Home Sweet Paradise

by DONNA LEWIS Mar 2014 Also on Digital Edition

Our year-round coastal climate allows us the chance to “live” outdoors, and we take our outdoor living seriously.

While the rest of the country was experiencing the “polar vortex 2014,” back-to-back winter storms, and snow and ice in areas that haven’t seen white in more than two decades, South Floridians were basking in tropical temperatures in the low 80s (after a little pesky rainfall) and posting pictures on Facebook that were the envy (and bane) of our Northern friends. (Some even resorted to name calling – a little dramatic, if you ask me.) Our beaches were packed, backyard barbecues were sizzling, and pool heaters were working to keep up with the warm air temps. There’s a reason people flock to South Florida and claim their little slice of paradise, and it’s this gorgeous weather that allows us to enjoy a quality of life that many others only enjoy a few months out of the year. (OK, so maybe the name calling was warranted.)

Our year-round coastal climate allows us the chance to “live” outdoors, and we take our outdoor living seriously. That is why we wanted to feature backyard retreats in this annual Home Issue, as they are not only an extension of our houses, but an extension of our lifestyles.

In “Outdoor Oasis,” we feature eight area backyards that convey a resort-like getaway that would make anyone want to vacation at home. South Florida’s outdoor amenities are plentiful – loggias that seamlessly expand the indoor living spaces, outdoor kitchens that are more impressive than some indoor kitchens, elaborate waterfalls, mesmerizing fire pits, cabanas, pergolas and infinity pools, all flanked by well-staged and manicured landscaping.

In my own little slice of paradise, my backyard retreat consists of a 20-foot-by-25-foot tiki hut, where we spend a lot of time entertaining, watching sports, reading, relaxing and watching the kids swim. We even host our annual holiday party out there in December (without the need for outdoor heaters!).

One home that isn’t lacking in amenities is the Cipriannis’ 12,000-square-foot Old Palm abode, a resort-style home specifically built with the goal of entertaining, indoors and out. Complete with 2,000 square feet of airconditioned loggia, hibachi grill and professional pizza oven, it is living space well utilized. When I asked Vanessa Ciprianni if they entertained often, she said they had 100 people coming over for the Super Bowl – and this house can accommodate them! Tastefully done, it’s “Built to Perfection,” but more than that, it’s warm, welcoming and truly inspiring.

While the Cipriannis did have some industry knowledge and expertise, they relied on area experts to execute their vision. In “Home School,” we sourced some of the area’s top interior design experts to give us insider tips, splurge-worthy items and their favorite places to shop so that do-it-yourselfers can create a beautiful living space, as well. Because a home isn’t just where we hang our hats, it’s where we hang our hearts. Enjoy this issue, enjoy the weather and enjoy South Florida living.