Joe Pubillones

The designer uses splashes of color to brighten up the white and beige living room. “Joe is brilliant in his use of special touches, “ says Schneider, who loves her custom Mid-Century Modern chair by New Design Furniture.

Erudite Designer Adds Stunning Architecture to a Blank Canvas

By Linda Marx   |    Photography By Daniel Newcomb

When Palm Beach interior design Joseph Pubillones first entered the 12th floor Boca Raton condo of owner Rhoda Schneider last June, he was blown away at its resemblance to an ocean liner.

The 2500-square-foot, three bedroom, 2 1/2 bath apartment had lofty eight foot ceilings and a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Boca and the Boca Raton Resort & Club. It was a basic horizontal unit that the designer believed had great potential once he removed the dated shag carpet and made some textural additions.


“The height and proportions of the windows reminded me of a ship,” explains Pubillones, who studied architecture in the U.S. and Europe, and creates interiors that are elegant, structural and steeped in timeless design. “But it lacked architectural character and was more of a generic box.”

When the designer suggested he use paneling to add the needed character and texture, Schneider looked at him cross-eyed, not sure what he meant and afraid it would stray from her original idea.

The stunning waterfront living room designed be Joseph Pubillones for Rhoda Schneider in Boca Raton has a custom sofa upholstered by Lee Jofa from New Design Furniture, teardrop lamp by Decorative Crafts, Softsisal area rug by Blackstone Carpet and iconic Louise Nevelson panels by B&N Industries. The dining room table was created by Barbara Barry with JPI custom Regency chairs, fabric by Kravet. Barstool fabric is by Maharam below a cool glass collection matching the deep blue of the sea.

“Joseph is extremely talented but I told him I wanted a comfortable, casual, contemporary, fun apartment that is also classic,” says Schneider, who has family of all ages visiting regularly. “But I definitely trusted him and let him move forward.”

He began to work his magic–which took less than four months–with his brilliant choice of using well designed Louise Nevelson panels. By combining a contemporary look with artistic and classic lines, the paneling added a level of layering and luxury that looked totally natural.

He started the paneling in the condo’s colorful, art filled entry way which wrapped into the kitchen.

“It was just a blank wall,” he explains of the space. “I focused on finding interesting paneling because otherwise I would have had to use a lot of art to liven it up. The paneling gave the apartment instant architecture. It became the spirit of the space.”

The paneling indeed made the condo look special, allowing for a point of view and departure from utter blankness. It became the base, offering a form of artistic expression which gave the light and airy apartment a classic finish.

“The rest of the apartment is a contemporary gem of clean lines,” says Pubillones.

For example, the Schneiders, who are snowbirds, did not need the third bedroom. So they asked Pubillones to help them create an office or den with the allotted space. So he installed glass pocket doors on the room which open to the large and modern living room.

He selected vivid outdoor colors like orange and blue, splashy modern art and Deco desk chairs to create vibrance and excitement in the white and beige room which now offers a work and entertainment area for the family and unexpected guests.

“Joe’s use of special touches like the doors really set him apart,” Schneider adds.

For the living room and its expansive ocean views, Pubillones kept things comfortable, clean and low maintenance, covering the reworked wood floors with a functional Softsisal area rug by Blackstone Carpet.

To mesh with the arty Nevelson paneling, the designer found stunning contemporary paintings that are also geometric. The entire room now engages the eye with backdrops in different shapes of white.

“We used subtle contrasts between and among the custom pieces, like the Mid-Century Modern chair, custom sofa by New Design Furniture and Randolph Zebrawood coffee table by Motif Design,” he says. “We stuck to clean lines and patterns to provoke interest yet not overwhelm.”

The colorful den is made special with the modern One Night Stand sleeper sofa from Blu Dot Furniture atop a wool Gabbeh Rug by Modern Rugs in Canada. Artwork is by Pamela Susan Ross. Tobacco Raffia wall coverings are Hawaiian Hemp from Phillip Jeffries. Desk in Mozambique Veneers is by Motif Design in Mt, Vernon, NY.

Dominated by the deep blue of the sea expressed from the large windows, the dining room features a Wenge Wood rectangle table by Barbara Barry with JPI custom  Regency dining chairs upholstered in cut velvet fabric by Kravet.

Once again, the shape of the fabric complements the Nevelson panels. The rectangular alabaster chandelier made in Spain shines on the tabletop’s Mercury Gazing Balls and bamboo platter which reflect the light.

Nearby, the powder room is a stunner with pale blue walls finished by artist Pamela Ross. The espresso floating vanity cabinet with white ice quartz top and glass bowl sink by Kohler is clean and modern beneath a mirror that catches a view of the Nevelson panels. Ceiling lights add a touch of glamour and act as a night glow when it becomes dark or overcast.

The master bedroom has another splendid view of the sea and emulates a suite in an ocean liner. The king-sized linen upholstered bed and headboard from JPI Collection is across from a vintage wingback chair and ottoman. The New Zealand wool carpet comes from Godfrey Hirst adding a hushed silence to the room.

The master bedroom is designed to take advantage of the panoramic ocean views. King-sized linen upholstered bed and headboard is from JPI Collection. Chartreuse side lamps and Ghost Floor Lamp are from Arteriors. Dresser by Barbara Barry and vintage wingback from JPI Collection. The carpet is New Zealand Wool from Godfrey Hirst.

“The walls are upholstered in linen wallpaper which match the chair,” says the designer. “The chartreuse lamps from Arteriors add color and match a pillow on the chair to bring the outdoor tones inside. The cerused oak nightstand was custom made.”

The guest room borrows the orange colors from the den on its raffia walls. Twin beds with orange linen skirts and copper headboards in leather make this room sing with sunshine and youth.  A mirrored nightstand from Arteriors divides the beds and features a cool Jetsons wall lamp with raffia shade.

“I thought these touches would be contemporary and fun for varying ages of family guests,” says Pubillones.

He added a piece from the Schneider’s Merano bird collection which takes the fun idea a step further. Across from the beds is another Mid-Century chair by New Design Furniture.

The end result is softly beautiful and relaxing while also cool and contemporary.

“This was an easy-to-renovate project with a great crew,” says Pubillones. “And the owner did not try to second guess me which was also a plus. At the end she kissed me, saying I gave her everything she wanted!”

Agrees Schneider: “I love what Joe has done for the apartment. I wanted comfortable, casual and contemporary interiors, and I got them in every room. I especially love the  Nevelson panels. They give the amazing view some real competition. The overall look is phenomenal.”