A water view gives a space gravitas, grasps the imagination and provides a backdrop that is constantly in motion. It is everything nature intended. For many seeking to stake their claim on a piece of South Florida’s most desirable lots, waterfront is prime real estate. Angela Reynolds, the internationally renowned designer who counts Celine Dion and Elin Nordegren as her clients, is not only big on flowing views, she’s also big on liquid assets.
“I love incorporating water in my designs,” Reynolds says. “Water creates an experience of calm and serenity.” It’s not a novel notion: from the Alhambra to the Taj Mahal, fountains and reflection pools have captivated for centuries.
Touring one of Reynolds’ latest completed projects, a 9,000-square-foot remodel along Jupiter’s Intracoastal, one is first greeted by the commanding stone, wood, steel and glass entrance, juxtaposed by large steps that appear to literally float atop water.
“Water softens the grandness,” Reynolds says. “It makes it more approachable and ethereal.”
Green, tropical plants of various sizes and textures surround the narrow water channels and the two basins on either side. A 10-foot glass door pivots to enter.
“The door really sets the tone,” Reynolds says.
When the Reilly family purchased the home, it was a 1980s ultra-modern relic, exuding the coolness of Madonna in her heyday—leather skirts and Aqua Net. Yet the family knew that with the right team, it could—like the pop queen—be reinvented.
“It was a challenge,” Amy Reilly says. “We were looking to transform a home that was dated with round walls and stairs in the middle. We wanted a family-friendly, contemporary home. And most importantly, we needed it to work for our busy family of six. Out of all the designers we interviewed, Angela was the most visionary.”
Along with hiring Reynolds, the Reillys brought on award-winning architect Mitchell O’Neil and Affinity Construction Group. The biggest structural challenge was removing the ceiling in the family room and kitchen to build a second-floor base that would allow for an upstairs addition.
“We actually ended up with another 2 feet of ceiling height for the kitchen and family room,” Reilly says. Reynolds, who loves ceiling decor, took a cue and added beautiful, ebony wooden slats in the new ceiling. It became an interior and exterior motif.
For the sunken living room, a popular ’80s feature, Reynolds gave it a refresh by designing a custom sofa from New Design in Fort Lauderdale. The sofa hugs the stairs as if it had been grafted to them.
“This room was one of the more challenging ones, because of those stairs,” Reynolds says. “But challenges force me to come up with solutions that are exciting.”
The dark ebony coffee table with its edgy abstract angles (another custom build) pairs precisely with the tailored sofa and the Bolier side chairs. The room’s fabric, a study in different shades of gray (though not quite 50!), is made for outdoor use. Reynolds wanted to make sure the room was not off limits to the couple’s four children. A saltwater aquarium and oversized-but-thin Restoration Hardware chandeliers complete the look. Along the opposite wall, a glass-encased wine room holds more than 400 bottles—another liquid feature.
For the dining room, Reynolds constructed a custom chandelier by assembling a variety of single Arteriors pendants in various sizes and adding a metal ceiling plate to unify the pendants, changing the way it cascades and diffuses light.
“We looked at so many different options,” Reilly says. “And now I have something so unique and elegant created by Angela’s team. I love it.”
The original marble floors in the home were in great condition, but Reynolds softened the feel of the kitchen with wide, white oak planks that would contrast with the dark ceiling.
“I like to mix and match different types of wood,” Reynolds says. “Sometimes clients are afraid to incorporate contrast, but it only adds layers of beauty. We are past the era where everything needs to match.”
White shaker cabinets keep the look timeless, while the glass uppers showcase beloved objects without fear of playful children. Off the kitchen, the home opens up to a completely redesigned backyard space. Almost every inch of soil was turned over to create the pièce de résistance, conceptualized by landscape architect Tony Grimaldi.
“In Florida, there is such a focus on exterior spaces,” Reynolds says. “No one is hanging out in the formal dining room; we are hanging out by the pool. Our goal was to capture the feeling of an inviting, boutique hotel.”
The space is multi-leveled, continuing its use of fluid elements leading up to the awesome Intracoastal access. The pool, newly minted, has a hip, white plaster shell and features white, anti-slip tile that seamlessly dips into the water. “Joe’s Point,”named after the home’s owner, is a separate sitting area off the pool that can only be accessed by walking over wet steps and a gentle waterfall feature. The outdoor furniture at Joe’s Point is from Restoration Hardware. Above, a pergola from Arcadia opens and closes depending on weather conditions.
“Joe’s Point is at the edge of the pool, near the water,” Reilly says. “It is the most relaxing place to end the day.”
The backyard also boasts a covered canopy that feels like a family room, with cozy, custom sitting pieces made from Resysta composite, an all-weather material. The same composite is used on the ceiling, harking back to the kitchen’s design. On the opposite end, another zen spot has been carved out along a rectangular fire pit. It is sunken, like the living room inside. Weather resistant, blue sofas give a burst of color and manifest clean lines. But the best part? The front row seats are for watching the famed Florida orange and pink skies that begin and end the day. The pool, large enough for laps and certainly large enough to hold spirited afternoon parties, is an exercise in restraint, simplicity and multi-leveling. There is a shelf for youngsters to wade in or mothers to soak up vitamin D atop icy white, Brown Jordan swim chaises. Alongside, there are more thematic floating steps, this time leading into the water.
“We enjoy every inch of the backyard space,” Reilly says. “I’m so grateful to our entire design team in how they created something so functional and so chic.”