“Situated on a rare, large waterfront lot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this outdated home was transformed into a modern retreat for a young family of five,” designer Jennifer Wagner Schmidt tells us. “The homeowners took their time in renovating the property over the course of 2 years and enlisted our help for the interior design.” Her firm, JWS Interiors, was tasked with designing and updating most of the 5,000 square foot home. The family’s top priorities were the creation of a great entertaining area and bar off the living room, renovating the primary bathroom and bedroom, and adding a new pool and cabana outdoors.
“The property was purchased for its potential which was so smart on my client’s behalf,” Jennifer shares. “It was completely outdated with old windows, floors, and the most ornate principal bathroom I’ve ever seen (in a bad way). It was the perfect opportunity to make the home more modern and functional for this family.” Jennifer and her team worked alongside Gulf Homes, the builder, and landscape architect Keith Williams, to transform the home into a hotel-like oasis. The homeowners were partial to a modern, natural vibe with a touch of glamour—Jennifer’s specialty.
At the entry, the façade was completely reconstructed. A glass and iron front door leads you into the home, with a bar area filling a corner of the home when you first walk in. “We wanted a wow factor and I think we achieved that with the black book matched marble, gold sconces and modern island,” she says. “Who wouldn’t want to come in and have a glass a wine in that bar? The black marble was definitely a win in terms of luxury.”
The living and dining room feature simple but impactful pieces, which Jennifer says is sometimes all you need to make a room “pop” and come together. “For the dining space, we found beautiful leather chairs to complement the homeowner’s current table. It was worth the wait for these! They are not only beautiful but also comfortable and kid-friendly,” she explains. Another family-focused space, the family room, was updated with a large black sectional, a leather ottoman, and beautiful lighting.
Upstairs, the main bedroom and bathroom are stunning. “You can easily stop and stare at the newly renovated all marble bathroom featuring Lawson-Fenning and Kelly Wearstler lighting,” Jennifer smiles. “The client wanted a beautiful space with maximum storage so we incorporated the beautiful natural color cabinetry extending the entire width of one wall. I love, as well as the client, thick counters, so that was a no-brainer. Finally, we added the black accents to ground the space with lighting as well as the faucets and trim around the shower door.” To tie this space to the bedroom, a black marble fireplace surround was installed. The modern bed and linen nightstands add a calming effect to the drama of the marble.
In each room, art plays a big part in the design. “The gallery art really helped make the house,” Jennifer recalls. “My clients have great taste and selected pieces from artists such as Mel Bochner and Peter Gronquist from galleries across the US. I think my favorite is the gorgeous flower entry light box by Gronquist, which literally glows at night through the new double iron and glass doors –so much so–that those passing by take pictures and stop to stare from the street!”
Outdoors, the entire backyard was ripped out and a new cabana and pool added in. “Keith worked his magic with the checkerboard grass surrounding the new pool, which gave the yard a hotel-like vibe and became the perfect backdrop for entertaining from the cabana.” Though the project took just about two years, Jennifer says it was a great project from start to finish. “It was such a pleasure to work with these clients. I think they are very happy with their home. It’s truly a place for everyone to come together and hang out indoors or out.”