Stairway to Sunlight on the Water: South Island by KZ Architecture

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Smooth white rectangles seem to float above terrace railings, centered on a staircase that rises unencumbered to sunshine at its top, in this South Florida “expression of Modernism in the tropics” by KZ Architecture. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, this residence for a family of six is sited in one of the few single-family home site neighborhood in the area; it has neighbors to the north and south, so the plan is centered on a western courtyard with a glorious infinity pool, around which all the interior rooms are organized, with various outdoor “rooms” to bridge the gaps. As the architect explains: “Starting at the covered entry path, the visitor is engaged by the intimate outdoor front courtyard, which connects through the great room of the house to the rear covered outdoor spaces that front the water views.”

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Natural materials play key roles in both décor and delineation here. Two slate walls are integral elements; one frames the entrance, the other surrounds the barbecue, and ipe wood flows from docks to terraces on the second floor. And, as befits a contemporary design, the emphasis is on light and air, as the architect goes on: “Overall, horizontal and vertical planes of glass, stone, wood, and white stucco are activated by the pervading light to accomplish an indoor-outdoor integration of spaces and form.” These panes of glass admit both light and great views, while the clean white lines and wood grain present a soothing and sophisticated ambience that’s a great welcome for family and guests alike. Complemented by lush green landscaping and mature palms, this family home has it all, in a terrific design from KZ Architecture.

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