Flushed with meandering foliage and heritage trees, an immense ficus presides over a serene enclave, its vast canopy and sculptural branches claiming the sky. The property and its venerable tree enthralled one couple who dreamed of building a home that would lean contemporary while preserving South Florida’s subtropical wild.

Inspired by the Pinecrest landscape, “They wanted to respect nature, creating a seamless connection between the inside and outside,” interior designer Deborah Wecselman shares. Tapped to complete this vision, she joined architect Elizabeth Starr, landscape architect Simone Stark and general contractor Chad Stark to thoughtfully embed the home within the environment. Together, they created a reserved yet modern architectural statement “that embraces the site and climate and highlights Florida living,” the architect says.

Their first priority “was to position the home so that the existing trees could thrive and become focal points from the interior,” Starr adds. As such, the entrance is nestled behind a thicket of native gumbo-limbos surrounded with ferns and carissa shrubs, keeping to the project’s “elegant green palette and highlighting the variety of plant textures and leaf shapes,” Simone explains.

Once inside, the ancient ficus flourishing over the pool terrace commands views from the central great room, seen from every vantage point through vast sliding glass panels. The open layout combining living, dining and entertaining areas ensures the tree remains the visual centerpiece of the owners’ daily lives. More glass continues into private spaces, channeling sunlight and abundant greenery into every corner.

With its elongated horizontal profile and rectilinear form, the one-story structure never overwhelms the tree line. “There’s an elegance in the simplicity of the design,” Starr says, “and our material selection was restrained but purposeful to continue that simplicity.” Fresh white paint lines the exterior and interior alongside graphic black metal-framed openings. This pristine scheme is tempered with accent walls of exposed concrete and wooden vertical louvers that cast dramatic shadows. “We found adding a bit of rawness complements the sleek, clean spaces nicely,” the architect observes.

Taking the baton, Wecselman delved deeper into the juxtaposition of materials, playing organic textures against polished finishes. Buttery oak wood infuses a palatable warmth into the floors and millwork, from bathroom vanities to the living area’s entertainment unit. More custom oak outlines the showpiece kitchen, with seamless doors concealing appliances and reeded details on the expansive island. “With the kitchen being open to the rest of the great room, I didn’t want it to feel utilitarian but more of a sophisticated space,” the interior designer explains. The signature wood tone repeats in pieces large and small, from an undulating hallway bench to the living area’s dainty vintage French stools with coiled rope accents. “It was important to carry that wood throughout, whether in a chair or little accessory,” Wecselman adds.

Cutting through the plethora of wood, the team chose black to establish a clear contrast, accentuating the window frames. Belgian bluestone composes the vast kitchen island’s waterfall countertop, covered in an invisible film “that preserves the look of the delicate material but also offers protection,” Chad notes. In the adjacent living area, black metal sharply outlines built-in shelving, alongside furniture pieces like the adjustable wrought-iron-and-glass coffee tables that slide over a pair of ottomans.

Wecselman then introduced woven details, such as the living area’s jute rug and the cane armchairs gathered by the mirrored bar. A blanket of upholstery in linen, chenille, suede and leather infuses softness. This layered tactility converges in the soothing primary bedroom, enveloped in linen wallpaper and a plush rug anchored by a leather-and-oak four-poster bed. Like the rest of the home, “Everything follows a soft, muted palette—we wanted to play with texture, rather than color,” she explains.

Outside, the interior designer imagined something clipped from classic Slim Aarons pool photographs but with a contemporary bent. Sleek vertical oak slats frame the cabana, alongside a textured limestone wall tile. Deep-seated sofas and wicker rocking chairs provide cozy seating around the fire pit, while a generous dining space and billiard table offer more excuses to gather.

But the family never needs a special reason to wander outdoors, not when the landscape beckons from every angle and the trees they fell in love with are thriving in their grandeur. “It’s really all about appreciating that view,” Wecselman observes. “This home brings the outside in and makes it comfortable in a modern way.”