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Diagram This

Photos by John A. Peralta

John A. Peralta began taking things apart long before he was compelled to truly pursue art. “I was always breaking things open to see what was inside. I’ve had such wonder for the tiny components that make something work,” he says.

Now a self-taught artist based in Austin, Texas, Peralta has a unique taste for both science and how things work as well as art. While working as a business consultant, he began painting as a way to tap into and satiate his creative side. The exploded diagram, which has been an essential engineering tool, melds Peralta’s contrasting interests and inspires his work.

An exploded diagram of a bike on the back of a magazine was Peralta’s original inspiration, but since then, his work has begun to evolve over the years. “It’s more about a concept that imagines that these machines we use — that we often take for granted and use every day — they hold our memories,” according to the artist. “And sometimes in literal ways. The typewriter has an imprint of every letter, every document permanently imprinted on it. It could never be deciphered today, but nevertheless it’s in there.”

Peralta’s art reveals the inner workings of a time in history or a memory. The contrast between machinery and emotion creates enchanting displays and elicits a feeling when you see them. The idea of machinery holding memories extends to all of our objects, according to Peralta. “It’s why we become nostalgic years after for antiques or whatever it might be. We attach emotion to these things and they hold our memories and it’s sort of two-way relationships with the objects in our life.”

Peralta describes a large pile of items in his studio that he might one day choose to take apart, but there is a method to deciding which items he will display. “I usually choose something that would be considered iconic. Something highly recognizable, and familiar, but most of the time, it’s also something that is no longer in use,” he says. Often, he chooses items that people may have seen in their grandparents house or in an antique store. “Those items have a lot of emotion and nostalgia connected to them. I’m also looking for things that the designers and architects put a lot of time and careful thought into.”

“For some reason, it has a strong appeal. I’m not entirely sure why,” Peralta says about the exploded diagram concept, explaining that most people see them in their everyday lives without realizing, but their eyes still light up when they see it displayed like this. “Because it’s not like you can’t see the string. At first, I tried to hide it. I tried all different things to try and hide the suspension. But I began to realize that I actually shouldn’t hide it. The string really contributes to the piece.”

In the Future

Working mainly on commissioned pieces these days, Peralta is still working on a few ideas that continue to push the boundaries of the exploded diagram concept. When asked what his dream projects are, he says, “There’s actually two. I’ve been wanting to do — and I haven’t really gotten anyone to pull the trigger yet — and that’s a grand piano. I think it would be very impressive. I imagine it in a large hotel with a high ceiling or something like that. And the other one is a fighter jet, which would obviously be a very big piece. It would need a superstructure to support it. But I have some really cool ideas of how it would look.”

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Make Them Think

Discovering a passion that you can enjoy pursuing through all phases of life yet also makes for a spectacular 50-year career is like striking gold. This is exactly how life has played out thus far for Sante Fe abstract expressionist Brian McPartlon. McPartlon’s finely honed artistic approach aims to utilize layers of various shapes and rich colors to showcase depth of field and capture the attention of viewers.

McPartlon describes his personal style as “exploratory,” and he favors using acrylic on canvas to create his breathtaking works of art. “I start with no objective. I start with color, and when color meets color, it makes a shape. I take the shape, I refine it. It develops on its own and I follow it.”

Color plays an integral role in all of his creations, and he uses a lot of water — sometimes gallons — on his larger pieces as a blending tool. “They’re gestural and abstract, and then they dry and I go back and find forms that are suggestive of ideas. When I’m trying to direct it and it takes me down a path that I didn’t expect, that’s when I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.”

McPartlon utilizes various colors and textures in this acrylic on canvas painting titled “Starling.”

Over the span of his artistic journey, McPartlon acknowledges that his personal art style has grown and changed right along with him. “You keep doing something over and over again and you get better at it. [Also,] the environment you’re in changes the way you look at things.”

A single painting could take anywhere from 10 minutes to a whopping 40 years to complete, because, according to McPartlon, nothing is so sacred that it can’t be improved upon. He is fully disposed to diving back into a painting he created decades ago and changing things up. “I mean, there are some things from high school that I’ll probably leave — I’m 75 years old. That’s a lot of work.” he explains.

McPartlon discovered his zeal for art when he was just a teenager. “When I was 16 in high school, I wasn’t very good at many things. I got straight As in history, and Ds in everything else,” says McPartlon. “I took an art class. I did a drawing and the teacher took notice of it, and the class took notice of it. It made me want to do more. Then, I studied really hard, drew with charcoal and studied any art books that I could get. I was encouraged — I had supportive parents, supportive teachers.”

“Travis” acrylic on canvas

When he was 17, McPartlon entered a local art show and was recognized as “Best in Show.” His work was featured in a gallery amongst established adult artists. “I didn’t even know what an opening was, I had no idea what I was doing.”

McPartlon went on to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he studied drawing, painting and sculpture. “I learned classically — how to draw and paint, realism, portraits, still lifes, and I was really turned on by abstract work. I had the opportunity to, while I was in New York, go to museums quite a bit. That’s where I really decided that I wanted to be an abstract painter.

“Cosmos” acrylic on canvas

“That changed my life forever. I decided that I was going to be an artist and that was that. Nothing else.” McPartlon then moved to California to attend the San Francisco Art Institute to further his art education, where he continued to fine tune and develop his personal art style. In 1973, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and began his art career.

Maintaining a sense of passion toward any long-term career or hobby requires a constant flow of inspiration. Having been an artist for decades, finding inspiration in everyday life is what has kept McPartlon going. He finds this through studying the work of other artists, visiting museums and galleries, observing his environment, and traveling.

“Marge Cosmos” acrylic on canvas

“I’ll give you the best inspiration I have,” says McPartlon. “This is kind of my mantra, ‘inspiration is perspiration.’” You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to start working. The satisfaction comes from completion. You’ve got to start with one step. It sounds really simple, but it’s so true. If you are waiting for inspiration, it’s never going to come. The inspiration comes from trying.”

McPartlon believes that art can lift your spirits in ways nothing else can. “My type of work provides a window of perception unlike the view you may see out a window,” he says. “Mine’s a different view; it’s a view of your intraself. If you have a high-end home full of beautiful views, my work can be looked at as a window into oneself or into one’s personality.”

“Fire Cosmos” acrylic on canvas

McPartlon stresses the importance of the viewer construing their own meaning of a work of art, rather than figuring out the artist’s interpretation. “Find something in it that you relate to. Everyone that views the work has a different insight, a different reaction,” he explains, noting that good abstract work should provoke thought.

As for the future, McPartlon emphasizes that he is still working to create his masterpiece. “I think that that’s the goal of every artist.”

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Coming Attractions

Some of the most dramatic structures currently under construction — multibillion-dollar projects dedicated to transportation, entertainment and sustainability — will reshape the skylines of American cities while enhancing our quality of life. A selection of transformative projects, some of which have been decades in the planning process, are presented here.

Complex Creations

Christian Brockmann, Ph.D., a professor of construction engineering at the University of Utah, is a specialist in megaprojects and author of Advanced Construction Project Management: The Complexity of Megaprojects. The book cites endeavors from the Pyramids of Giza and Machu Pichu to the Sydney Opera House as megaprojects sharing similar challenges despite being erected in vastly different eras. Some attempt to define modern megaprojects strictly by cost (e.g., $1 billion-plus), but Brockmann insists they be defined by complexity, novelty and use of specific resources, the latter referring to equipment designed specifically for a project.

“The extreme complexity of these projects stretches our cognitive abilities, skills and experience, and when you push the limits of what you can do, you have to accept the possibility of failure,” he explains.

Notes from the Symphony

Professor Brockmann reports that politics regularly interferes with engineering and that the media often shapes public opinion of a project, especially when initial projections of benefit, budget or delivery date are overly ambitious. As an example, he offers Elbphilharmonie, the striking symphony hall in Hamburg, Germany, which experienced a cost overrun of approximately $700 million. “The press was very critical of the project, as it was far beyond budget and time, but when it finally opened the press and public became very positive,” says Brockmann, who notes the venue’s annual economic impact to the city of Hamburg has been quite beneficial.

Emphasizing the value of persistence and improvisation, the megaproject expert states, “Every situation is different and you have to develop a new approach for each one.”

Silver Bullets

Around the world, high-speed rail megaprojects are reimagining a mode of transportation that was viewed as obsolete not terribly long ago. One of the reasons palatial train stations have been repurposed as museums, hotels or shopping malls is that passengers abandoned trains when air travel emerged. But with bullet trains whisking passengers at more than 200 miles per hour, rail service is experiencing a renaissance.

In Asia and Europe, where governments made big bets on high-speed rail decades ago, this form of intercity transportation is ubiquitous. America finally gets into the game with projects moving forward in Florida, Texas and California. The Golden State’s high-speed rail project is so overbudget and behind schedule that many voters who initially favored it have lost interest. But when completed, the $100 billion project will zip passengers at speeds that will be competitive with air travelwhile leaving a negligible carbon footprint.

Theater in the Round

Nearing completion on the Las Vegas Strip is the MSG Sphere, an ambitious 17,500-seat theater developed by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation. When it opens for concertgoers in late 2023, the inaugural act in the largest spherical structure in the world will be U2. The projected price tag of the MSG Sphere, whose construction was disrupted by the pandemic, has reached approximately $2.2 billion.

The “exosphere” (outer shell) will feature a digital canvas that morphs between themes, depending on the season or occasion, while the theater inside will be the first large-scale venue to utilize multi-sensory storytelling to wow concertgoers. It will possess the world’s highest resolution digital screen, 164,000 audio speakers and cutting-edge 4D technologies, including scents and breezes. David Dibble, CEO of MSG Ventures, has stated, “With MSG Sphere, we’re creating an entirely new platform for immersive experiences.”

Bridging Borders

When completed next year, the $5.7 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge will span the Detroit River, a strategic commercial connection between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. The project’s graceful design reflects a contemporary, minimalist aesthetic and its name honors one of hockey’s most legendary players. The project will streamline the flow of goods and passengers at this critical convergence of Canadian and American interests. “Inspiration for the design was found in the waters of the Detroit River with the rolling waves conveying the senses of passage and gateway,” explains Heather Grondin, vice president, corporate affairs and external relations of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. She adds, “The cable-stayed bridge design is a modern and elegant form with a tower shape inspired by the curvature of a hockey stick in a slap shot — a nod to Gordie Howe.”

Located steps from the new PGA headquarters<br />
is the sprawling Omni PGA Frisco Resort.

Links Unlimited

Opening this spring, steps from the new Professional Golfers Association (PGA) headquarters outside Dallas, is the Omni PGA Frisco Resort. Two 18-hole championship courses will be accompanied by a lighted par three course and two-acre putting green, complemented by diverse dining, retail and entertainment experiences.

The hotel component will feature 500 guest rooms and suites, 10 four-bedroom ranch houses, a rooftop infinity pool and full-service spa. With versatile indoor-outdoor spaces accommodating special events, the $520 million complex represents a true golfer’s paradise in the Lone Star State. “Omni PGA Frisco is an ambitious new resort concept for the state of Texas,” says Jeff Smith, vice president and managing director for the Omni PGA Frisco Resort. He adds, “The sprawling complex provides an unparalleled experience for those who are advanced players, new to the game, and everything in between.” Another megadevelopment in Frisco, Texas, was recently announced: a new theme park from Universal Studios.

St. Regis Chicago

Windy City Glam

While the Omni PGA Frisco Resort rambles over 600 acres, the St. Regis Chicago soars 101 stories in a city already home to iconic skyscrapers. Clad in undulating glass, the design is a product of hometown firm Studio Gang, whose founder Jeanne Gang is one of the world’s most prominent female architects. A project of Magellan Development Group, the structure will house luxury condominiums in addition to an elegant St. Regis hotel. Featuring an allocation of green space atop each of its distinct tiers, the building allows greater connectivity with the environment and the city around it.

“The St. Regis Chicago is a work of art and is already a spectacular addition to the Chicago skyline,” maintains Rob Pontarelli, Magellan’s senior vice president of marketing. “The St. Regis Chicago is an architectural wonder inspired by a crystalline form found in nature and serves as Chicago’s premier destination, offering ultra-luxury living, five-star lodging, service and dining,” he adds.

Intuit Dome

Techy Arena

Major league sports venues frequently rank among the most expensive construction projects in the nation, yet many reflect uninspired designs. However, the Intuit Dome that will be home to the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers features a memorable, futuristic design that pairs well with SoFi Stadium, also located in the L.A. suburb of Inglewood. And in an era when local taxpayers fund sports arenas, the $2 billion Intuit Dome is privately funded.

Inside, a wraparound, double-sided “halo” display board will feature an immersive digital canvas featuring 38,375 square feet (more than 233 million LEDs), while VIP “courtside cabanas” and “halo suites” will provide the ultimate luxury experience for sports fans and concertgoers. “This is going to be an unbelievable building, a great experience to come into,” states NBA Hall of Famer and Clippers consultant Jerry West.

Made in America

Semiconductor chips are essential to computers and smartphones, as well as automobiles, household appliances and medical devices. Therefore, manufacturing those items domestically — almost 90 percent are currently imported from overseas — is critical to the U.S. economy and national security.

Last year, Congress authorized more than $50 billion to the semiconductor industry, a catalyst for a flurry of announcements by large manufacturers. Intel is spending $20 billion to construct a manufacturing facility in Ohio, while Micron Technology and Qualcomm have also made multibillion-dollar commitments to manufacture advanced chips in the U.S. “Today marks a pivotal moment in the journey to build a more  geographically balanced and resilient semiconductor supply chain,” remarked Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger at the Ohio groundbreaking.

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Designer Showcase at The Ritz-Carlton Residence, Portland

The ultimate expression of luxury living can be found at the Ritz-Carlton Residence in Portland, where guests and residents can experience the diverse landscape with sweeping views and easy access to all that the city has to offer. This unique setting is an inspiration for those seeking a high-end lifestyle with careful attention to every detail, especially the design. From November 17-25, LUXE | Forbes Global Properties is hosting a designer showcase, The Floor of Dreams, which will explore various interpretations of relaxed refinement by interior designers with the experience to impress.

Floor of Dreams Dining Area
Floor of Dreams Kitchen Area

The event will display the work of designers, Kevin Twitty Interiors, Tiffany Home Design, City Home Design Services, OnStage Home Staging, and Cielo Home and Design. Each offers a unique style and ethos that shines through their work. The proceeds from the event will go toward the Downtown Clean & Safe District, which is an enhanced service district in the city, where property owners supplement publicly financed services for neighborhood improvement including cleaning, security, market research, and retail advocacy. 

Floor of Dreams Kitchen
Floor of Dreams Living Room

A word from the designers

“The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural beauty, and the nearby Hillside and Portland Heights neighborhoods with their prominent tree lines inspired me to pull an element of the forest into the Residence,” says Kevin Twitty. “This can be seen in the use of sumptuous textures and lush greens to bring in a beautiful organic element to the design.” Twitty currently calls Portland home and strives to bring his passion for life into his work. His careful attention to detail has earned him several national and local design awards. Twitty says about the showcase, “As I pulled from these inspirations, I was careful to allow the luxury and refinement of the Residence play its own role in delivering a dwelling that would embody a timeless elegance and discerning sophistication that pays homage to this remarkable city.”

Floor of Dreams Living Room Area
Ceilo Home Living Room

Cielo Home Interior Design is proud to be participating in the Floor of Dreams at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Portland. It’s been another opportunity for the design firm to celebrate the individual taste of each client. “The inspiration for this space was the stylish, well-traveled client of The Ritz-Carlton. It is a warm and inviting “landing pad” with a priceless view,” says a representative from the Cielo Home team. “Nature and the beauty of the changing light in the space gave us guidance, while a subtle use of paint colors creates a seamless flow from room to room. The furnishings are a clever mix of family heirlooms, contemporary upholstery, fine custom rugs, and curated works of art, many sourced locally.”

Floor of Dreams Living Room
Floor of Dreams Kitchen Area

Join the fun 

The Floor of Dream showcase is bound to inspire guests, and the proceeds will be directed towards a good cause. The event will be open to ticket holders from November 17-25. More information about tickets can be found online

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File Under Pop

Inspired by the ancient and very active volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily, Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer’s design studio specializes in handcrafted lava stone tiles. File Under Pop works in dressing walls, ceilings, countertops, floors, and more with these unique tiles, in addition to custom paints, and hand-painted wallpapers that were designed to last.

The Copenhagen-based company produces with quality being at the forefront of all its designs. “We are craftsmen and only through thoroughness do we accomplish high-quality products,” says Hoffmeyer. “Layer after layer of studies, analyses, sketches, and renderings combined with mold-making and prototypes rest behind every File Under Pop product. It is our clear objective to sustain lifelong products when we materialize colors and glazes, shapes, dimensions, tiles, wallpaper, fabrics, and more.”

“To create a space is like conducting an orchestra. You<br />
leave out some instruments, you intensify others, you<br />
insert pauses in order to create spaces for dwelling,”<br />
says Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer.

Hoffmeyer, the founder of File Under Pop, has always been driven by creativity. The designer first led a musical career, studying and playing among international talents in New York City, hence the name choice for her design company. However, a passion for travel landed Hoffmeyer in Italy where she was soon captivated by the active volcano, Mount Etna, the lava stone, and the natural beauty of the area.

“Beauty is visual, although you can see right through it or sense it in complete darkness. It is neither a fixed image nor state of mind. Beauty exists through engagement and consciousness of all living beings,” says Hoffmeyer. Her creativity soon translated into an interest in tile making, which resulted in the tile company, File Under Pop. “Beauty is imperfect, incomplete, and impermanent. It often balances opposite directions at the same time and File Under Pop aims to make room for beauty in all aspects,” explains Hoffmeyer.

File Under Pop

Italian glazed and raw lava stone, and Spanish clay make up the individual tiles that are hand-crafted and truly one of a kind at File Under Pop. The design, textures, and raw materials prompt a natural, almost unprocessed feel to each room the tiles are placed in.

“All our tiles are developed with great care and processed by hand, making each tile a unique piece of craftsmanship,” according to a File Under Pop representative. The tiles are made with such pure materials and crafted so carefully that the natural clay or lava stone becomes playfully imperfect during its process of being compacted, carved, and converted.

File Under Pop

“Our clay tiles come from a family-owned production located just outside the Spanish town of Valencia. All the clay tiles are made using silkscreen and hand-printing techniques to create the decorations,” says another File Under Pop representative. The final product of both forms is deeply reminiscent of where it originated and its natural state.

Clay and lava stones are the specialties, though they have expanded into several other design aspects over the years. From vases, lava stone boards, sinks and more, the designers and handcrafters at File Under Pop are pushing the raw materials to new levels. In addition to the tiles, the artistic designs on the glazed tiles and painted onto the wallpapers are equally impressive and in tune with the overall aesthetic.

About the designs, a representative explains that they display “characteristics of traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi, include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and the appreciation of both natural objects and the forces of nature.” These concepts can be seen in several of the designs, such as Edo Clouds, which consists of delicate cloud shapes that repeat in a simple but beautiful pattern, or the Patch wallpaper, which clearly displays large, thick brush strokes in an asymmetrical pattern that feels muted and natural, but also intricate. The raw, natural stones — either glazed or unglazed — enhance the original texture, grooves, and markings in the stone.

File Under Pop
File Under Pop

File Under Pop is just around the corner from the Color Lab, which is the company’s very own paint and tile shop that offers products, but also helpful advice, and perspective when it comes to paint colors and pairings. “Colors are not just a tool to create joy or well-being. They house the potential to unfold an endless range of human emotions and give us the chance to clarify, process, and release even states of grief or sorrow,” says a File Under Pop representative. The Color Lab offers 96 different shades and blends of colors that were each carefully curated by Hoffmeyer. To create an extremely intricate finish, and bring out more details in the design motifs, the paints are mixed with copper, silver, and white gold leaf, and 23-karat gold leaf.

File Under Pop

“Beauty is imperfect, incomplete, and impermanent. It often balances opposite directions at the same time and File Under Pop aims to make room for beauty in all aspects.”

Every File Under Pop decoration has its own philosophy and source of inspiration, according to Hoffmeyer. All together, or on their own, the various File Under Pop items help to create spaces that feel natural and cohesive, which is in alignment with the company’s style and overall goal to create lasting designs. “Most of us sense it instinctively when all elements fall into place and we align ourselves with our surroundings,” says Hoffmeyer.

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‘Home is Your Memory Maker’

By Jamie Yoos

The vastly different worlds of law and interior design may rarely seem to intersect, but for Kevie Murphy of K.A. Murphy Interiors, the two passions have come together as the driving forces behind her successful career and business.

K.A. Murphy

Murphy is the founder and principal designer of K.A. Murphy Interiors, her self-started, full-service design firm with a focus on high-end residential interiors. A harmonious balance of function and beauty are the key components of all projects and fundamental to Murphy’s overall vision for any space.

The company breaks down its process into 3 categories, the first being to inspire. The team collaborates, listens to the needs and desires of each client, and works to conjure up a vision for their space, with the intention of turning something they need into something they love.

Elderfields by K.A. Murphy Designs

Then, it’s time to design. They present the client with a fully comprehensive design plan of action, going into extreme detail to ensure that the client can clearly envision the final product. Finally, they transform the space. The vision is brought to life. Every single detail, the installation of every little element: furniture, lighting, wall coverings, window treatment, carpets, and accessories — is all overseen and coordinated by the team. “We make an effort to listen to what our clients’ needs are, how they use their homes, what their wants are. What we do in your home will not be in anybody else’s,” says Murphy.

K.A. Murphy Interiors isn’t limited by any specific design aesthetic, however, one common theme amongst its design repertoire is bold, vibrant color that sets its designs apart.

Elderfields Road

One of Murphy’s favorite projects was a colonial home from the 1940s on Elderfield Road in Manhasset, New York. The project was extremely personal to Murphy because… it’s her own house! When renovating and designing the home, she desired something colorful, comfortable, family oriented and durable, but still pretty.

The color scheme was inspired by the patterned wallpaper Murphy chose for the foyer that boasts mesmerizing magentas, aqua blues, turquoise, deep muted purples, and gold. Each room is unique and vastly different from the last, but they somehow seamlessly blend together to create a stunning home.

Elderfields staircase

Interior design was not always Murphy’s focus, or even on her radar. She grew up in Port Jefferson Station, New York, with an interest in law. “I always wanted to be a lawyer. My dad is a lawyer; I always felt like it was a natural career choice for me,” says Murphy. She was a swimmer from age 6 into high school, which she used to her advantage in order to help jumpstart her future. “I think my trajectory was guided by the fact that I was going to use swimming to get into the best colleges that I could afford, with the idea that I was going to apply for law school.” Murphy’s swimming ended up earning her a full ride to Boston University. Then she went on to attend New York Law School, just as she had planned.

From there, she went on to work as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. “I did that for my commitment of three years and loved it, but my real passion was doing medical malpractice defense for the doctors and the hospitals.” She then began working at a law firm as a partner doing exactly that. Her impressive career in law was smooth-sailing and moving in upward strides. She eventually retired there as a partner in litigation when she had her first child.

Like most undiscovered passions, interior design took Murphy by surprise when she and her husband purchased a Brooklyn Heights home that required extensive renovations. The passion project of tirelessly perfecting her own home opened up a new door for Murphy, allowing her to realize her zeal for interior design.

“The interior design business idea was sprouted from a girls’ trip I took with two of my roommates from college. I said, ‘I think I’m going to go to school for this, I think I would be really good at it.’ To which they said, ‘the world is your oyster. If you think you can do this, we know that you can — go do it.’” Murphy recounts.

“It’s such a shock when you tell someone that you went from being a partner at a law firm in Manhattan to an interior designer. But a lot of the business-end skills are translatable. I was willing to give it a shot.” It wasn’t long after that Murphy was enrolled at the New York School of Interior Design.

Murphy’s love for colorful<br />
design is displayed through the<br />
vibrant magenta and orange<br />
tones in her family room.

The supportive roommates from the girls’ trip helped Murphy in kick-starting her business until it was time to take the next step — getting an office. “I felt like that was the first step in becoming super legitimate. Then, I hired my first employee. We just grew, we needed more help and we were able to take on more work.” Hence, the K.A. Murphy Interiors team was born, consisting of Murphy herself as the principal designer, Liudmila Tapia as the design director, Alyssa Devoe as the senior design/marketing manager, and Essilevi Medina as the senior designer.

All of this has brought Murphy to the current stage in her career. Murphy’s unwavering passion and undeniable people skills have allowed her to use her design talents to enhance the lives of her clients through her work. Her skills gained from working as a lawyer do, in fact, aid her in running the business. “It definitely helps with drafting design agreements or reviewing paperwork, contracts; I’m extremely confident reading them. My power of persuasion is very honed as well, based on my litigation skills — when I believe in something, my client knows about it and that translates into sales,” says Murphy. She plans to expand the business even further and hopes to purchase an office building for the company in the near future.

Murphy lives with her husband and 4 children in the Flower Hill home she designed in New York. She often says that “Home is your memory maker.” This mantra has become the forefront of K.A. Murphy Interiors’ mission. “[Home is] your family, your heirlooms, and where your lifetime of memories are held. It’s where you wake up, comforted by what you love, surrounded by things that are invaluable, that can’t be replicated anywhere else,” the K.A. Murphy Interiors website states. “We aspire to convey this in homes that are exquisitely tailored and highly personal.”

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Green Acres

As new trends change and evolve in real estate, one thing has been consistent as of late: green initiatives. It’s cool to be kind to the environment in 2023 — even the little things can have a ripple effect to create change all around us.

Luxury developments across the globe are leading by example in this department. Many are following in the footsteps of planet-friendly legislation, and creating their own ways of sustainable living for residents, whether it’s solar-paneled energy, electric cooking devices, conservation of land, or harvesting fruits and vegetables.

The Strand in Turks and Caicos has a<br />
pollinator sanctuary.

The Strand, a luxury oceanfront real estate development in Turks and Caicos, sees the pros far outweighing the cons when it comes to these changes.

“Practicing sustainability is just being smart, thoughtful and forward-thinking,” says John Fair, managing director, developer and project manager at The Strand. “Would you rather pay 50 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated from diesel fuel, or 13 cents per kilowatt-hour from the sun?”

The Strand offers private homes, villas, and custom residences overlooking Cooper Jack Bay on the island, with gorgeous views and shoreline swimming. One of the factors that it is most proud of, beyond offering solar-powered homes, is its ability to turn the property into a pollinator sanctuary for all types of creatures.

The Strand also incorporates the textures of the<br />
natural landscape into the architecture of each<br />
homesite; particularly their roots in coral stone.

The Strand propagates native flowers and plants on site, which is able to attract all kinds of butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds and more to the property. A plethora of flora and fauna boasts beautiful scenery all around, and offers improved air quality and green ecosystems.

The Strand is focused on incorporating the natural scenery into the architecture of the homes as well. According to Fair, the property sits on a limestone shelf, which millions of years ago was a coral reef. Now, seashell limestone and coral stone is incorporated into the flooring and textures of every residence on the property. This allows the natural surroundings to blend seamlessly into the present.

Beyond just the beauty, The Strand also integrates state-of-the-art smart technology in every room, only LED lighting throughout the property, and smart irrigation systems with rainwater catchment cisterns.

Tributary Cabin

Another development focused on the success of its natural environment is Tributary, located in Driggs, Idaho. Tributary is a 1,500-acre development, with luxury real estate nestled in gorgeous wildlife. Five hundred of its acres are fen-designated wetlands, which are pristinely maintained by the Teton Regional Land Trust.

“The Woods Creek Fen is the most floristically unique wetland in Teton County,” says Sara Beth Judson, real estate sales associate at Tributary, of the property. “The fen is managed to protect the on-site wildlife and rare plants.”

Tributary Cabin Dining Room

In addition to the existing wetlands, Judson notes, it also has constructed various ponds on site, in order to provide shelter and habitats for native trumpeter swans, long-billed curlews, waterfowl and shorebirds. Tributary is perfect for hiking alongside the ponds in the summer, and well-known as an emerging top-10 skiing destination in the winter.

The land itself is entrenched in rich, vast ecosystems, and residents can enjoy being a part of it all. Tributary is situated in the western slope of the Teton mountain range, and also in a high alpine valley, which makes it a “biodiversity hotspot.” The property is actually part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the most integral ecological landscapes in the world. This 15-million-acre organization encompasses Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks as well.

“With every expansion or home being built, we take full consideration of our footprint and the materials used to ensure we are responsible stewards of the incredible ecosystem that surrounds us,” Judson says.

Vineyards, budding oak trees, and<br />
buzzing beehives are just a few of the<br />
vibrant ecosystems that are alive on the<br />
Montage Residences property.

Providing a bit of a different landscape is Montage Residences Healdsburg, in sunny Sonoma County, California, which takes this one step further with its own sustainable farms. Montage Residences, which offers luxury estates and homesites, is located in the scenic Alexander Valley, closeby to the Russian River. With private vineyards, towering oak trees, honey-soaked beehives, and an orchard of hazelnut trees to produce truffles, it’s safe to say that Montage Residences has a well-produced ecosystem.

Each residence is crafted through tolerant landscaping, with renewable-energy systems made possible through Tesla batteries. The property is also Cal Certified, meaning that the homes are extremely well-rated for energy efficiency. Montage Residences is able to offer unique farm-to-table dining experiences, and also a true integration into the environment through the use of their farms and natural production.


“The rolling hillsides of Healdsburg not only provide beautiful vineyard vistas, but also create opportunities for uniquely designed homes that are built into the landscape instead of on it,” says Neil Johnson, managing director of development at Ohana Real Estate Investors, from Montage. “Homes at Montage Residences Healdsburg complement the natural landscape of Northern California, preserving the rolling terrain and native oak trees in each home design.”

Each of these properties agree that green infrastructure should not only be a piece of their initiatives, but a top priority. The land gives way to each of these incredible experiences, and is treated as an honored host.

“Preserving the magic and beauty of the natural setting through environmental stewardship is incredibly important to us,” Johnson mentions. “In speaking with owners at Montage Residences Healdsburg, they’re most excited about the opportunity to live within the region’s natural beauty.”

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Ritual Rooms

By Ritika Jain

When you think of luxury, you don’t often think of rituals and routines. However, in the aftermath of years of isolation and uncertainty, people are striving for a sense of routine and community in their day-to-day lives. In response, luxury residences are starting to create shared spaces bathed in lavish details for residents to connect and spend quality time. These spaces are called “Ritual Rooms,” which promote regular gatherings among residents within the building itself, often complete with lavish features and striking views. Rooms of this kind are popping up in upscale condominiums in Florida, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay and Nexo Residences, North Miami Beach.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay is a towering structure in Southwest Florida with two-, three- and four-bedroom residences and overlooks Florida’s first aquatic preserve, Estero Bay. In order to make use of South Florida’s gorgeous sunset views, it now boasts a Sunset Lounge designed by New York-based interior design studio Meyer Davis, complete with a bar and double-height glass surroundings. Craig Klingensmith, vice president of London Bay Development Group, shared with The High End the inspiration behind the Sunset Lounge and what they hope it will accomplish.

The Sunset Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay was<br />
designed to promote a sense of community among residents with a<br />
casual yet luxurious elegance that echoes the existing landscape.

“The concept for the Sunset Lounge came about from the desire to incorporate a large, centrally located area that would unite the two residential towers and would also present an opportunity for residents from both buildings to come together to enjoy the amenity spaces,” explains Klingensmith. The room itself boasts an understated yet luxurious design with the use of natural materials, which were inspired by the natural surroundings of Estero Bay.

With floor-to-ceiling windows, the Sunset Lounge invites expansive views of an outdoor deck overlooking three pools, a lagoon with floating-like pavilions, the Saltleaf Marina, and stunning vistas of Estero Bay. Along with a dreamy visual backdrop, the room presents opportunities for gathering with the ornate bar and a Demonstration Kitchen, “where residents can gather for a cooking class, or where some of Florida’s very best chefs can come in to prepare award-worthy meals.”

Luxury residences are starting to implement gathering<br />
spaces in their buildings to promote routine gatherings<br />
among residents.

Klingensmith expects the Sunset Lounge to be a hit among residents, as it will act as the central gathering space between both towers. The brand’s commitment to providing the epitome of luxury living alongside a sense of community is reflected not only in this room, but in all 36,000 square feet of interior amenities. “Each of these unique spaces is elevated with the brand’s hallmark of providing personalized and high-touch service that makes all the difference to enhancing everyday life.”

The Nexo Residences over in Miami Beach, which is slated to break ground in 2023 with a two-year construction period, is jumping on this trend with a Rooftop Observatory Deck to utilize in the nighttime. It will feature a telescope for stargazing; a summer kitchen with a large grill, mini fridge, and wine cooler; a long dining table for residents to socialize; and cozy seating arrangements around fire pits.

Rooftop in Miami

According to the team, the concept behind the Rooftop Observatory Deck is “to offer residents an intimate gathering space that would seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor living, as well as showcase the beautiful Miami skyline.” The location of the building allows access to 360-degree, panoramic views of Miami’s most scenic skylines, including those of Aventura, Sunny Isles, and North Miami. It will provide residents with an opulent yet tranquil space to host gatherings and connect with one another while also promoting an appreciation for the natural landscape.

The integration of outdoor amenities within residences not only offers a sense of community, but also a variety of benefits to your health and well-being. “Humans have an innate desire to want to be close to and surrounded by nature. Studies show that outdoor spaces are essential to everyday life and promote health and happiness. Offering residents outdoor amenities allows people to feel connected to nature while promoting a sense of well-being,” says the team.

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Unique Homes Fall 2023 Issue

Unique Homes is excited to present our Fall 2023 issue, which explores the importance of quality design in the luxury realm.

Writer Camila McLaughlin notes that the focus has shifted from quantity to substance in order to create a distinct lifestyle. Through her many conversations with various top designers, it’s clear that terms like bespoke and timeless are becoming more prevalent.

Begin by touring an unforgettable equestrian state that spans more than 100 rolling acres. Turn the page and explore the desire to create roots and traditions, connect with nature and the outdoors, and infuse color to generate joyful spaces.

In the Fall 2023 issue, we also invite you to take a look at top markets, such as New England and the Florida Keys, where access to year-round amenities, and water frontage are high priorities for buyers.

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Living The Dream

With hand-crafted and hand-tailored pieces made in Portugal with the finest materials available, Circu designs creative, extravagant, high-quality, colorful yet sophisticated pieces, allowing children to take their imagination on a playful journey without ever leaving home.

“Every child’s room will shine even brighter with Circu’s latest and most unique pieces. Designed with care and dedication, they are the ideal reflection of comfort and well-being for children.” says brand CEO,
Carolina Costa.

Circu proclaims to build “under a dream,” that dream being to, “allow children to live their own fantasies and create a magical world for them to fly under an imagination that has no limit.” The company’s core values, magic, purity, naivety, color, and soul, are present in each and every piece it creates, giving children an exciting experience with every design.

The Vixey kid’s bed (pictured in the blog cover), inspired by the beloved 1981 Disney classic “The Fox and the Hound,” provides both comfort and wonder to little slumberers. Vixey resembles a giant fox with warm orange tones, complete with a fuzzy tail, making it a fun and dreamy essential piece for little adventurers and zoologists alike to curl up and enjoy a peaceful rest.

Cloud Cradle

Circu has recently ventured into the world of babies with the Cloud Cradle — a maximum security, dreamy piece providing babies with a peaceful sleep in a unique and stylish crib.

Lotus Armchair

The Lotus Armchair acts as a statement piece while maintaining maximum comfiness. Inspired by the Lotus flower, this chair acts as a perfect reading corner seat or a soft spot for little ones to unwind.

Cloud Lamp

Lewis is a brand new, cozy series of seating designed to “provide a touch of class, as well as a feeling of mysticism and magic, through their elegant curves.” The purple accents paired with the unique shapes and structures aim to add an element of trendiness to these plush pieces that are sure to beautify any room.

Lighting doesn’t have to be basic with these eccentric Periwinkle Suspension lamps. Available in different formats, all inspired by the small Periwinkle flower, these lamps will bring life to every corner of the room.

Cuddle chairs

Cuddle chairs are an essential in any young child’s room, and this neutral yet unique rocking chair fits the role perfectly. Paired with an ottoman and available as a regular arm chair, this plush seat will bring comfort and relaxation to any space.

Circu has a grand selection of many more products that are just as exciting as their newer pieces.

The Cloud Lamp is another awe-inspiring suspension lamp resembling a big, fluffy, white cloud. Made with an innovative material, this lamp is designed in several layers and is completely fire retardant.

Features include a sleep assistant as well as a lighting and sound system complete with a remote control. Your little one can fall asleep while gazing at this big beautiful cloud that lulls them to sleep with whatever music you choose.

Bubble Gum Gym

Circu also creates incredible play areas, such as the Bubble Gum Gym, inspired by a traditional playground.

With its exceptionally fun elements and adorable pastel color theme, children can enjoy physical play and exercise in style — complete with a rock wall, a swing chair, slide, and even a climbing rope.

Perhaps the best part is that it’s perfectly safe for children — the Bubble Gum Gym includes LED features, along with a soft, plush, velvet rug on the bottom to ensure that kids are able to play and explore freely without getting hurt.

Fantasy Air Balloon Lounge

Kids can embark on a journey high up through the clouds with the Fantasy Air Balloon Lounge. This whimsical, hot air balloon-inspired lounge features a comfy circular sofa and a round center table, complete with storage, making it the perfect spot to let your imagination run wild, study, or relax. It even features a color changing light and sound system. What’s even more miraculous is that this lounge can be turned into a bed!

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