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A Touch of France in Florida

Located just fifteen miles West of Fort Lauderdale, the yachting capital of the Americas, lies a quaint and secretive equestrian paradise unbeknownst to most: the Town of Southwest Ranches.

For the past decade this countryside community has been attracting an A-list of entrepreneurs, CEO’s, professional athletes and industry tycoons in search of privacy, tranquility and acreage, all still within range of Miami, Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach. With sprawling estate projects ranging all the way to $40MM+, the Ranches is already being touted as the “Hamptons” of Southeast Florida. Among the most notable new estate mansions in the area is the exquisite French provincial styled Chateau Etoile. 

Designed by renowned architect Jeffrey Dungan AIA, this expansive estate is able to seamlessly blend within the rural ranch surroundings, while retaining the true essence and elegance of the style. For the interiors, the owners integrated the vision and expertise of Miami based Fein Zalkin Interiors, with a design proposition with noble and sophisticated materials, playing homage to the style and grandness of its volumes, yet imparting the warmth and functionality for an idyllic primary residence. For the flawless execution, the owners brought to the team the leading luxury estate builder in the region, Landmark Custom Homes, which with their vast expertise at this level of sophistication was able to eloquently translate the vision of these designers to the highest level of perfection, bar none. 

Upon entering this palatial 22,100 square feet (2,100 square meters) home you get a true feeling of being transported to a picture perfect French campagne provinciale. With a total of 18 rooms, 7 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms this chateau is indeed a palace, but with an elegant and refined feel and flow of a provincial family cottage. The carefully blended and presented color palette of soft gray natural stone veneers and lime washed cypress wood ceilings is a theme that permeates and repeats throughout the program, providing an atmosphere of serene sophistication. The grand foyer showcases and blends the exterior views through expansive window wall and 24 foot (8 meters) ceiling heights. A wall of custom antiqued mirror tiles reflects the curved staircase with bull nose stone treads and featuring a Julius Blum hand forged railing. Imported Grey Barr French limestone flows throughout the home transitioning to French Oak Cloistered planking inset with various herringbone and chevron inlays. 

The resort-sized patio and terraces have been complemented with a streamlined pool curved to follow the 2 acre lake’s headwall, and is surrounded by an elegant and formal landscaping theme that complements the resort feel. The summer kitchen has all of the features any professional chef could want to create a culinary feast, including a 56-inch BBQ grill, a wood burning pizza oven, and teppanyaki grill. 

Undoubtedly, the Town of Southwest Ranches is poised to become, and fast becoming the most desirable address for the most sophisticated jet-setters and equestrian elite to establish their pied-à-terre in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami region. 

This estate represents but a glance on the repertoire of current and delivered projects in the area by Landmark Custom Homes, with multiple other ongoing projects at this level. 

Sophisticated local and international buyers looking for the privacy of acreage estate opportunities, which are rare and becoming scarce in such a desirable region, come to Southwest Ranches and Landmark Custom Homes to bring their dream estate to reality. 

Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida

Designers Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin of Fein Zalkin Interiors are powerhouses when it comes to creating luxury spaces for families. With a passion for beauty and through a savvy use of color, form, texture, and furnishing, the visionaries completed an impressive new project in Southwest Ranches. Featuring a bold Mediterranean exterior, the eight-bedroom estate comprises 21,000 square feet, and in the interior, the designers seamlessly balanced the art of comfort and design. 

The homeowners are an elegant young couple with two children, and they desired a sanctuary that offers plenty of room to entertain. In order to create a sophisticated yet engaging space for the children to play, the design team at Fein Zalkin Interiors created a game room draped in faux brick wallpaper from The Romo Group (theromogroup.com) and selected playful wood letter coffee tables. “We specialize in designing homes for families, and spaces need to be liveable,” says Fein. “We found during the pandemic that building homes with the type of amenities that this property has to offer has become very important.”

When plenty of spaces throughout the home for the children to enjoy, the designers wanted to make sure the parents' bedroom provided respite of serenity. “When designing bedrooms, we try to keep it as light and airy as possible, as we feel the primary bedroom is the heart of the home,” says Fein. “And it must be a tranquil escape.” Using soft neutrals and plenty of texture, the designers created a custom panel on the back wall, which also enhances the acoustics of the double-height ceiling.

Outside, there's a tennis court, two Ethimo (ethimo.com) love seat swings and lush landscaping. Beyond the tennis court, the design duo transformed an outdoor space into a kitchen. Located by the guest house, the state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen features a pizza over and hibachi grill as well as an Opustone (opustone.com) Blue Agate stone waterfall countertop. Topped off with a beautiful long Gloster (gloster.com) dining table flanked by Kettal (kettal.com) dining chairs, the outdoor space showcases opulence without compromising functionality. 

“We always feel grateful and lucky to be hired by clients like these,  who appreciate that we created a space where they will make long-lasting family memories,” says Fein. “When it comes to design, our goals are beauty and satisfaction for our homeowners.”

The exclusive rural enclave of Southwest Ranches has a unique charm that reflects quintessential country elegance mixed with modern sensibilities. The result? An eclectic community characterized by individual flavor - including this 22,100 total square foot manse. “Designed by Jeffrey Dungan Architects, the home's architectural style is based on a rustic French Country theme with many authentic products imported from France,” builder Rick Bell says.

Although it boasts the styling of a rural estate in France, the home is approachable and even comfortable - perfectly suited to accommodate a lively South Florida family of six that often entertain friends and extended family. 

A series of large windows punctuates the front exterior, which was crafted with Sheridan ledgestone that mimics the warm grey and tan tones of aged limestone. The surface was hand rubbed with a limewash slurry to further soften the look. “Approaching the front door of the house, the entry is impactful,” project manager Dick Russell says. “The stone, ornamentation, and limewashed pecky cypress ceiling foreshadow a rustic elegance that repeats throughout the home.”

Step through the entry, and you're welcomed by a custom-crafted, arched double door made from rift-cut oak in a soft gray finish. Awash in neutral tones, the interior scheme by design duo Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin is punctuated by grey tones that give the space context. “This was a challenge for us because the space was so open and grand," Zalkin says. “We started with the mirrored wall which I will give Josh the credit on. It gave the illusion of making the room larger and the reflection gave the feeling of a double stairway - a wish of the client that did the space did not allow.”

Carefully curated design elements create symmetry in the living room. Signature textures and commanding furnishings characterize the space, complete with an adjacent bar area. “The inspiration for the living room started with Ironware's chandeliers from Jerry Pair,” Zalkin says. “The finish is this really warm pewter tone that we thought paired nicely with the limestone.”

Impressive in size and grounded in French Oak Cloistered planking, the dining room houses a pair of tables that push together to seat a party of 12 or separate into more intimate groups. “Instead of one long table, we decided to change it up and do two tables to break up the space,” Zalkin says.

In a rare departure from the neutral palette, bold pops of color appear in a game area and the study. “We thought the niche would be a great place for a game table for the family," Zalkin says. An art piece was curated by Patty Breakstone to add color and playfulness to this nook, while a vibrant green finish was commissioned to color the custom millwork in the study.

Architectural detailing plays a key role in defining the casual social spaces inside and out. The loggia and outdoor areas are designed as extensions of the interior spaces. The summer kitchen has all of the features needed to create a culinary feast - including a 56-inch BBQ grill, a wood burning pizza oven, and teppanyaki grill. Surrounded by 6,000 square feet of irrigated artificial turf, a simple pool curves to follow the lake's headwall. “Functional and formal are hard to combine but it was a must for these clients,” Zalkin says. Designed with purpose, style and elegance…faith accompli!

​The perfect pair- best friends since age 14, these two joined forces six years ago to launch their own successful interior design firm specializing in elegant custom residences and luxury yachts. Here, they designed a holiday table for our inspiration, and provided tips on how to DIY to boot.

What inspired this holiday decor concept that you created for our shoot? We were inspired by thinking of a pretty jewel-tone color that would work well for the space we were decorating, as well as mixing metals to give us that holiday allure.

What is the most important thing to remember when entertaining for the holidays when it comes to setting a perfect table? You always want to add something extra special that stands out from your regular dinner party tables, like adding greenery in your floral arrangement that is relatable to the season. Having it be fragrant so that you really experience the season, such as our table here, where we used eucalyptus leaves, or you can use rosemary or cinnamon sticks as a napkin accessories by sticking them through the napkin ring.

What are your recommendations for colors, materials, etc., for this time of year? Always incorporate greens and metallics. You then want to decide on your main color. We like to include color that surround the interior space so that your table relates well to the home. This color can be your pop in your floral arrangement or your napkin or napkin rings.

What special touches make a table or party special that one might not think to include? Place cards! You always want your guests to feel comfortable when attending a dinner party. Knowing that your host took the time to carefully plan a seating arrangement can really make your guests feel more welcome.

What would you advise against with regard to creating a beautiful holiday table? Never create a tall floral arrangement so that it is in the way of conversation.

City & Shore

​Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin say clients in their 30's and 40's are requesting larger tables with more seating because they are entertaining more and taking over the dinner parties their parents used to host. 

"We are staying away from glass tops and using warm woods," Fein says. "They want stain-resistant fabric and we often use pretreated indoor-outdoor fabrics. We are known for timeless design with a longevity of six to 10 years. They can reuse a quality table and just get new dining chairs or change the fabric." 

A couple in their 50's, who collect art from their world travels requested a table for their Aventura home that looked more distinctive because it could be seen as guests passed the foyer into the Great Room. The result: a high-end custom table with a dove-gray top and curved pedestal legs. The chairs, which were dark wood with gold leaf, were repurposed in a gray lacquer and reupholstered in a tan and cream zebra fabric. 

"Ten years ago we were seeing a lot of heavy Mediterranean furniture and heavy draping," he says. "Now people are asking for a simpler design that is a little more 'New York' in sophistication." 

The couple, who own several sets of dishes, also required a large sideboard with marble top for storage that could also be used for a buffet dinner. Chinese opera hats flank an artwork from India they found in their travels.

Another client asked for a warm but eclectic dining area for her downtown Boca condo. She wanted comfortable chairs so guests could enjoy her catered dinners. The curve on the dining table gives off a contemporary vibe without being too modern. A textured rug grounds the dining area.

"Another building was put up front of hers so we had to work with the light," Fein says "She wanted something contemporary that gave off a lot of light because at night it looked like a black hole through the window. It is an updated version of track lighting." 

South Florida Luxury Guide

Trending Design

​Miamians Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin have known each other since they were 14 years old. They started working together in 2011, when they joined creative forces to launchFEIN ZALKIN INTERIORS, a design firm specializing in modern, elegant custom residences and luxury yachts. Fein’s marketing background includes stints with Architectural Digest andDesign Center of the Americas (DCOTA), where he worked with leading home and design brands. Zalkin is a former image consultant and fashion stylist, a position that helped herdevelop a keen eye for layering and fabrics. “We pretty much see eye to eye, but we rarely make a design decision without the other,” she says. “We see things from different angles, sowe like to double-check. Sometimes I like to take risks, and Josh will either agree with me or think I’m crazy!”What sets Fein Zalkin Interiors apart from other design firms?We are very hands-on with clients and listen to their needs. We don’t like to say we design in a specific style because we feel we can do anything from the most modern to the mosttraditional- and everything in between.

How does your previous work experience influence your design aesthetic?

Josh has tons of product knowledge and is always thinking of the best pieces to use for our clients. I [Jenny] love playing with fabrics and textures, just as I would in fashion.

What design trends are you most excited about?

Cement tiles and the color pink. We haven’t had a client who is willing to use these trends, but we are eager to create something special.

Go-to paint colors:

Collingwood and Balboad Mist from Benjamin Moore. We are moving away from gray walls and are taking a more “taupe-y” approach.

Favorite home decor stores:

We love Judith Norman, as it has a wide variety of brands; Inside Out for outdoor furniture; Mantra Furniture, which is new, for classic pieces, as well as mixing unique items; and RomoFabrics and Ammon Hickson for fabric.

Favorite architectural gem in South Florida:

While we appreciate all the new architecture being built in South Florida, such as the Porsche Design Tower and Regalia in Sunny Isles, we still love that art deco vibe. It is a piece of history that Miami will never forget.

What’s next for Fein Zalkin Interiors?

We are growing rapidly as a company and as a brand. In addition to high-end residential projects, we are slowly making the move into commercial projects. Our goal is to continue leaving a trace of Fein Zalkin Interiors wherever we go and to build new relationships.

Favorite Designers & Decorators

​Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin of Fein Zalkin Interiors have already made a solid name for themselves, thanks to their elegant approach to single-family homes in Miami, Aventura and beyond. Their attention to details and layering is always on point.

Styled Magazine

Table Trinkets

​As the centerpiece of every living room, the coffee table is the perfect place to showcase your character by displaying a collection of whimsical knickknacks. “A well-curated coffee table is essential in a well-designed home, because it tells a story about the person living in it,” explains Jenny Zalkin, one of the principals at Miami-based Fein Zalkin Interiors (feinzalkininteriors.com). In addition to the tried and tested trifecta of books, flowers and trays, you can spice up an assemblage with distinctive treasures. “A jewelry box filled with costume pieces from around the world isn’t just a unique display,” adds Zalkin’s partner, Josh Fein. “It makes for a great conversation starter.”

Houzz

10 desks that do the job

Antique. Interior designer Jenny Zalkin refurbished this antique desk found by her client at an antiques warehouse in Connecticut. The shape lends itself to the balcony’s unusual curve and the ceiling’s angles. “We refinished it in lacquer and topped it with Edelman leather with a metallic bone finish for a more refined appearance,” Zalkin says.

Miami Magazine

It Takes Two

Fein’s experience in marketing and sales of luxury lifestyle and design industries stem from previous positions with cutting edge design brands Andrew Martin and Tui Lifestyle, as well as with luxury lifestyle plublication, Florida International Magazine and Architectural Digest. Fein offers a keen understanding of both the design industry and consumer audience. Additionally he has an interior design background specializing in yachts and high-end residential projects. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a bachelors degree in Art History, Fein has spent the last four years as director of marketing for DCOTA. (Design Center of The Americas)

Miami Magazine

Women of Style

Born and bred Miamian Jenny Zalkin has often been told she doesn’t dress like a native. That’s not an accident. The 20-year-old interior designer embraces a sophisticated yet thoroughly modern approach to fashion that eludes many of her contemporaries. “I stay polished with clean lines, but I also like to play with color combinations,” she says. “like fuchsia and rust, or- dare I say navy and black, which I think is uberchic.” Her wardrobe stables: a Chanel jacket (“I believe every woman should own one”), Bottega Veneta anything (“That leather alone is worth it”) and monogrammed Stubbs & Wootton slippers (“Because…why not?”). Zalkin credits her late mother with influencing her sense of style. “She taught me how to put things together the right way,” she says. “And she was a big shopper. I get that from her, too.” To sate her cravings, regular weekly treks to Bal Harbour Shops (Saks is a favorite) are a must, but Zalkin is an equal opportunity fashionista when it comes to style and has been known to rock J.Crew and Helmut Lang together with enviable aplomb. “I love mixing pieces and hate head-to-toe, one-note look,” she adds. “Fashion is all about the search, the challenge. That’s what makes the whole thing fun.”

Miami Magazine

Design Dexterity

As director of marketing for DCOTA, Josh Fein is bombarded by aesthetic inspiration on a daily basis. With its blue-chip inventories of home appointments and the slew of dressed to the nines customers and designers that pass through the center on any given day, there’s no getting away from style. “When you’re dealing with people whose business is design, you have to walk the walk,” says Fein, who describes his sartorial approach as “eternally classic with a hint of Rat Pack.” To ensure he always hits the mark, he sticks to the cardinal rules his grandfather taught him: Great watch (Rolex, usually), impeccable shoes (Gucci and Tod’s mostly) and manicured hands. As for the rest? Just read on.