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Soaring on a sea breeze

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Ten single-story oceanside apartments, a penthouse and three private homes offer sun, sea views and a waterfront lifestyle with ample amenities

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Sea views, ocean breezes and sandy beaches have been enticing us to live along the waterfront for centuries. Many people have enjoyed the beach-front lifestyle in holiday apartments, but with additional amenities, storage space and quality finishes, apartments are increasingly popular as year-round homes.

Part of the appeal of apartment buildings is the fact that they are miniature communities, with their own array of amenities. The challenge for architects and designers is to integrate the communal spaces with the apartments, while protecting the privacy of separate living areas for residents.

The Platinum by the Sea apartments were designed by the Raptis Design Team, headed by Jim Raptis, together with Archidiom Design Group. A sophisticated architectural style was pursued, combined with the atmosphere of a luxury hotel. Each apartment is a single level of the building, with a three-story penthouse at the top and a two-level home at the bottom.

"With marble floors, high ceilings and black bean wood feature walls, we created the look of an international-style hotel," he says. "The communal areas are finished to the same standard as the apartments, which helps to link the two spaces and makes the public areas a natural extension of the private residences."

The modern architectural style of the building is based on thin, sleek lines, with curved balconies that echo the rolling waves just beyond the doorstep. Raptis deliberately avoided a uniform repetition of the curves in order to add softness and an element of drama to the structure.

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Water is a prominent element of the exterior design, with a sculpted fountain at ground level flowing around the entry into a series of terraces and reflecting pools. These separate the apartments from two private homes that are part of the complex. The water meanders between the buildings through an open space that offers a glimpse of the ocean and the white sandy beach, just beyond the landscaped gardens.

The apartments were designed with permanent residents in mind. Each includes extra storage space and closets, parking for two cars, security and privacy. In addition, a growing list of amenities, increasingly considered essential in any development, includes a swimming pool, a gym, his and hers saunas and a club room.

Platinum residents also have access to a 12-seat theater with oversized chairs and a big screen television for watching DVDs with friends.

Ensuring that the finishes in all areas met the same standard presented Raptis with a challenge.

"The black bean wood paneling provides important continuity through the building," he says. "But each panel had to be polished off-site, and it was a delicate exercise to fit and instal it on every floor. The final result was worth the extra expense and effort."

The look of the main foyer and public areas, and the basic elements of the apartments were createdby Florida-based interior designer David Parsons of Heitz Parsons Sadek, who specified natural materials. The foyer floor, finished with marble tiles in different colors, sizes and patterns, is echoed in the geometric shapes of the ceiling. Its chrome and stainless steel panels are interspersed with fabric-covered boxes of varying sizes, which are backlit to create a complex and intriguing surface.

From the wood-paneled lifts, a secure key system gives access to the apartments. The paneling continues in the private entries, as in the apartment shown here. A pair of sliding, sculptured glass doors open into the home to hardwood flooring, adding warmth to the open-plan interior.

Additional custom features include the beech kitchen cabinetry, with glass-panel cupboards. A granite countertop and built-in appliances from Gaggenau complete the kitchen.

The bathroom has marble on the floors, bathtub surrounds and vanities, with a custom-made molded glass sink that balances on top of the vanity. The master bathroom includes a spa bath, separate shower, private toilet and bidet.

Sweeping ocean views are maximized for most rooms in the apartment. The apartment shown here, furnished by Ruth Levine of Ruth Levine Designs, draws those ever-changing views inside.

"We wanted a warm and interesting balance of shape and texture that drew on the colors and senses you experience at the beach," she says.

As well as organic shapes for the light fittings, lamps and side tables, Levine selected a textured area rug that has a pebbly feeling underfoot. An accent wall is the color of wet sand, the neutral tones creating a light, contemporary atmosphere.

The blending of materials, rough with smooth and man-made with handmade adds visual interest. The same soft colors and textures continue the refined look in the bedrooms and family room.

Detailing is increasingly important in apartment design, Levine says.

"People are more astute now and have higher expectations," she says. "They are looking for luxury, quality and value. They like to see the developer's commitment to the project."

Raptis agrees, saying that people are looking for something new and unexpected.

"We often don't know exactly what we want until we see it," he says. "In these apartments, there are solid wood doors that normally would be painted. The beech cabinetry in the kitchen is unusual. And the glass basins in the bathrooms are one of a kind. Taken together, these elements add richness and extra value to the design."

First published date: 24 August 2003

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Credit List

Architect Raptis Group and Archidiom Design Group
Interior designer, building David Parsons, Heitz Parsons Sadek
Paints Dulux
Interior designer, apartment Ruth Levine, Ruth Levine Designs
Furniture Atlanta sofa and dining chairs and Lhasa armchairs; Saarinen side tables; Madia Max sideboard; Jardan ottoman in Mokum Bora Bora textiles
Countertop Tuscany Stone
Oven Gaggenau
Washer-dryer Miele
Bath Bathcraft
Basin Vogue Spas & Baths
Taps Christiaans
Toilet and bidet Kohler