Key Largo Re-Do

Serious hurricane damage inspired Florida homeowners to start over. The results? Coastal bliss. | Photography by Martin Vecchio
PAINTERLY GREETING A pretty palm tree painting by the homeowner’s mother graces the foyer and signals an immediate sense of place.

When Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, Laura and Mark Zausmer’s home in the Ocean Reef Club on the northernmost tip of Key Largo was destroyed. An electrical fire started and “smoke covered the entire home,” says interior designer Armina Kasprowicz, of Armina Interiors in Rochester Hills.

RIGHT AT HOME The Zausmers’ Key Largo home, now a welcoming winter retreat, underwent a complete overhaul following Hurricane Irma.

What to do? Rebuild, of course — and Kasprowicz was just the designer Laura had in mind to bring beauty back to her Sunshine State getaway. Kasprowicz had previously redesigned the couple’s home in West Bloomfield, and they were happy with those results. “Armina has a great eye and makes a house a home,” Laura says. So Kasprowicz flew south to assess the damage. “It all had to be gutted to the studs,” she recalls.

In early 2018, Kasprowicz put on her design cap — or sun visor — and headed back down (several times) to the coastal land of viridian greens and splashy teals. She came up with an appealing plan that would turn out a home awash in sandy driftwood hues and serene blues, pops of sunshine yellow, and modern lines. It was perfect for the lady of the house, who has as much energy as the dolphins that splash just steps from the patio. Between practicing yoga, swimming, cycling, and golfing, Laura says her Florida home is a great place to gather. “We love to cook and enjoy entertaining,” she says. “It’s the perfect place to do both.”

SEASCAPE The family room and dining area feature the colors of the sea — a perfect complement to the warm wood tones.

Before the hurricane, the Zausmers’ home had several closed spaces with “tiny little windows,” Kasprowicz says, adding: “The kitchen had a Tuscan style and the house was designed in a French provincial style.” Today, the five-bedroom residence “doesn’t look like a traditional Florida home,” Kasprowicz says. “You get an airy feeling. It’s modernized and clean, but still has the vibe of an ocean home.”

The interior designer is keen on choosing just the right lighting and ensuring that it complements the natural light that streams into the home. In the dining room/kitchen area, for example, “the light bounces through the glass of the bubble-glass pendants,” she explains. It also bounces off light oak cabinetry. “The whites and the light cabinets make it airy and fresh and warm. It’s welcoming, functional, and durable. It’s easy, and you don’t have to tiptoe around.” This space opens to the outdoors, which makes it especially appealing.

CUE THE COAST Light bounces around the kitchen and dining area, says interior designer Armina Kasprowicz. Here, diftwood, sand, and water hues mingle.

On the adjoining terrace, which used to have a screen enclosure, an aging Jacuzzi was formerly located in the middle. Kasprowicz says the setup wasn’t functional. “There was no room for dining or furniture, so we designed a space for a new Jacuzzi and a pool (the former pool was located off the lower level of the home).”

Kasprowicz teamed up with architect Timothy James Slawson and Tommy Smith of Keys Green Builders, both based in Key Largo. “We worked really well together,” the designer says.


Project manager Michael Jacobson had “boots on the ground every step of the way,” Laura says. Laura also gives a lot of credit to the architect, who “was incredible and helped with every detail, including bringing the pool from ground level to patio level.”

Adds Kasprowicz: “I design spaces that support my clients’ lifestyle. I redesigned the spaces to connect the indoors to the outdoors, and create flow and function. As a result, they have an outdoor dining area and kitchen with a spacious lounge area.”

SHORE THING A powder room, above, and bath exude lovely appeal.

Some of the intriguing accents in the 5,500-square-foot home include a large oil-on-canvas palm tree painting (“Rainbow Palms”) in the entranceway created by Mark’s artist mother, Martha Zausmer. Beautiful family room shelving was custom-built by Vogue Furniture in Royal Oak.

For the Zausmers’ children’s bedrooms and baths, Kasprowicz left softer colors behind for punchy hues that are as vibrant as a school of exotic fish. And like Florida sunshine, one of the bedrooms is awash in dollops of yellow.

A daughter’s room evokes pure sunshine. Each of the three grown children’s rooms reflect their personality, the designer says.

The biggest challenge for Kasprowicz was that because the family loves the area so much, they wanted to be back after the hurricane as quickly as possible. “They wanted everything done within a year,” Kasprowicz says. “We worked day and night.”

The result? “We couldn’t have rebuilt such a wonderful home without the help of so many people,” Laura says. “It was a project made perfect because of Armina, Tommy, Tim, and Michael. I always felt in good hands and listened to when it came to my needs and design help. It feels good to be in every room of the house.”


Armina Kasprowicz, Armina Interiors, Rochester Hills,

Cabinetry – Lacava vanity with Porcelain Sink in White Matte, Lacava, Herald Wholesale, Troy
Flooring – Savoy Mosaics Rice Paper, Ann Sacks, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Mirror – Uttermost Pursley Nickel Oval Mirror, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sconces – Sabine Sconce, Arteriors
Shower Tile – Stone Tech Glossy Gillo, Cercan Tile, Troy

Mirror – Emma Mirror, Made Goods
Sconces – Utopia Double Sconce in Polished Nickel, Visual Comfort
Sink – Kohler
Wall Treatment – Zoffany, Enigma

Drapery – Custom, in Lulu Sunflower, Duralee
Dresser – Calvin 6 Drawer Dresser, Bungalow 5
Headboard – Avalon Queen Bed, Serena & Lily
Lamp – Artichoke Lamp, Serena & Lily
Table, Bedside – Nesting Tables in Cerused Solid Oak, Serena & Lily

Rug – Serena in Blue, Loloi Rugs
Buffet Chest – Michael Berman Catalina Cabinet, Theodore Alexander, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chairs, Dining – Michael Berman Lucille Chairs, Theodore Alexander, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chandelier – Bubble Chandelier
Drapery – Custom, Midori, Clarke & Clarke
Flooring – Vain B White, Unicom Starker, Santa Rosa Marble & Tile
Table – Michael Berman Flint Table, Theodore Alexander, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Treatment – Sea Spray, Phillip Jeffries Ltd., Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Fan – Aire XL, Minka, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Rug – Aegean Blue, Jaipur Living
Shelving, Display – Vogue Furniture, Royal Oak
Sofa – Manual Canvas Fabric, J. Redmond Designs
Table, Coffee – Rockwell Coffee Table, Made Goods

REST & RESTORE Beautiful poolside furnishings and lighting create a peaceful terrace retreat.

Artwork – “Rainbow Palms,” by Martha Zausmer
Rug – Marco Navy, Dash & Albert Rugs
Table, Display – Grier Console Table, Made Goods

Bar Stools – Sweep Arm Counter Stools, Custom, Schumacher Promenade Fabric
Basket – Palecek, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Cabinetry – White Oak Custom, AWM Group, LLC
Countertop – Porcelain Bianco Lasa, Laminam
Hood – Custom, Vogue Furniture, Royal Oak
Lighting, Bar – Etched Glass Globes, Tech Lighting
Sink – Kohler
Tray – Palecek, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Window Shade – Grass Weave Shade-Balanced Lined with Sheer Linen, Hartmann & Forbes, Tennant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Chairs – Tru Pure Sofa Corners with Kravet Soleil Collection Fabric, Henry Hall Designs
Sconces – Portico Large Sconce with Coastal Natural Iron Finish, Hubbardton Forge, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sofa – Tru Pure Sofa with Kravet Soleil Collection Fabric, Henry Hall Designs
Table, Circular – Teeter Totter Stone Cocktail Table, Global Views

Paint Color – Benjamin Moore, Pale Oak

Architect – Timothy James Slawson, P.A. A.I.A. Architect, Key Largo
Builder – Keys Green Builders, Key Largo