiors
Vanity tops and flooring Marble