Tropical Merges with Modern in the Florida Keys


When an outdated Key West home in dire need of renovation caught the eye and imagination of one couple, they turned to interior designer David L. Smith for consultation. “I think I shocked them when I suggested tearing it down and starting anew,” Smith says. “But they mulled it over, assembled an amazing team and jumped in with both feet.” The result is this truly iconic Key West tropical modern home that dazzles.

From the moment the gate opens, it becomes apparent that indoor/outdoor living is a priority for this residence with its harmonious architecture, design and landscape that beckon guests to traverse the pool’s stepping stones to the front entry. Key West-based architect Haven Burkee, partner at Bender & Associates, designed clean open lines within the home that are reflected by dynamic geometry throughout the open-air spaces.

With a vast background in designing and rejuvenating homes in this highly sought-after area for more than 20 years, Smith opted for a simplified, modern design within a tropical setting. “Inside, our work was inspired by the couple’s impressive collection of fine art,” he says. “In general, I pair my client’s personal style of living with the unique character of the Florida Keys.” However, these new owners — he a modernist, and she a traditionalist — were stuck in opposing corners which created a unique challenge for the designer. With a mantra that asserts design is 20 percent decorating and 80 percent counceling, Smith’s negotiating skills prevailed, allowing both sides to claim victory.

Outside, indigenous plants that act as sculpture and an abundance of Florida sunshine provide the perfect setting for lush gardens by Craig Reynolds Landscape Architecture. Tropical breezes flow while casual furnishings shape a social grouping on the floating lounge area … an ideal spot to kick back and enjoy Key West’s glorious sunsets at day’s end.

Story Credits:

Text kim mosley
Interior photography
Barry Fitzgerald, Richmond, VA
Exterior Photography
Tamara alvarez, Key West, FL

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