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Florida Mid-Century Modern Kitchen by Studio 818 Featuring "Sonneman" Lighting



When Fort Lauderdale-based firm Studio 818 designed and developed a move-in ready custom home from the ground up on a corner lot, they looked to Southern California’s mid-century modern homes for inspiration. A corner lot normally presents challenges with privacy and a lack of light flow into the interior of the home. A narrow corner lot like the one the home sits on also allows passers-by to see three out of four sides of the structure.

In their visits to Palm Springs, the design team noticed the majority of homes built during the mid-century modern era maximize privacy while creating a sense of openness when inside the home. They integrated a private street-facing façade that combines solid walls, linear wood fencing, and green walls to create privacy for the home. Concrete walls visually anchor the garage/guest house to the main house while providing privacy for the pool and outdoor living areas.

To allow light to flow freely throughout the interior of the home while maintaining privacy, Studio 818 incorporated another attribute common to mid-century modern architecture. They designed a system of clerestory windows that span the perimeter of the exterior walls, flooding the interior spaces with light. The roof structure was precision-engineered, allowing the interior ceiling to flow seamlessly through the clerestory windows into the underside of the exterior cantilevered roof.

The cantilevered roof structure was a common feature with the original mid-century modern architecture of the 20th century, but this was a major engineering challenge due to the structural requirements to meet South Florida’s hurricane-related building codes. A specially-designed truss system met the team’s aesthetic goals but also provided the exacting tolerances required to achieve the precise positioning of the clerestory windows around the entire perimeter of the home. An added benefit is the energy efficiency of the sealed attic system the home employs.

The open concept kitchen adjacent to the dining and living areas features sleek, deep green floor-to-ceiling cabinetry on one wall, contrasted beautifully with modern wood cabinetry and white tile on another. An island crafted entirely of stone with dramatic veining anchors the space. A minimalist matte black Thin-Line pendant from SONNEMAN–A Way of Light provides downlighting over the island and complements the black barstools and sink fittings.

From inside the home, Studio 818 focused the design on the dramatic views of the pool and private outdoor entertainment area. They designed 10-foot full-height windows and a sliding door system overlooking the pool in the open concept kitchen/dining/living area.

Many iconic mid-century modern homes included a structural wall that ran through the heart of the home. These walls typically extended through the outside of the home, seemingly penetrating the exterior walls. These structural feature walls were often clad with a stone, linear brick or articulated block to add interesting texture.

Studio 818 incorporated this structural feature wall design with a nod to the tropical setting of South Florida using limestone imported from Spain. The custom fabricated stone has a unique texture with crustacean fossils embedded throughout which provides a subtle tie-in with the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

A pavilion effect on the rear of the was more done out of necessity due to site conditions than being rooted in a design intent. The elevation of the lot pitches significantly from North to South. The separate garage/guest house being on the South end of the property required a grade transition from the garage floor elevation to the floor elevation of the main house. The steps run not only the full width of the main house, but also wrap around both sides of the home to create a ‘pedestal’ effect.

By ML Staff. Image courtesy of Studio 818