Above the World

People gravitate to the main balcony in this modern Singer Island Penthouse because of the amazing ocean views. The environment is like being on a sophisticated cruise ship.

Water views enhance each and every room of this fabulous yet functional penthouse on Singer Island.

By Linda Marx

To bring a traditional ocean look onto a blank canvas, interior designer Elaine Aitcheson added blues, silvers, ivories and neutrals to a swirling wood-tone and marble-filled 12th-floor condominium penthouse on Singer Island near Palm Beach.

The Great Room was created with something for everyone from TV vignettes to computer alcoves, to standing areas with lighting for oceanfront cocktail parties under elegant chandeliers.
The Great Room was created with something for everyone from TV vignettes to computer alcoves, to standing areas with lighting for oceanfront cocktail parties under elegant chandeliers.

With panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway and four balconies to highlight both, Aitcheson, a designer with Decorators Unlimited in Palm Beach Gardens, wanted to take advantage of the sea yet make every room function as multipurpose. “I did a lot of blues to bring the outside in and also added lighting,” explains Aitcheson, who created the design for Chip Janssen of Janssen Construction, the condo’s West Palm Beach builder. “My job was to put this penthouse in tune with the beautiful water views yet make every room function to its optimum level.” The challenge with the three-month design project was to add architectural detailing to a bland space. Aitcheson knew the penthouse needed texture to add charm. So she designed moldings with mirrors and inlays throughout the hallways. She ordered wallpaper and other devices to soften the look and make the bi-level space feel more like an elegant home.

There are several balconies which surround the Penthouse so the family can select what time of day which space offers the most beautiful views.

With three bedrooms, five bathrooms, a great room, dining room, kitchen, office, media and billiard room, plus the balconies, the designer had a major project to create. But most of the work was devoted to zipping up the interiors. There wasn’t a need for major changes to the construction.

The huge great room (living room) stands out with its wave wall made of resin sculpted to look like waves on the ocean. It was created on the back of the striking wall unit to be both functional and sophisticated while expanding the water theme.

“We repeat the waves that emulate the sea in the blue rug over the polished marble floors,” says Aitcheson. “This large room is wonderful for the family, with each member having different interests.”

For example, there’s a computer area, study section, Baby Grand piano corner, and of course, the buttontufted sofas with wood legs for seating comfort while watching television or a movie on the big screen. The room is also ideal for large cocktail parties with its hushed chandelier lighting and iron coffee tables with marble tops.

While seated in any of the great room vignettes, family and friends feel like they are enjoying cocktails aboard a luxury ocean liner with the splendid water views. All portions of the room flow to the balcony where the family can also do its lion’s share of eating and drinking.

On nights they choose to stay inside, the formal dining room in aquamarine colors has custom wood furniture with chestnut finishes, a silver polished chrome chandelier with large shade and opulent crystals, and Wainscoting at the top of the doors. Aside from the floor to ceiling windows that face the sea, this well designed room looks like it stepped out of a fine northern home.

The billiard room has a full kitchen and good indoor-outdoor seating for family members of all ages. The grand columns surrounding the staircase give the feel of a respite on a secluded Greek island.

It faces south and the balcony allows for views of the Intracoastal where the sun sets each evening like a ball of fire descending into the deep blue sea. Grasscloth wallpaper adds natural texture and is woven in silver and green.


Chaise lounges and intricate latticework showcasing the whirlpool bath make this balcony a favorite place for relaxation.

“The oblong wood dining table has 10 chairs upholstered in coral reef fabric so guests will feel like they are living in nature on the beach,” says the designer. “Even though the mood is formal and subdued, no one will forget that the scene is on the water.” The door opens to an inlay marble floored, eat-in kitchen with two islands, maple wood cabinets, wet bar and granite countertops. A pair of upholstered chairs transform one island into a charming breakfast space.

However, the more formal breakfast room nearby should be utilized because it provides another great waterfront backdrop. Plus, the area can also function as a sports space. A television was installed near the hydraulic table that goes up and down for either coffee table height or higher for breakfast. The family can eat or watch TV, depending on the situation. The comfortable upholstered chairs copy the outdoor theme in blue and green stripes.

A leather sleep sofa on a chocolate brown and teal pin stripe carpet set the scene for an L-shaped desk in the office. Everything in this room is custom designed for function and understated beauty.

The three bedrooms, all with wood floors, are also located on the first level. For the master suite, Aitcheson focused on the Intracoastal view and sunset with a wood king- sized bed finished in silver leaf. Custom white linens embroidered with bubble-like circles are highlighted with punchy art above that adds another layer of drama to the otherwise peaceful scene. The iron chandelier has a silvery finish and glass shades. Neutral colored swivel chairs add a balance between the blue of sea illustrated on the balcony and the mostly white room.

For the master suite, designer Elaine Aitcheson used subdued colors so the blues of the outside.

“There is a breakfast bar in the suite for mornings or for cocktails in the evening,” she says. “With such wonderful water views, this is another opportunity to take advantage of the location.”

The second level was designed for the game rooms, giving the family two distinct sections of the house for entertainment. A woven shade chandelier offers diffuse lighting in the Billiard Room that is covered with sea grass rugs. For seating. the leather and fabric sectional has leather piping and the sea grass chair is punctuated with a copper end table.

As an extension to the room, the second floor balcony virtually brings the outside in. The design style of this sweeping balcony is both modern and classical and adds a totally new dimension to the Penthouse. There is a gazebo enclosing the whirlpool bath, a Grecian looking trellis, multiple pillars hiding the circular stairwell, and woven resin wicker chaise lounges to round out the scene and invite the family to linger. This area is a splendid place to read a book, gaze at the water, or have quick and easy meals.

“This balcony is like a temple overlooking the ocean, a feel good place that could work anywhere in the world,” says Aitcheson. “With amazing sunrises and sunsets over the waterways, this Penthouse is a wonderful place for anyone wanting to live in south Florida.”