Photography by ACH Digital Photography
Stylish garments deserve a modern wardrobe where they can be admired, displayed, and cherished, so what started as a one-room redesign turned into a two-phase, three-year journey for DawnElise Hamilton of DawnElise Interiors. Hamilton gutted the 4,200-square-foot home with minimal interference from the client.
“She was trusting and gave me so much creative freedom,” Hamilton says of the homeowner.
The eclectic, contemporary, four-bedroom, four-bathroom home reflects the owner’s warm and elegant personality and her passion for life and celebrations.
Originally from New York, Hamilton has owned her namesake South Florida–based design firm for nearly two decades. With a degree in art history, Hamilton started her career in museums and then transitioned into restaurant design after she honed in on her talent for visual organization.
“I appreciate beautiful things and want to organize them,” she says. “I’m a big picture designer who sees the whole space, is super organized, resourceful, and does what I say I’m going to do.”
That must be why her clients keep coming back; 80 percent of her clientele is repeat business. Her design aesthetic—which favors clean lines in uncomplicated, practical spaces—also resonates.
Although the client is a prominent figure in the Fort Lauderdale community, Hamilton’s task was to create a stylish but comfortable home for her and her three dogs—a serene space where she could unwind that was also perfectly suited to host delightful festivities.
The façade and entryway were renovated last year to create a contemporary home with a warm color palette. Hamilton worked with landscape architecture firm Cadence and Mike Sanchez of MS Architects to create and build her vision. The columns were wrapped in stacked stone to give the house texture, while the grey granite driveway pavers give it depth. One of Hamilton’s favorite features of the home is the garage door, which has striking bronze panels created by Australian company Axolotl FL.
A welcoming foyer in gold, taupe, and bronze hues opens up to the living room and tranquil pool views. The porcelain tile floor throughout gives the home a contemporary feel; here, it’s offset by an Angela Adams black and cream wool rug. The foyer’s showpiece is the Davenport mural by Seabrook Wallcovering. The wallpapered accent wall in a green, gold, and black abstract pattern draws the eye in and is complemented by the gold-leaf Lightology Collection chandelier, bronze Arktura console table, and round Corrigan Studio mirror. Adding a sense of airiness to the space, a white Palecek three-dimensional petal art piece made from hand-cut coco wood hangs above the custom-made black tweed bench.
The foyer and living room feature perimeter cove lighting that acts as a clean source of illumination and makes the Benjamin Moore White Heron wall paint radiate. The centerpiece of the living room is the redesigned fireplace in polished porcelain and antique brass. Hamilton designed the extended bench underneath it in the same porcelain, accented with plush throw pillows. Lauzon cité dark oak flooring in a herringbone design allows the cream, gold, and taupe furniture pieces to pop while also adding a warm touch to the room.
Two tables sit on top of the Safavieh area rug in a delicate petal floral wash—a round Palecek gold side table and the Marge Carson infinity coffee table in a gold finish. The custom-made lounge chairs in a Bergamo Olympia cream fabric with gold finish pair beautifully with the Dakota Jackson sofa in a Zimmer+Rohde cream Portico satin and chenille fabric. Topped with alabaster lamps from Z Gallerie, the sofa’s three-tier end tables in a brass finish tie in to the fireplace while also pulling from the artworks’ color schemes.
“It’s boring for all the art to be the same,” Hamilton says. “I like to mix mediums.”
The dramatic Jay Strongwater brass tree accented with Swarovski crystals along with the art over the sofa are from the owner’s personal collection, while the metal and glass wall sculpture near the owner’s piano was designed by Hamilton.
Hamilton blew the walls out to open the kitchen up and make it part of the great room space. She added a pass-through window, which is perfect for catered soirées, and reorganized the layout to make it more functional.
Dual-toned cabinets in white oak and wenge complement the beige and brown hues of the Betularie granite countertops.
Steps away, the sculptural Tucker Robbins breakfast table is paired with McGuire rattan and caning barrel seat chairs in a gorgeous teal fabric.
Natural light floods this spacious room that overlooks the pool patio. A perfect place for entertaining, the great room features a seven-seat bar, television, and direct access to the kitchen. A custom white oak and wenge cabinet by Noble Wood Works displays the TV, and the lava stone mosaic curved wall opposite the sliding glass doors adds texture and interest to the space.
The Thayer Coggin cream leather sectional and Elite Leather Company brown leather Bond lounge chairs form an inviting sitting area. The seats are accented by the round Brownstone Furniture coffee table, custom leather ottomans, unique Pfeifer Studio side tables, and a Safi natural shag rug. In the evenings, a Kenneth Cobonpue floor lamp and Hubbardton Forge linen and cork light pendant light up the room.
The refined bar, featuring the same Betularie granite as the kitchen, is highlighted by the stunning wenge wood ceiling treatment and soft cove lighting.
Hamilton turned the cabana bath into the guest bedroom’s en suite bathroom by shifting a few walls and redesigning the layout of the space. Inspired by nature’s brilliant colors, the lustrous curved shower wall and floor were done in two different turquoise and blue glass mosaic patterns from Clad Tile & Stone. The Scarabeo toilet, Newport Brass showerhead, and Elan’s Quell vanity light continue the curved theme of the bathroom.
Hamilton’s stylish client has a wardrobe collection that needed to be celebrated. The designer created two separate closets—one for clothes and one for accessories. The shoe and purse closet, which was organized and merchandised by NEAT Method, features custom beige cabinetry and shelving that precisely display all the client’s favorite wares. The hand-knotted Trent Austin Design rug adds a pop of color to the space.
The light and airy master bedroom evokes a sense of calm, but the neutral color palette doesn’t mean boring. The Jeffrey Michaels embossed wallpaper in a paisley print adds interest behind the Caracole sleigh bed and its sleek chevron design. The Caracole night tables in the same natural Longwood veneer as the bed hold Currey and Company lamps, while the Vaxcel chandelier made of capiz shells not only illuminates the room but acts as a delicate wind chime when the plantation shutter doors are opened to the pool.
The custom bench in an off white Sunbrella fabric sits on a Dunsen Dunsen Slash West Elm wool rug and opposite the geometric Restoration Hardware cabinets that frame the television. Semi-sheer crinkly custom drapes complement the cream Caracole lounge chair in the corner, its raffia ottoman, and the Flokati shag rug.
In the master bathroom, an elegant freestanding tub sits under a glowing Corbett Lighting chandelier in iron, glass, and Brazilian crystals.
The home’s entertainment space effortlessly flows out into the pool deck and backyard, which overlooks a serene canal. Hamilton furnished the space using pieces by Paola Lenti, an Italian design house that she had admired for decades and felt would be a good fit for this home. Lenti’s colorful creations add a sense of whimsy to the space, and the ceramic Seasonal Living end tables and lava stone dining table fit perfectly into this vivid playground. To add a few sophisticated touches to the patio, Hamilton utilized oiled ipe wood for the underside of the terrace overhang, installed granite pavers in a geometric pattern, and placed Brown Jordan Fires portable steel firepits in a white finish around the pool.