Inside of Phyllis Taylor’s Tropical Colonial Residence

The entry offers a tantalizing peek into the penthouse.

“When I first saw the penthouse, it was a series of triangular spaces that I realized would present a challenging assignment,” Phyllis says. “It had large air-conditioning soffits, and you couldn’t even see the views.” William Taylor assessed the 16th-story layout and knew immediately what needed to be done. “There was no question about it—the walls had to go,” he says of the project that took 18 months from start to finish.

Once the obstructive walls came down, the kitchen, living, and dining areas melded seamlessly into each other as an airy free-flowing space perfect for entertaining. William then created a cleverly molded semicircular partition crafted of curved maple with 8- x 8-inch openings to subtly embrace and define the dining area. “I felt the space needed a focal point or vortex so your eye could filter the view before you got to it,” the architect says.

Phyllis was inspired to design the screen’s unusual basket-weave motif to honor the owner’s deep-seated involvement with women all over the world. “We wanted to underscore the basic importance of women’s hands from the very beginning of time,” she says. “That included the baskets, rugs, cloths, and vessels woven by so many women to carry basic needs and nourishment.” She adds that the chosen material had to be strong but flexible enough to be manipulated. It was executed by Fermin Ferro of FF Furniture, Inc., a talented and exceedingly patient local woodworker. “As a result,” she says, “the cozy area seems to hold you like a basket.”

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