Shades of Grey
Modern Fusion Design By Interior Designer Perla Lichi
By Patrice Janel
Interior Design: Perla Lichi, ASID • Photography: John Stillman Photography
British author E.L. James penned her Fifty Shades of Grey steamy roance novel in 2011, which swiftly topped the best seller list with translations in 52 languages. Is it any wonder why residents worldwide have since become obsessed with colorizing their homes in multiple hues of the enamoring color?
Designer Perla Lichi was recently challenged to imbue new life into a 2,100 square-foot third floor unit in Building 1 of L’Hermitage. Located beachside, at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, these twin towers have become a landmark for those who take the scenic drive along the famous beach and represent one of Fort Lauderdale’s most luxurious addresses.
This was a full “gut-out” demolition and renovation, modernizing the unit to meet the wants and needs of today’s market. “My main goal in this long, open space was to make the main living areas appear larger than they actually are, and to separate the different areas and enhance them with today’s popular contemporary styling. We did this by removing walls and making the spaces work using mirrors, built-ins, reflective ceiling treatments, soffits and special LED lighting. The result is a very fresh, open look without walls.
“Today,” explains Perla, “people are looking for amenities – especially in their kitchen and bathrooms. My detailing and design were especially focused on these areas.”
Let the rigors of a long day of work fade away in the glossy white freestanding soaking bathtub in the master bath. Matching white vessel sinks and a unique, seamless mirrored shower with mother-of-pearl tiles complete the mix, adding dimension and depth. The result is a spa-like flavor with a very open feeling, including all amenities plus a mirrored dressing area/boutique within the master bath. Perla’s “mirror magic” makes the entire area appear triple its actual size! “In this master bath,” says Perla, “you can always see what the back of your hair looks like!”
In the kitchen, white kitchen wall cabinetry with oversize stainless pulls were custom designed to take advantage of every inch of space for storage. Cabinets extend along two walls and include the built-in refrigerator. The “star attraction” of this designer kitchen is the nine-foot double-sided island.
“It took a very good craftsman to miter the waterfall design in the quartz countertop that I wanted, specifically, four inches fixed, because of the large proportion of this island. It creates the centerpiece, the heart of the home. Everyone gathers around it!” Above the island is a double level soffit and pendant lighting. Custom lighting flanks sliding doors that extend across the western side of the condo, further enhancing the upward reflection of sheer draperies in the stretch ceiling above.
Reflective shiny white “stretch” ceiling treatments throughout add the illusion of height to the relatively low-ceilinged rooms. This is complemented by 30×30-inch white porcelain floor tile. The result is a bright, shiny, sparkly, welcoming ambiance that seems to say, “Relax. Enjoy. Have fun!”
Between floor and ceiling are a variety of thoroughly modern wall treatments that add definition, texture, and visual interest. Mirrored mosaic floor-to-ceiling wall tile defines the foyer; hand-crafted custom cork-and-silver flexible wall covering adorns the dining room. The guest suite walls are papered in silver-and-white striped wallpaper. Decorative three-dimensional wall panels add visual interest and a definite “wow” factor as they reflect upward to double height on the glossy ceiling: a white diamond pattern in the family room and a white wave pattern in the master bedroom.
Shag rugs, soft pillows, and faux fur throws introduce sensual interest in main living areas. Placed underfoot to define a seating area or tossed casually over white leather furniture or beds, these are items that you simply have to reach out and touch. Elsewhere, trendy touches of hand-crafted wallpaper enhance and distinguish the rooms in this open floor plan. Perla added punches of color in accessories—pink for the guest bedroom, aqua for the living room and master, and touches of greenery here and there.
In the guest room, which is embellished with pink accents, an S-curve ceiling fixture reigns over the queen bed. In fact, the light fixtures throughout this condo are another crowning accent. An outside balcony spans the entire width of the western end of the residence including the guest room. It opens to a view of bustling Ocean Boulevard and offers a spectacular sunset view framed with tropical foliage and sheer floor-ceiling draperies. At the opposite end, a ground level terrace leads to the pool, gardens and beach.
Christian Grey & Anastasia Steele Would Approve
The Perla Lichi signature style, whether applied to classic, traditional or modern design, is recognized worldwide. Fort Lauderdale living is all about having fun, having a good time. And this residence, designed by Perla Lichi, most certainly guarantees it!