Boca Raton Observer - March 2022
By: SATACIA FRIEDMAN
Decorator's Dream - Bringing a Stunning Boca Home to Life
Typically, interior designers assist clients in selecting furnishings, light fixtures, rugs and color schemes. But when Boca Raton interior designer Nikki Levy first spoke with her client, she discovered that all of the above had already been purchased. Although the client thought each piece was “lovely,” the total effect was bland overall.
Levy’s challenge? Inject drama and interest into a newly constructed, fully furnished, five bedroom, five bath Boca Raton home. Not only were the furnishings a given, but so were the marble floors throughout the home.
Designing A Furnished Home
“Normally, we would never entertain this kind of project. We focus on full scope interiors, from inception of concept to fully finished spaces,” says Levy. “But there was something about this space that intrigued me. It had fantastic bones, including a double curved staircase that made my heart skip a beat. Plus, the furniture was so simple that it was a blank canvas.”
Levy took on the project with passion. The client was receptive to all her ideas, no matter how wild and creative. “My main focus was to make it feel cohesive by adding an artistic vibe to every room,” she says.
“We began working on this space adding layer upon layer of detail, each detail thoughtful and unique,” Levy offers. “We enlisted the help of an artist who spent three weeks meticulously mapping out the kitchen ceiling design, which was inspired by the Innovations wallpaper in the formal dining room. The result was incredible. Each segment of the ceiling is a painted texture running in different directions.”
In the living room, Levy used stunning black metal wire wall hangings to contrast with the neutral toned walls and furniture.
For the family room, Levy hired faux finish painters. “The result is so textural that when you walk past it, you really feel the texture in the most visceral way,” she says. She also added a barn door that leads into the music room, selected for its “cool, graphic vibe,” Levy says.
One of the greatest challenges was the double stairwell. It was dramatic on its own, however, Levy sensed there could be so much more to it. While a single curved staircase imparts a sense of drama, these twin swirling staircases mirroring one another present an unexpected, over-the-top elegance. They go beyond function to luxurious excess.
“The wallpaper on the bottom of the stairs is a Vahallan hand-made paper, where an artisan lays twine onto the paper and then a rich pearlescent paint is applied over it, with movement and texture,” says Levy.
To further the drama of the staircase, Levy added custom design benches at the bottom of the stairs, with a dusty gold base and velvet shagreen-esque cushions which anchor the whole effect. They emulate the neutral tones used throughout the home as well as the use of gold tone finishes.
For a unique, showstopper, Levy placed an array of brass and silver metal bowls high up on the walls of the lower staircase. “Walking through the front door, everybody knows that this is a special home and they are in for a treat,” she says.
“Our client’s husband spends a tremendous amount of time in the office and he wanted it to be an ode to his home town of Philadelphia,” says Levy. She achieved this by using an ombré effect, painting the office walls from gray to white, representing the Philly skyline.
The client had only one requirement, they wanted a bar. Not only did they want a bar, but it had to be a special bar, which provided all the ususal functions while fitting into a three-foot space without a sink. Levy rose to the occasion with a cold inlay bar in rich wood tones and a HydroFaucet which chills, sparkles and boils the water. The bar is unique in that is has no sink, yet provides all the functions of a bar that has one through the installation of a single drain.
To add interest to an out-cove near the formal dining area, Levy used a series of metal flowers welded together then whitewashed with the raw metal peeking through. Another attention-getter in the dining room is the vertical display of wine bottles enclosed in a glass case that takes up almost the entire wall, running the length of the formal dining table.
The one painting the client thought to hide in another room — a large colorful portrait of a woman’s face with a multitude of flowers in her hair. Levy championed for prominent placement just off the dining area creating the designer’s favorite vignette in the entire home.
“It is the most beautiful art piece. I used it to create what was to become one of my favorite spaces. Flanking the portrait, I placed two bold, over-sized Global Views lamps. The self-patterned John Richard table was the perfect grounding piece,” says Levy.
For the master bedroom, Levy selected a Phillip Jeffries wallpaper which was both contemporary and tribal. “This textured, specialty wall-covering is made from “woven banana” bark and paper in a bold stripe pattern with wabi-sabi flair which finds beauty in imperfection,” says Levy, referring to the organic, uneven texture of the wall covering.
“The furniture in this space, especially the velvet headboard, came to life the moment the wallpaper was installed. All of a sudden this bedroom became the oasis it was meant to be,” she reflects.
But it is in the master bathroom that Levy created the biggest “wow factor” with a wall design by Alex Turco. Fusing photographic, digital images and hand applied resin, the result resembles a ravishing organic structure, as if it was inlaid with polished marble. Born in Italy, the son of a painter, Turco uses photography and graphic imagery to create customized art panels. His company is based in Italy and maintains a showroom in the Miami Design District.
“The oversized scale of Turco’s design is awe-inspiring and takes this bathroom into the stratosphere,” says Levy. Meanwhile, the fringed Arteriors chandelier complements the space with its unstructured vibe and deep colors.
“This project was truly a pleasure. Each element was inspired and transformative,” says Levy. “How rare is it that we get to work like this, and how lucky we are that we had this opportunity.”
Levy’s design career started in her hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. “It happened very organically,” she says. “From the time I was very young, friends were asking me to design their homes.”
The vivid and inspiring interiors of South Africa fed her passions, and she would eventually use the international flavors represented in her background to feed her design aesthetic.
Moving to Florida in 2010 with her husband and three children, Levy took a break from designing until her small children were old enough to go to school. That gave her time to study and absorb American design attitudes which did not look to Europe as much as they had in her native South Africa.
“Over time, my Florida clients are getting more sophisticated, adventurous and international,” says Levy. “These days, we order from England and South America, never limiting ourselves to what is available locally.”
Levy also notes that her clients are becoming more international too, as families from Israel, South America, South Africa and Budapest move to the Boca Raton area.
“Design has become personal and unique. We are doing it all, everything from industrial design homes to contemporary and traditional, from maximal to minimal and in between,” she says. “I don’t adhere to a specific aesthetic genre. My specialty is connecting to my clients to uncover who they are and what would reflect them. I listen. I observe. I create homes that they are connected to and love to be in.”
One of the many advantages Levy offers her clients is previewing their home design via 3D imaging with the most up-to-date technology. “We are one of the only design firms in South Florida to weave magnificent detail into a 3D design, enabling our clients to see exactly what they are getting before making any decisions,” she says.
The winner of multiple Houzz Awards from 2016 to 2022, Nikki Levy Interiors was selected to participate in the 2022 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, beginning March 5.