All of the award-winning interior design firms that made this year’s list are known for creating warm, sophisticated and livable interiors that reflect an owner’s unique style and enhances the spectacular ocean views of some of the most exclusive homes in the world. But in fact, she’s got a voracious appetite for anything well designed, from contemporary Japanese pottery to soft-textured cashmere blankets to an 18th-century, marble-topped burled-wood dresser.
Behind every masterwork–like this beautiful coastal home in Sarasota, Florida– are equal parts natural talent and hard work, which is why Bennett Leifer’s steady rise in the highly competitive world of interior design comes as no surprise.
“That’s a really compelling way to make a space feel more interesting and more layered and that may surprise people at the beach,” says Betsy Burnham, principal designer of Los Angeles-based Burnham Design, who likes to incorporate luxe cashmere pillows or vintage rugs into ocean home decor.
From the Kyle Bunting rug to the crisp, clean lines, this stunning residence at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour is a masterwork by top Miami design firm Britto Charette. Corals and blues in a mix of patterns create a different kind of Palm Beach room.
California meets Cape Cod in the living room of this stylish home at Dana Point in Orange County; the crisp, fresh coastal look is by Brown Design Group, based in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. When leading designers Ellie Cullman and Alyssa Urban glimpsed the interior of a gracious Mediterranean-style and oceanfront home near Palm Beach, Fla., they saw a treasure trove of Italianate furniture and fine art. The owners, a retired couple with children and several grandchildren, needed their vacation home enlarged and refashioned for year-round living. The acclaimed interior designer, who heads up New York City-based David Kleinberg Design Associates, might feel inspiration strike when he admires the works of luminaries such as architect Lee Mindel or French interior designer Jacques Grange, or even during a great opera production, like Robert Lepage’s controversial version of Richard Wagner’s “The Ring Cycle” at the Metropolitan Opera. Ivonne Ronderos, owner and principal of DKOR Interiors in Miami, has seen big changes recently in bathroom design. “Owners are yearning to recreate a spa experience in their own home.” That desire has led to perks such as larger showers with features such as chromotherapy lighting, jets, benches and steam.
Edward Lobrano, the celebrated interior designer and former senior designer for Bunny Williams, was a successful business executive for many years – including a stint as a vice president of a leading brokerage firm at the age of 28 – when he suddenly jumped ship in his early 40s and followed his inner voice to a career creating artful rooms. The restored midcentury home of architect John Ike in San Diego allows him to entertain guests and family from January through December.
He created several outdoor entertaining areas to maximize the space and embrace Southern California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle. You decide instead to work with Manhattan-based interior designer Jennifer Post because you want something altogether new and fun and bright and splashy and chic. One that’s built on bold moves and vibrant colors but also on eye-popping surprises and hard-to-find furnishings. She’s an interior designer to the proverbial rich and famous, and was aptly dubbed “The Billionaire Whisperer” by Forbes.
Joan Behnke began her career with palaces and residences for Saudi Arabia’s royal family, and has achieved notoriety by designing for Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. Then there’s the music producer who bought Brady’s LA home for $40 million (Google it), Sylvester Stallone, and billionaires Alec Gores and Thomas Barrack, among other moguls. “It’s all about ease.” That relaxed energy will be evident in soft pastels, such as indigo, and shears that cut glare without obstructing the views.
Situated in the exquisite oceanfront community of Acquavista in North Hutchinson Island, Florida, every room in this home is positioned to take advantage of the spectacular Atlantic Ocean vistas. Now an acclaimed designer with his own interiors firm, Michael Dawkins Home, he started re-upholstering pieces of furniture while in middle school without any formal training. I thought it was so cool,” Dawkins says of his first design creation inside his parents’ garage in Grosse Pointe, Mich. michaeldawkinshome.com
With Michelle’s penchant for taupes and beiges, it’s likely the Kalorama home will be next on the list for Michael S. Smith, decorator to the stars. Tuscan farmhouse meets Malibu modern in the family room of a beautiful California beach home, created by interior designer Philip Nimmo and architect Paul Williger. This Amelia Island, Florida, home was remodeled extensively throughout the entire first floor (including removal of the staircase) to maximize the natural light and beautiful marsh and water views. Robyn Branch Design and Julia Hall Interiors collaborated on the project, incorporating the homeowners’ personal styles as well as the area’s natural elements.
A hand-carved sculptural element—a filigree design of native tree frogs and feathers—covers a critical support beam. Scandinavian textile designs are famously lush creations, with gorgeous prints and texture- rich weaves.
In the cold northern climate, children grow up surrounded by culturally inspired fabrics and other textiles, often created by hand. So it’s somewhat surprising to learn that Sofia Joelsson, who was born and raised in a small village in Sweden and has put down roots in Miami, didn’t attend school for interior design.
Between trips to see clients along the East Coast and beyond, Caruso flew to London to pick up an International Design and Architecture Award, presented by design.et.al.