North Bay Road Residence 2009
Real estate developer extraordinaire Todd Glaser knows Miami Beach. Growing up in South Florida, Glaser worked at Bal Harbour’s Regency hotel, catering to some of the city’s most exciting homes. It was at these exclusive events that Glaser found himself exposed to the designs of Miami Beach’s best and privy to the finest homes of that time. Now, Glaser recalls the distinct looks of that innovative era, using what he saw as a young waiter as inspiration for some of his most spectacular designs of today.
Glaser has developed and renovated many prominent Miami homes, including landmark buildings such as the Carl Fisher Estate on North Bay Road, as well as famed wrestler Hulk Hogan’s mansion, seen on the television show “Hogan Knows Best.” His latest venture — 88 La Gorce Circle —features today’s contemporary style with the best of Miami’s past. Consulting with architect Carlos Touzet and designer Sharron Lewis, the result is a turnkey residence with the conception, demolition of the existing structure, construction and design spanning only 10 months.
With a layout in the style of the design of the Carl Fisher Estate, where the entrance faces the side of the house, the home is nearly identical except for the pool, which runs parallel instead of lateral. The home’s streamlined style, with an exterior that literally seems to float on air, features clean, sleek lines, minimal furnishings, fine materials and cantilevered architectural elements. High ceilings and open spaces add to its expanse of approximately 20,000 square feet, which comprises nine bedrooms, including two in the staff quarters and one in the separate guest house/cabana that sits at the edge of the pool.
Upon entry, a spiral concrete staircase greets guests complete with a unique saltwater fishpond that was inspired by a wishing well at the bottom of a stairway of the Morris Lapidus-designed Americana hotel, which Glaser first saw at a young age. Limestone flooring flows throughout the 125-foot-long great room, which includes both living and dining areas, where floor-to-ceiling glass forms an expansive wall that overlooks panoramic views of Biscayne Bay. “The room is large but with a sense of intimacy,” says Lewis, who has worked with Glaser before on multiple projects, including Cher’s previous home on La Gorce Circle. “Todd and Touzet designed the home with the intention of having an ultra-modern house with an Upper West Side feel.”
Comfortable yet stylish furnishings fill the living area, where accent pillows in hand-embroidered red floral and solid red linen add a pop of color to the room’s mostly white palette. Two marble-based lamps with pleated shades provide soft lighting while a trio of mirrors line one wall and reflect the views. Rich textures of faux-white crocodile and ostrich leather mesh with modern versions of beach house favorites including a chocolate-brown sisal area rug. “The fabrics we used are unique, playful and fun,” Glaser says.
The nearby dining area, which is separated by a chocolate-brown marble wall, features a dining table that Glaser built himself out of South American hardwood. White faux-leather chairs surround the table, accented by a single black wingback chair. Steps away is the chef’s kitchen, which Glaser designed along with Lewis, incorporating professional restaurant-style stations. The dark cabinetry with chrome hardware is a modern version of an Old New York feel while countertops in deep blue quartz with specks of mother-of-pearl shells add an oceanic element.
Perched like a pedestal, a 40 x 90 cabana and guest house stands as the focal point of the home’s rear exterior and is reminiscent of the Bacardi Building off Biscayne Boulevard. An 80-foot-long lap pool runs the width of the home with a private beach off to one side. The beach was inspired by the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where Glaser and wife Kim go each year as a retreat from their four children — Levi, Chloe, Stone and Coral. From top to bottom, no area was spared, including the spacious rooftop terrace with a striking skylight structure in a unique contour shape.
As a child, Glaser just happened to be exposed to the innovative homes of Miami Beach’s finest, a look that he now intermingles into his exciting designs to produce truly one-of-a-kind projects. “When I was 5 years old, I told my babysitter that I would build her a house,” Glaser says. “I guess I always knew that this is where I would want to be.”