THE RANCH | VSHD Design
Photo credit: Koen Van Damme
Name of Project: The Ranch
Location: Orlando, FL, USA
Area: 2200 m2
Lead Designer: Rania M Hamed
Photographer: Koen Van Damme
Tuscan Transformation: Dubai-based VSHD Design expands its international portfolio with the completion of their first U.S. residential project.
VSHD Design, a Dubai-based interior architecture firm specializing in residential and commercial projects, is proud to unveil a luxurious residential design within the Four Seasons Orlando Resort in Florida. With 22,000 sq. ft. this project marks the first residential undertaking of the firm in the United States.
“From the onset, we realized that we were facing numerous challenges with this project,” notes Rania Hamed, interior architect and founder of VSHD Design. “In addition to strict regional building and environmental codes, there were requirements imposed by Four Seasons Resorts to ensure that the residence blended stylistically with its neighboring properties.”
A modern Tuscan approach
In approaching the external Tuscan theme exhibited by homes within the exclusive development, the challenge was to maintain some existing structural elements, while delivering on the client’s vision of a modern home that would be luxurious, yet warm, comfortable, and ideal for entertaining guests. The client envisioned a sort of boutique-style hotel environment that would provide family and friends with privacy and luxurious amenities, even in the absence of its owners. To achieve that challenging balance, Hamed embarked on a mission to modernize the external Tuscan façade, while infusing contemporary luxury into the home’s interior to align with the client’s vision.
While Tuscan architecture in its purest form embraces natural, rustic elements, VSHD Design avoided abundant use of materials such as brick and wrought iron in lieu of a modern interpretation. Gray brick overhangs positioned above the external façade’s windows and passages pay homage to Tuscan influences. Black frames of expansive French windows, certified to hurricane standards, provide contemporary contrasts to the façade’s white walls, culminating in a modern Mediterranean style that adheres to the Four Seasons aesthetic requirements.
To complement the structural design, VSHD Design developed all of the home’s outdoor spaces, beginning with its swimming pool. European limestone tiles, stylistic planters, and luxurious sunbeds from the Italian design house, Gervasoni, provide the exterior spaces with an authentic Mediterranean look and feel.
While the exterior exudes modern interpretations of mandated styles and standards, VSHD Design approached the interior of the house as somewhat of a blank canvas. Working with a timber structure, as opposed to concrete columns and beams, was a new experience, however, Hamed found inspiration in the challenge.
“I saw beauty in some of the original structural elements and I wanted to maintain as many of them as possible,” she explains. “I decided to leave some of the exposed beams intact, as opposed to hiding them behind a layer of gypsum.”
Exposed wooden beams reflecting the original structure’s integrity were maintained, with layers of dark stain and black metal trim added to provide a more industrial feel. Hamed also focused on ensuring seamless continuity between the home’s interior and exterior spaces. Upon entering the house, Carrara marble flooring carries the influences inward, where Tuscan-style arches define the separation of the home’s interior spaces, reinforced by clean, modern, and slightly protruding architraves. The architraves, composed of black matte stained oak, contrast with the interior’s white walls and light gray marble flooring, providing the home’s public areas with a very contemporary look and feel. In living spaces designed for more intimate experiences, Carrara marble flooring gives way to hardwood floors.
“Marble can have a bit of a cold feel to it, particularly when framed by white ceilings and walls,” explains Hamed. “We created a transition to hardwood floors to provide certain spaces, like the living room and the study, with a much warmer ambiance.”