Free Formed

The adventure started 3 years ago. That’s when architect Roger Kraft and his associate Adam Roberts of Roger Kraft Architecture met with a couple from Kansas City who had purchased a 7,400-square-feet penthouse residence in The Brighton at Bay Colony. Roger had worked with the owners on their Kansas City home. He shared their vision for creating a space at Bay Colony that would make the stunning waters of the Gulf of Mexico an integral element in the home’s interior. After the homeowner had the entire residence gutted, Janet Bilotti, ASID, Owner of Janet Bilotti Interiors, Inc. and Kaufmann Homes Corp. President Richard Kaufmann were retained to work with Roger to create and execute a highly stylized floor plan.
“For this homeowner, form follows function,” says Bilotti. “‘Less is more’ is her design philosophy. She envisioned clean lines and lots of curves that would pay homage to the ocean. She wanted it to be contemporary, but not cold. The view was important and the design maximizes exposure to it.”
The home’s contemporary style utilizes a tone on tone on tone creamy color palette on curved surfaces to create shadows that subtly highlight the residence’s architectural interest and present form rather than color. Fabrics, accent pillows and area rugs provide a bit of texture. By design, the color focal point is an art collection that includes works by Rauschenberg, Chamberlain, and Chihuly. The lady of the home searched for and vetted furnishings that are pieces of art in their own right. The furnishings and art provide punches of color against the creams and blacks found throughout the residence.
“Executing a tone on tone on tone palette is always more difficult than using a variety of colors,” says Bilotti. “With all of the curves, the shadows on the white create the reveals, interest, and movement. It’s about seeing the form. Many of the furnishings were designed around the artwork, including a circular quartz dining table and a massive stone coffee table in the living room. Comfort and ergonomics were considered equally. All of the lighting, furniture placements and art placements were planned in advance,” adds Bilotti.

“Everything was laid out with lasers transposed from the floor up to the ceiling,” says Kaufmann. “We had to be astute at geometry to transfer all of the curved lines from Roger Kraft’s design to the finished residence. Executing rounded walls is not easy. With clean lines like this, if you’re off at all, you’ll see it. Precision is key. The curves and the radius in the ceiling were fine tuned. The ceiling in the dining room is aluminum that was cut with a water jet and welded in place here. There were hundreds of welding hours on this site, including the bronze hand railing on the stairs leading to the rooftop outdoor living area. The designer, the owner and the architect all have to be on board to complete a home like this.”
Craft and Bilotti collaborated with the homeowner on the finish selections, including the stone flooring, stone countertops, wall finishes, wall units and window treatments. The living area’s sand-toned creama marfil flooring is honed rather than polished. Matte and shiny finishes are mixed and there is a play on textures and sheens that distinguishes the relative importance of various aspects of the home. Despite the preponderance of hard surfaces, there are no acoustical issues thanks to the modulation of the reveals and the curved walls. Edison Price low-voltage lighting illuminates the artwork and the entire home is on a centralized lighting system.
The production and installation of the home’s glass work was an impressive accomplishment. In the sitting area, a custom-made niche was designed to accommodate three-quarter-inch back painted glass. The niche is lit from above and hosts a colorful piece of art.
The master bath vanity has a treated and polished white bioglass countertop and white lacquered cabinetry that play against brushed Cambria black granite floors. A curved Starfire glass shower enclosure is one-half-inch thick and had to be laid out and sent to a specialty firm in the Midwest for bending. Because Starfire glass has low iron content, the clarity of the glass prevents the green hue that could distort the tones of the book-matched marble that is used on the shower walls and tub surround.
One of the homeowner’s favorite rooms, the kitchen, was designed by Maxine Corbett. White Polyform cabinetry is set over brushed Cambria black granite countertops. A triangular-shaped “working island” follows the architecture of the building and affords a delightful view. The kitchen can be closed off when entertaining.
The family room’s black and white textured chenille sectional sofa and glass-on-glass coffee table face a massive contemporary wall unit. A raised built-in fireplace and doors that pocket back to reveal a flat screen television are included in the unit. Advanced Audio Design, a Sarasota-based technology design firm with offices in Naples, installed the room’s surround-sound system.
“We provided the cable, satellite, phone and computer network infrastructure, a family room surround-sound system and a 12-zone distributed audio system with some rooms getting architectural speakers that blend in with the decor,” says Advanced Audio Design’s Brian Fretz. “There are speakers in twelve areas of the home and the owner can go into any room and play several sources that are being distributed, including a CD player, satellite radio and a music server that stores and plays back the owner’s personal selections and playlists. We also set up universal remotes for the televisions throughout the home to simplify control.”
“The craftsmen commissioned for this job shared my appetite for a challenge,” says Kaufmann. “Just as importantly, Janet and the architect worked hand-in-hand with what we were doing. It’s phenomenal what can be done when everybody pays attention to the details.”
“Rich took a sense of pride and ownership in this project and so did every mechanic and craftsman,” says Bilotti. “So many times we do disposable interior designs and finishes that change every five years. This is clearly a statement that will endure.”