Artist in Preservation


L.A. artist Flore opens the doors to his Florida home that honors original, mid-century design

The painting is by Flore entitled Jackson, created in homage to Jackson Pollock. The original Marshmallow chair by George Nelson is covered in Alexander Girard fabric produced by Herman Miller. The Eames storage unit in background faces an Eames molded plywood coffee table. Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.
In the dining area, Andy Warhol’s Flower’s hangs near a yellow velvet Eames lounge chair. A Knoll tulips-based kitchen table with walnut top is surrounded by DCM Eames chairs, below a George Nelson bubble lamp light fixture. Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.

‘There are a few key elements that I keep in mind when designing, the first being color. I like color and feel that a space should always have a color palette that is determined before any furniture is picked,” says artist and painter Christopher Florentino—known as Flore—on how he approached the interior design inside his Winter Haven home.

The kitchen features original appliances and wood cabinets with a new Andy Warhol rug. Jean-Michel Basquia’s The Head (1983) peers through in the background.
Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.

Originally designed by Gene Leedy, who was one of the pioneers of the Florida modernist movement and founders of the Sarasota School of Architecture, Flore wanted to honor the home and leave most of the original details intact. “When you walk into the house nothing stood out to you being new,” he says. “I wanted everything to look period-specific, like you walked into a home from 1963.”

The Le Chaise Lounge by Eames sits in the primary bedroom with matching vintage credenza and MCM bedside tables that hold vintage orange bedside lamps. On the wall is Keith Haring’s  Statue of Liberty
Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.
In the primary bathroom, the original cabinetry that matches the kitchen faces a walk-in jacuzzi tub and shower which opens to the back patio. Flore found vintage Rya rugs for the floor. Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.

Aside from paint and a few updates here and there, Flore left the interior finishes untouched and focused his creativity on decor and art selections. “I love low lines in furniture, which you will see reflected in most pieces I have chosen for my homes. In addition, I always approach a space with a theme (time period, color, etc.). My loft in Miami was inspired by Japanese architects, where as the Gene Leedy home was inspired by mid-century design.”

At the foot of the bed is diamond Bertoia chair by Knoll. Original DCM chair is next to a teak bed that holds crushed velvet pillows.
Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.

With his goal of maintaining the home’s bones and enhancing with pieces that paid tribute to the original design, Flore created a contemporary peek into historic modernism. “I want to live in spaces that inspire me and be surrounded by designs that I admire,” he says. “Everything becomes pieces of art.”

Scattered through the courtyard is a pair of Brazilian wood slingback chairs, a vintage red chair and Standing Companion by Kaws.
Photos by Dan Chavkin Photo.

Globally respected for his Urban Cubism collection, the final design inside the Leedy home inspired Flore to create his now popular series, The Modernist, all available through L.A. gallery Art Angels. A symphonic display of chaos and color, each work evokes the explosion of hues inside the Leedy home. “There is not a lot of separation between my life and my art.”