Best Custom Single- Family Home: Winner

To Ralph Choeff, 224 Bal Bay Drive was a standout property. That was proven when it sold for what the designer said was a record-breaking $24 million – less than five months after it hit the market.

Miami Carriage House

Bayside Bravado

Looking for sizzle?

This $23.5 million mansion is loaded with hot features such as a custom kitchen by Fendi. Completed in 2019, the 9,556-square-foot gated home at 19 Palm Ave. in Miami Beach has six bedrooms, nine baths, a wine bar, theater, elevator and a 1,500-square-foot master wing with his-and-hers Ornare closets, a midnight kitchen, sitting lounge and fireplace.

The futuristic appearance of this $23.5 million mansion in Miami Beach is made for admirers of modern architecture. It will also catch the fancy of auto enthusiasts and gourmet cooks.

The home’s many stunning features include flush retractable windows, marbled bathrooms and a motor court with car turntable.

And there’s a state-of-the-art, $500,000 kitchen.

The home, at 19 Palm Ave., is on Palm Island, in Biscayne Bay just south of Hibiscus Island.

Completed in 2019, the 9,556-square-foot gated home has six bedrooms, nine baths, a wine bar, theater, elevator and a 1,500-square-foot master wing with his-and-hers Ornare closets, a midnight kitchen, sitting lounge and fireplace.

Two separate bathrooms in the master bedroom feature floor-to-ceiling marble, and each comes with a glass zero-edge spa shower with steam and scent ventilation. One of the bathrooms also has a standalone Boffi tub.

And then there’s that $500,000 custom kitchen by Fendi, boasting chocolate lacquer floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and champagne-leather paneling, as well as top-of-the-line appliances. There’s a separate catering kitchen as well.

The Tropical Modern house, by Miami-based architecture firm Choeff Levy Fischman, was designed for seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living and features flush retractable glass windows that are the first of their kind in Miami Beach, according to Dina Goldentayer, executive director of sales at Douglas Elliman in Miami Beach, who holds the listing.

Outside, there’s an infinity-edge pool, a sunken living room surrounding a fire pit and a cabana with summer kitchen and rooftop lounge. The property has 110 linear feet on Biscayne Bay.

Additional features of the home include a British-made rotating automobile turntable in the motor court, a 460-foot, open-air atrium with floating steps that span a pool of water and a second-floor pajama lounge where the family can relax in a private setting away from the traffic of the ground floor.

There’s also Savant home-automation technology and, for those concerned about security, infrared technology and 19 cameras on the property.

“Palm Island is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in all of Miami,” said Goldentayer. “It’s a gated location, and it’s central — five minutes from both South of Fifth and downtown Miami.”

“Other homes on Palm and Hibiscus Islands that are priced in the $20 millions are all older,” Goldentayer said. “Miami is a town that is obsessed with youth, and that applies to houses as well.”

The current owners, Dean and Melissa Carr, bought the 18,000-square-foot property in August 2014 for $6.5 million. They are selling because they have relocated to Monaco.

Miami Beach Manse and Lot Sell For Record $35M

A California buyer purchased a waterfront mansion and lot on North Bay Road for a combined $35.4 million, marking a record sale in Miami Beach this year, The Real Deal has learned.

Ami Shashoua sold the spec mansion at 6360 North Bay Road for $23.85 million. The lot next door at 6342 North Bay Road, owned by spec home developer Peter Fine, sold for $11.55 million, according to Redfin.

The buyer of both bayfront properties is from California, according to a source familiar with the deal. The buyer’s plans for the lot are unclear, but he didn’t want anyone else buying it and building there, the source said.

The properties were on the market for a combined $44.5 million, and sold at 20 percent below ask. Nelson Gonzalez of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty was the listing agent for both properties. Jill Hertzberg of the Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Bank brought the buyer, according to Redfin.

Gonzalez confirmed that the properties sold, but declined to disclose the prices or identify the buyer. The 13,381-square-foot mansion, with a guest house, has a total of 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and three half-baths. It sits on a 27,600-square-foot lot and has 112 feet of water frontage. Todd Michael Glaser built the home. Choeff Levy Fischman designed it.

The property also features 3,000 square feet of rooftop decks, a three-car garage, cabana house with kitchenette, summer kitchen, mosaic glass pool with spa, new seawall and pier dock. It was on the market for $32 million, according to the listing.

Next door, the 24,407-square-foot lot has another 100 feet of water frontage. It was priced at $12.5 million. Fine’s 6342 NBR LLC purchased the property for $9.5 million in 2015, records show.

Among other recent waterfront sales on North Bay Road, Yext founder and CEO Howard Lerman paid $17 million in February for a 10,665-square-foot spec mansion at 6010 North Bay Road. That same month, spec home developer Philippe Harari of the Aquablue Group sold the waterfront Palm Island at 73 Palm Avenue for $24.5 million.

And last month, architect Kobi Karp and his wife Nancy paid $8.5 million for 4750 North Bay Road.

Other high-profile homeowners on upper North Bay Road include JDS Development’s Michael Stern, singer-songwriter Phil Collins, and basketball stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.


Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky Sells Miami Beach Home for $24 Million

A gated house in Miami Beach, Florida, owned by Michael Polsky, founder and chief executive of Chicago-based clean energy company Invenergy LLC, has changed hands for $24 million.

The sale is the most expensive ever for a single-family home in Bal Harbour—a small village in the northern tip of Miami Beach—according to listing records. The previous record was set in 2013 when another home on the same street, Bal Bay Drive, was sold for $17.5 million, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The sale closed Tuesday. The buyer was listed as US PLO 224 LLC, an entity registered in Delaware, according to public records.

Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman listed the property in February for $24.95 million. Sandra Debuire of Coldwell Banker represented the buyer. Both declined to disclose the identities of their clients.

Mr. Polsky, 68, used a limited liability company to buy the property for $7.5 million in 2013, per property records. He then commissioned architectural firm

Choeff Levy Fischman and interior designer Deborah Wecselman to design the modern home, according to the Douglas Elliman listing.

The 11,700-square-foot home, sitting along 100 feet of water frontage, features an open-concept floor plan and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors to complete the indoor-outdoor living experience. It has eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a media room, a lounge, a multi-purpose room and a large indoor gym. The master bedroom suite comes with two large terraces, one of which has an outdoor shower, according to the listing.

Unique to this home is its 1,433-square-foot rooftop space that is solar-panel ready. The roof has an elevated wooden deck, a custom built-in bar with tropical wood finish and custom built-in seating, according to the listing.

Outdoors, there is a pool, a reflective pond, a motor court, a dining area with a full kitchen and a covered terrace with a firepit.

Mr. Polsky, an alumnus of the University of Chicago who donated $7 million to help establish the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship, did not respond to a request for comment sent to his company, Invenergy LLC.

Renovation Innovation

Whether your agenda is finishing a few laps or simply cooling off in the water with friends and family, a swimming pool has a lot to offer. Which is why it’s such good news that advancements in technology and aesthetic design have made renovating your pool—rather than investing in a new one—much more accessible.

Renovations often develop when a client purchases a property with an existing pool that has been neglected, doesn’t meet current safety regulations, or just doesn’t crank up enough joy, says Scott Payne, owner of Scott Payne Custom Pools, headquartered in Pennsylvania. Payne is a third-generation pool builder who maintains certification through Genesis, a think tank of pool professionals.

“A typical client has purchased a property with an existing pool and the styles don’t match or the project is dated or unsafe,” Payne says. “Sometimes it’s a cosmetic facelift, sometimes it’s a technological issue.” The last decade has seen a rush of dramatic developments, he explains, including automation, LED lights, and variable-speed pumps. “Customers can easily upgrade and dramatically change the look of the pool without a lot of money.”

On a recent site visit to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Payne assessed an existing 700-square-foot pool. It required a major renovation, including updates to the mechanics and drain function, plus new tile and interior finish. Glass tile is high on Payne’s list: “The choices are great. Glass can change a pool’s look and feel complete.” Proper landscaping is critical as well (Payne credits his longtime collaborator Roger Gerhard of Landscaping by Roger in Allentown, Pennsylvania).

Payne renovated one pool (pictured) after it was damaged by a house fire. He and his crew removed a funky boulder waterfall that clashed with the rustic stone house; extended the wall of the pool by about 30 feet; redid the decking; and added laminar deck jets and a quartz interior finish. He estimates that if the homeowners had started a new pool from scratch, including excavation, the cost would have increased by about 40 percent.

Depending on budget and landscape, pool renovations can reach the lofty heights of intricacy. Frank Hines, manager of renovation sales at Year-Round Pool Company, Inc., recalls a full-scale pool and deck renovation that he and his colleagues recently completed in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The pool, a classic cookie-cutter design built in the mid-1990s, had a bland looking quartz finish and a typical textured and painted deck surface.

Post-renovation, the pool is a sparkling beauty. “This renovation incorporated some of the highest quality, most aesthetically appealing materials being used in our industry for renovations or new construction,” Hines says. The crew applied an exterior stone finish with new water scupper features on the raised walls. After expanding the enclosure area, the crew installed custom Turkish travertine deck tile and deck features crafted from exotic ipe, a Brazilian walnut. A Pebble Tec interior finish and waterline tile also were added. Finally, the original fiber optic lighting system was replaced with LED lights. Every improvement contributes to the dazzling effect.

In another, much simpler renovation, Year-Round Pool resurfaced the pool deck with a new spray-deck textured finish and resurfaced the interior with standard six-inch- square waterline tile and a Pebble Tec “Caribbean Blue” finish. “It shows you can create a nice wow factor without having to upgrade to nonstandard finishes,” Hines says.

Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design in Miami recently transformed an outdated Mediterranean-style Miami home into a modern beauty with elegant Spanish Revival notes. Its outdoor spaces give new meaning to resort-style living, including the stunning L-shaped pool.

The home’s indoor-outdoor focus is key to the project’s success, says Ralph Choeff, founding principal of Choeff Levy Fischman. “The new pool, deck, and cabana bring the built environment, as well as the outdoor environment, up to date with fresh aesthetics and integrated functions,” Choeff says. “It also gives the family a more functional space for relaxing and enjoying the bay views.”

Redesigning the backyard involved a major facelift to the swimming pool and deck. The pool’s new L-shaped infinity-edge design, with a catch pool and “floating” steps, is a visual wonder.

The indoor-outdoor cabana, complete with Carrara marble accents and a custom wet bar, was previously a guest house.

Sometimes an existing pool can be taken to new heights simply by installing one piece of equipment. Hayward Pool Products offers a line of saltwater chlorination generators that create ideal conditions for people who love the feel of salt water.

“The salt concentration needed for saltwater chlorine generators is closer to body chemistry, which results in less of an osmotic gradient compared to traditional chlorine pools,” says Jason Davila, Hayward’s product manager of chemical automation. “It’s about health and comfort.”

The sensual pleasures of saltwater pools are not lost on its fans. “I loved the weightlessness,” says one devotee, who this spring had her first swim in a heated saltwater pool in Florida. “I was even able to do yoga poses in the water,” she says. “It was very freeing. Afterward, my skin felt great; I didn’t have that chlorine smell on my skin and in my hair. Lovely!”

Waterfront stunner in Miami asks $18.8M

Miami is full of over-the-top real estate listings, from celebrity listings to island abodes. The latest to cross our desk is this seven-bedroom, eight-bath stunner situated on Miami Beach’s Di Lido Island. Designed by architects Choeff Levy Fischman and first on the market last October, the 7,828-square-foot house recently took a $1,200,000 price cut.

The unique home uses a post-tension structural system usually found in high-rise developments; the system eliminates the use of structural beams and allows for maximized ceiling heights on multiple levels. It also takes advantage of the home’s best asset: Unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay.

Guests are welcomed to the waterfront home through an 11-foot Cumaru-cladded pivot door and into a 63-foot wide living room. Interiors feature European white oak floors, Brazilian teak wood ceilings, and board-formed concrete. Two bedrooms are located downstairs, while the remaining five bedrooms are housed on the second floor. The master bath boasts a freeform floating tub and large glass-encased shower.

Interior amenities aside, Miami Beach is all about the outdoor space, and this home delivers. An infinity-edge lap pool and spa use a rainwater re-harvesting system, while 106-feet of water frontage, a dock, and outdoor kitchen round out the other features. If this looks like your Florida dream home, 825 E Dilido Drive is on the market now for $18,750,000.