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Richard Pérez-Feria | Photo: Alexia Fodere | April 11, 2014
In an airy oceanfront condo, the good taste of Britto Charette feeds the senses.
The challenge facing the red-hot interior design firm Britto Charette had a familiar empty-nest ring to anyone remotely aware of luxury interior design in South Florida: A couple with grown children was looking to downsize—in a beachfront high-rise with every conceivable amenity—without losing the sense of space and comfort they were accustomed to. So Harry Polsky and his wife, artist Ellen Riazanow Polsky, purchased an enviable two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence at Trump Hollywood. To complicate matters, the owners said they wanted to recreate the feeling they had when they lived in a New York City loft, decades earlier, and they required lots of storage space and hardwood floors.
“We chose Britto Charette because my wife and I are both big ‘energy’ people and right off the bat, we were all on the same wavelength regarding our vision and specific needs,” Harry Polsky says. “We wanted a contemporary apartment with wood floors, and they delivered exactly that. The guys at Britto Charette really listened to what we had to say, and we couldn’t be happier. We’re simply in love with our beautiful new home.”
Fort Lauderdale-based Jay Britto and David Charette have been on a winning streak, scoring impressive commissions all over South Florida and even setting their sights north by exploring work in Manhattan. The creative partners were determined to exceed the owners’ vaulted expectations, and, by all accounts, they did exactly that.
“Working with a clean canvas, we installed the rich DuChateau espresso wood floors first, and from there, we just did everything,” Britto says. “The way David and I work is that we bring color in with our choice of textiles and numerous accent pieces.” But unfinished spaces come with numerous obstacles. “The real challenge for us was making the apartment seem not only much larger, but also invoking the New York City loft quality the owners said they wanted,” Charette says. “I think we nailed it.” The resulting home is a delicious interpretation of contemporary living. Gradations of chocolate brown play off white walls and furnishings and nod to a few welcome splashes of color; it’s the luxe shelter equivalent of residing inside a hot fudge sundae—a most happy place, to be sure.
The owners and designers are definitely on the same page when it comes to what constitutes the most dramatic and important moment in the apartment: the hidden wall, or double doors, that separate the living room from the master bedroom. “Those doors are custom—and incredibly heavy—and not only do they disappear into the side walls, creating an uninterrupted, open vista between rooms, but they also unexpectedly function as significant storage,” Britto notes. The owners agree about the value of those vanilla doors, with their arty-patchwork design. “Those hidden bedroom doors are the single best thing about the apartment,” Riazanow Polsky says.
Once one pulls open those doors to enter the master bedroom, the unrivaled showstopper is the concrete mocha-colored bed wall, a grid of circles crafted from Optic 3 Ogassian tiles from Earth Elements. A Herman Miller office chair is set off by a large contemporary installation by local artist, Ray Olivero. The living room also features modern furnishings with strong silhouettes, from the Swan Italia sofa from Arravanti and the chaise by Scan Design to an Artefacto Miami area rug.
Britto Charette saw opportunities to open up the space, and they grabbed them. “You know, we really wanted to open up the foyer with glass to create a clean sightline to the views,” Britto says. “We did it, and it really made a huge difference.” The dining room also represented a major transformation, since it was originally slated to be a third bedroom before the designers opened it up by knocking down walls. A Moon table by Jesse from Arravanti, vintage Palazzetti chairs and, most prominently, a stunning custom sideboard with built-in shelving designed by Britto Charette, complete the dining space.
Given the challenges with which the designers were presented, the owners are overjoyed with their aesthetically intelligent home. Riazanow Polsky, whose own artwork can be found throughout, describes the men of Britto Charette as “extraordinarily talented,” while her husband says the designers are ”exceedingly open” to suggestions and ideas.
Though warming up a cool design may not be the single most innovative shelter direction one has ever encountered, the execution—as is always the case—is everything. And what the talented duo was able to accomplish and complete in five short months—a home that’s boldly tactile, undeniably rich and, dare we say it, joyous—is nothing short of remarkable. The reason why Britto Charette is on a winning streak? Their good taste is good enough to eat.
Living room pillows
Tang king-size bed, Moon dining table by Jesse, living room sofa and pod swivel chair, foyer ceiling light fixture
Bedroom Savvy double dresser
Tizio Classic table lamp in bedroom
Bedroom ceiling design and nightstands, living room wall design, dining room server
Wood flooring throughout
Bedroom desk lamps by Kelvin
Sayl chair in bedroom
Concrete tile walls in bedroom and dining room
Oil paintings throughout