A Showstopping Apartment

Written by Natasha Wolff

Fifty stories above downtown Miami in the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences, a couple of New York City transplants enjoy hotel-like amenities in a one-of-a-kind home

In 2004, Lora and Fred Drasner purchased a trio of apartments in the newly built Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in downtown Miami, with an eye toward converting the units into a single 8,900-square-foot spread. "We had just sold our New York apartments and our upstate New York country home," Lora explains. "I'd stayed at almost all of the Four Seasons hotels around the world and loved their services and amenities." Furthermore, Lora says, "The views of the ocean, Biscayne Bay and the city are unsurpassed."

Indeed, the move seemed, to the Drasners, like a no-brainer, with only one tiny downside: The process of creating a single ultra-luxurious apartment-complete with five bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, two kitchens and three terraces-would ultimately take over three years. Fortunately, the Drasners, who were newlyweds at the time, had a place to crash: "We took an extended honeymoon aboard our 165-foot yacht."

Because they were moving from a comparatively traditional apartment at the Waldorf Astoria Towers, which was decorated with Fred's impressive collection of fine English antique furniture, the couple decided on a more modern aesthetic for their Miami place. As Lora says, "We wanted a fresh, airy feel, but we also wanted our space to be comfortable and livable. (They also sought a vibe that was different from their other home, in Aspen, where they spend half of their time but in that case, the scenery did much of the work: "It's a total contrast," says Lora. "Our home in Aspen has beautiful views of the mountains and in Miami we have 360-degree views of the beach.")

The Drasners worked with architect John Ike, of New York firm Ike Kligerman Barkley, on the massive renovation. "The aesthetic was very clean, but with tons of details and very rich materials," says Ike. These included French polished mahogany doors, custom mosaic floors, a gold dome ceiling, leather parquet floors, Venetia plaster and elaborate onyx and semi-precious stone baths, many of which were chosen in collaboration with David Meitus, owner of the Studium showroom in New York City. "Lora was at the helm of the ship," Meitus recalls. "When we first met at my showroom, the Drasners zeroed in on the most interesting designs, and they were not afraid to take chances and to use materials in unusual ways." One example: "For their 2,000-bottle wine cellar, they replicated the label of a 1982 bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac, one of their favorite wines, in mosaics on the floor," gushes Meitus.

The resulting apartment is grand, and the proportions are downright majestic. But the crisp, clean surroundings and luxe finishes aren't the only objects of note: New York designer Dakota Jackson created the Drasners' custom bedroom furniture, dining room tables and chairs. Paintings and statues by Fernando Botero, Manolo Valdes and Romero Britto are on display throughout. "Since we're in Miami, we thought it would be cool to collect some Latin art," Lora says.

Lora is more than just a collector: The striking blonde, a former model, is a self-taught photographer and owner of the Drasner Gallery in Aspen. (Her husband Fred is the former co-owner and vice chairman of the Washington Redskins football team and former co-owner and CEO of the New York Daily News.) She's also an avid pianist, and says that a custom grand piano from Steinway is her favorite piece in the apartment. Perhaps that's because, more than any other item, that one-of-a-kind piano symbolizes the Drasners' approach to decorating, as it combines the personal and the posh in perfect harmony.

 

A custom Dakota Jackson and Steinway Grand Concert piano and an antique English chair from 1870 sit on marble mosaic floors by Studium and a Fendi silk carpet.

Custom Dakota Jackson bedroom furniture and desk, Deborah Kass' Big Funk (2007) painting (above desk), Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italia inflatable UP5 chair.

Hugues Chevalier loveseats and a glass Fisherman table by sculptor Nicola Rosini di Santi.

Azzurro polished onyx floors and counter tops, marble walls by Studium, faucets by THG for Lalique faucets and pure gold sink by Alchemy at Davis & Warshow.

Custom Dakota Jackson dining table and suede chairs and 18th-century English gilded table by John Channon, below a Roy Carruthers painting.

Antique Charles Loof rooster (at left), Red Grooms Coney Island painting (at right), in background: antique English Regency gilded owls hang underneath a hand-painted gold-leaf dome.

Original American movie posters, 2,000-plus-bottle wine cellar, stacked glass wall sculpture by Jeremy Langfordhe.