High Seas Style

We spoke with three top designers in South Florida prior to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to learn more about how they approach style and design in these unique spaces. Gil Walsh of Gil Walsh Interior Design in West Palm Beach, Patrick Knowles of Patrick Knowles Designs in Ft. Lauderdale, and Krista Alterman of Krista + Home in Palm Beach Gardens weigh in on some of the top trends in yacht design.

Photo courtesy of Gil Walsh

Q. Yacht design has some inherent challenges due to the nature of the space. Do you think these challenges create opportunities for innovation? How so?

Walsh: We love the opportunity to approach the design by coming up with inventive solutions to make the most of a given space. Spaces need to be multi-functional and withstand the elements of the sun, sand, and sea. We’ve figured out which materials can be used to give a yacht the ost residential feel possible, which is what our clients come to us for. They want their yachts to be as comfortable as the homes we design for them.

Knowles: Absolutely. Part of the fun of yacht design is the challenge of space and storage because of the creativity it allows for. We have used upholstered headboards and side boards in cabins that hide storage behind them, wall panels that sit flush, but when pushed open to full length storage closets, custom fit shelving in the galley to ensure a chef’s collection is always at hand, and more.

Alterman: The challenges a designer faces when designing a yacht create opportunities for innovation and creativity. I think it’s always fun to have a creative challenge! When designing yachts, we spend a substantial amount of time designing the galley cabinetry and curating solutions so the glassware inside will not break while the yacht is in use. We have discovered creative ways to do this by configuring the internal framing and reinforcing drawers.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Knowles
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Q. What new design trends are emerging that you’re seeing?

Walsh: Outdoor and performance textiles are now soft to the touch and available in a plethora of designs. We aren’t limited to stripes and solids anymore.

Knowles: Whereas minimalism took center stage for a while, we are seeing a rise in maximalism, but in new ways. More lush greenery and natural materials in a space, more layering of dynamic colors and textures, and a move towards more personality-driven design in yachting than we have seen in the past.

Alterman: We are seeing a lot of LED lighting, which we love! Owners are spending more time aboard their vessels, so they are requesting things like offices, state-of-the-art gyms, and cinemas. [I see more] clients seeking to evoke nature and create a more peaceful space that offers comfort.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Knowles

Q. Yachts feature television lift cabinets and other motorized features. What role does technology play in design? How can designers use technology in an innovative way

Walsh: Some of the best technology we’ve seen onboard is the technology that stays out of sight. Clean design with integrated interfaces leaves more room for life, while affording the connectivity and entertainment we’d enjoy at home.

Knowles: Technology has completely changed the way we work in design. From 3D rendering and modeling to AI design and, of course, how we integrate the technology into the projects we design.

Alterman: Just like Smart Homes, there are now Smart Yachts. Smart tech is utilized for lighting, climate control, entertainment, and security. There are some great AV systems available now that control everything from the lights, blinds, and music through the quick touch of an iPad. It makes sense to install a system like this on a yacht.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Knowles

Q. Yachts have an inherent indoor/outdoor feel. How do you see the flow of those spaces and how do you embrace design detail in interior versus deck spaces?

Walsh: We see them holistically and approach the design as a whole, so there is fluidity and so that one area informs the other.

Knowles: The flow from indoor to outdoor living on a yacht should be seamless, with cohesion and the same attention to detail inside and out. One of the best examples of this can be seen on [a recent] project we worked on where one could wake up with the ocean quite literally at their doorstep.

Alterman: A cohesive design is important. The lines between the inside and outside should be blurred. It is important to use materials that are durable and appropriate for the marine environment.

Photo Courtesy of Krista Alterman

Visit Luxury Home Magazine of The Palm Beaches to discover more design ideas.

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