A modern Tuscan interpretation – Revisited

Dubai-based practice VSHD Design recently completed its first U.S. residential project located within the Four Seasons Orlando Resort in Florida. In approaching the external Tuscan theme exhibited by homes within the exclusive development, the challenge was to maintain some existing structural elements, while delivering on the client’s vision of a modern home that would be luxurious, yet warm, comfortable, and ideal for entertaining guests. The client envisioned a sort of boutique-style hotel environment that would provide family and friends with privacy and luxurious amenities, even in the absence of its owners. To achieve that challenging balance, Hamed embarked on a mission to modernize the external Tuscan façade, while infusing contemporary luxury into the home’s interior to align with the client’s vision.
While Tuscan architecture in its purest form embraces natural, rustic elements, VSHD Design avoided abundant use of materials such as brick and wrought iron in lieu of a modern interpretation. Gray brick overhangs positioned above the external façade’s windows and passages pay homage too Tuscan influences. Black frames of expansive French windows, certified to hurricane standards, provide contemporary contrasts to the façade’s white walls, culminating in a modern Mediterranean style that adheres to the Four Seasons aesthetic requirements.

To complement the structural design, the studio developed all of the home’s outdoor spaces, beginning with its swimming pool. European limestone tiles, stylistic planters, and luxurious Italian sun-beds which provide the exterior spaces with an authentic Mediterranean look and feel. While the exterior exudes modern interpretations of mandated styles and standards, the studio approached the interior of the house as somewhat of a blank canvas. Working with a timber structure, as opposed to concrete columns and beams.
The client’s vision of a boutique-style hotel extends to the home’s main dining room, inspired by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass. A ‘modern-retro’ black and white console from Italy contrasts against a wall panel of gold leaf wallpaper, bordered by marble. The panel’s adjacent walls are characterised by ribbed white paneling with a stained wood base, while a cloud lighting fixture from New York’s Apparatus Studio provides adds a celestial touch to the room.
In order to tie the interior spaces together, the designers embarked on an ambitious plan to develop a new patio space at the center of the house to create visual links between multiple areas of the house. To separate the pool area from the patio, and to connect the master bedroom to the living spaces, the design team built an enclosed lanai with four expansive French windows on each side, which infuse the passage with natural light. The abundantly lit corridor is lined with wicker chairs, creating a fabulous reading room with the feel of an open space courtesy of pool views to the left, and patio views and greenery to the right. At the end of the passageway, a staircase to the left ascends to the second level of the home alongside floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the patio and offer views of the lanai and other external spaces.

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