Simply Irresistible

By staff May 1, 2003

Sandwiched between the Helmsley Sandcastle to the south and the future site of the Ritz-Carlton's swanky new beach club to the north is the unassuming Mark Twain condominium complex on Lido Beach. Artist Lynn Byers bought one of the 16 units for investment purposes and hired Susan Mignone of Panache Interiors Inc. to ready the place for rental. But this was no simple fence to be whitewashed.

"The carpet was mustard-colored shag with bleach spots, unit air-conditioners had leaked down the walls, the ancient windows and sliding doors were corroded and the kitchen was a plastic box covered in white laminate," says Mignone. Worst of all was an unsightly angled wall separating living room from lanai and blocking the view of sand and sea with a stubborn slider and a rusted-out door track. Mignone took one look around and called her demolition crew on the double.

Down came the wall and out went every existing window and door, with exterior wood trim replaced and painted to match. At once the living room seemed to double in size.

The million-dollar view is now framed by sparkling new glass windows and doors that glide open at the touch of a finger. Upon entry, the Gulf is clearly visible and natural light floods the space, reflecting off turquoise water and bright white sand. Richly textured Chinese sea grass replaced dirty carpet as floor covering; and when Mignone discovered she could not raise the lanai floor flush with the living room floor she ordered a gleaming polished oak threshold between the two rooms to delineate the change in levels.

Dingy white walls received two coats of eggshell paint and now glow a soft Tuscan yellow. The open kitchen boasts paneled wood cabinetry in tarragon, a slate and green Corian countertop and bar, fresh white appliances and cool stone tile floor. White plantation shutters provide privacy and give the room a crisp, tailored finish. And then it was time to have fun with the furnishings.

Mignone plays up texture and mixes natural fibers with pieces done in cane, woven reeds, smooth woods and bamboo. A star-gazing chair with ottoman faces the water alongside a high-sided daybed and glass-topped dining table, perfectly scaled to the lanai. A handsome linear sofa and red Oriental entertainment armoire anchor the living room, while barstools covered in alligator-print fabric connect lanai and living room to kitchen and offer more seating for guests. Byers' art collection has decided Asian influences with koi watercolors, botanicals, metalwork and wood carvings, so Mignone followed suit with dashes of Chinese red, fabrics from the Orient and a clean, minimalist feel. Byers' original wood sculptures are perfectly placed beside windows and in corners, including her piece titled Pirouette that has received much acclaim from juried shows throughout the Southwest.

Finally Mignone added smallish, moveable chairs and tables that move easily so that rooms can adapt to accommodate one guest or 20. When Byers saw the transformation, she was astonished. Days later, she moved in. Her good investment is home sweet home.


Design: Susan Mignone of Panache Interiors Inc.

Kitchen: Village Woodworking

Contractor : David Bailey

Bar stools: Donghia

Chinese sea grass: Befke Floor Covering

Sofa: Bauer

Daybed: Palecek

Fabrics: Scalamandre

Oriental armoire: Binjara TradersĀ 

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