Enduring Design

Photography by Barry Grossman

In the world of real estate, success is defined by figures. But when it comes to turning a beautiful piece of property into a stylish and welcoming home, it’s all about aesthetics. Specifically, creating a space that’s personalized yet timeless. Steven Gurowitz, an interior design industry veteran and the owner of Miami-based firm Interiors by Steven G., knows the formula well, and he imbues each of his projects with the appropriate ingredients.

“A great design project has great legs, meaning that it stands the test of time,” says Gurowitz. “It’s easy to achieve great design because there are a lot of talented people in the world. But is it timeless, is it comfortable, and are the clients happy?”

For him, making clients happy means ensuring his work reflects their own personalities and interests.

“If someone’s telling you they need comfort and that they love earth tones, you can’t show them product that isn’t comfortable, nor can you show them purples, yellows, and greens,” Gurowitz says. To guarantee he and his clients are on the same page, his design process almost always includes spending time—and sometimes lots of it—together in his offices looking at fabrics and finishes and talking about each room’s intended functionality.

“As seasoned veterans, and in doing this for as many years as we have, that is really the process with 90 percent of the projects,” he says. Often, clients know what they do and don’t like, and they bring their own well-thought-out ideas to the table. “And all we have to do is basically follow their direction.”

One such couple called on Gurowitz when it came time to design their 5,000-square-foot apartment at the Mansions at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach. In addition to a comfortable home for themselves, the couple wanted the residence to serve as a show place for their beloved glass art works. In response, for the couple’s dining room, Gurowitz commissioned small, colorful glass sculptures, which are displayed in lighted niches in the room’s wall unit. He also ordered a custom, Italian-made glass chandelier comprising a rounded stainless steel base and long, delicate tendrils that dangle above the dining room table. To temper the art’s whimsy and bright colors and to honor his clients’ desire for a stately feel, Gurowitz chose a warm and soft neutral palette for the apartment. The project, he says, “is all about great art, great accessories, great sculpture,” and the apartment’s timeless interiors let the pieces speak for themselves.

Art factored heavily into the design of the 11,000-square-foot penthouse home of another client, at the Grove at Grand Bay in Miami. As parents, the homeowners wanted their space to be stylish yet livable, while also reflecting their love of art. After spending time together with Gurowitz’s team, a design scheme took shape—as did renderings that would give his clients a very real sneak peek of what their home could look like.

“People don’t come in to Steven G. and just see fabrics, finishes, and furniture,” he says. “They see a rendering of a finished room with every piece of furniture, the lighting, the millwork. There’s nothing left to the imagination.”

The couple’s vision materialized in the form of a serene space, complete with an airy living room that’s home to a camel sculpture they purchased in Europe, as well as an ivory-colored, self-playing piano. Glass panels neatly create a display area for the art and the instrument, and round, structural columns wrapped in custom millwork add an air of soft sturdiness to the room.

Sometimes, clients’ interests are less tangible. Such was the case for the buyer of a three-story penthouse at Marquis South Beach who wanted a sophisticated and convenient audio-visual setup. Answering the call, Gurowitz mounted a flat-screen TV on a wall in the home’s kitchen, which the owners could view from multiple vantage points in the open layout.

In addition to the audio-visual element, he says that strategically placed indirect lighting played a large role in the home’s successful design scheme. That includes modern, glass staircases with illuminated treads. “Lighting takes you to another place,” Gurowitz says. “You could have the most expensive furniture in the world, but if it’s not properly lit, nothing looks good.”

Excellent lighting, such as this apartment’s starry drop lights and sleek glass pendants, is a Steven G. signature.

He drew on that same wisdom when designing spaces at Privé, a pair of new luxury condo towers in Aventura. In addition to the complex’s public spaces, Gurowitz executed a model unit that sold furnished just 30 days after its completion.

“Everything here is all about lighting, from the drop ceilings to the four black flush pendants over the bar,” he says of the residence. “All lighting in the apartment was LED. We have some touches of deep wood, but basically it’s all in soft neutrals, creams, and whites.”

In a frequent entertaining area with water views and a spacious layout, he mounted an 80-inch TV above the sleek bar. “Today, when people have bars, they want them to be functional, and they love to entertain,” he says. “If a sporting event or the Oscars were on, this would be a great room for enjoying that.”

Another example of tone-setting lighting is a constellation-like smattering of Italian-crystal LED drop lights across the ceiling of a model unit Gurowitz designed at Turnberry Ocean Club. “They throw an amazing glow on the ceiling,” he says. “Even when the lights are off, there’s still a nice pattern and design to it.” Additional artful lighting comes in the form of five graceful, hanging pendant lights that Gurowitz describes as “almost like upside down Champagne flutes,” and which provide direct lighting over the dining table. A bronze-mirror ceiling and wall detail and wood paneling in the living room add extra warmth.

For Gurowitz, carrying a neutral palette, simple, contemporary lines, and nuanced lighting throughout his clients’ homes is part of creating a timeless aura. That idea is exemplified in a completely renovated condo at Mizner Grand in Boca Raton. It’s awash in warm, earthy shades, but soft furnishings and a custom-designed, elongated, ethylene fireplace combine to create an atmosphere that is cozy and serene rather than sterile. A TV mounted to the wall just above the fireplace is easily viewable from the entire room, including its bar, making it ideal for the home’s full-time occupants.

A variation of rich, warm textures in this Mizner Grand remodel creates an atmosphere that stands the test of time.

As an interior designer, creativity is of the utmost importance, thinking outside the box is essential, and artful details can come from unexpected places. For a client living at Paramount Fort Lauderdale who wanted to add dimension to a master suite with a partition, Gurowitz conceived of an open, zigzag design made from custom-finished wood.

That same client also collects art, so Gurowitz installed indirect lighting throughout and a floating shelf against a marble wall in the master suite. “The lighting, marble, the wall covering, millwork, flooring—we have everything where it needs to be, which gave them a background for their art,” he says of the home, adding that it was intentionally designed with a minimalist feel to let the art stand out. “Great collectors of art love minimal design. They don’t like clutter. Any great art collector just has what they need to live.”

Whether creating a show place for art, a livable space for entertaining, or simply a haven in which to unwind, for Gurowitz, the mission is the same: To make his clients feel at home. His measuring stick is a straightforward question: “Could you see yourself living there for the next 10 years? If the answer is yes, that’s the key to success,” he says.

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