Building and Designing a Family’s Dream Home

By Mary Lou Janson | Photography by Susan Carnes


Designing a new home for their family of five was truly a labor of love for Benjamin and Nadia Heldfond.

Their former South Tampa residence, located off Bayshore Boulevard and south of Gandy Boulevard, lacked the space they needed and amenities they desired.

When a waterfront parcel became available in a Westshore neighborhood, that also moved them closer to other family members, they quickly bought the lot and began planning the house of their dreams.

METRO Home Tour: 5120 W Longfellow Ave Tampa FLTo accommodate style preferences, Benjamin likes dark colors while Nadia is drawn to lightness and brightness, the couple collaborated with David Seidenberg, a principal with Bayfair Custom Home builders. Results reveal stunning spaces and flowing layouts  featuring dramatic wood beams, window frames and floors that contrast with neutrally shaded walls and ceilings.

METRO Home Tour: 5120 W Longfellow Ave Tampa FLTo fully furnish and finish the five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath home, the pair turned to interior designer Enrique Crespo, founder of Crespo Design Group.

“This was a blank slate that I was able to create into a home that is comfortable and livable, yet stylish and current,” Enrique Crespo said.

The custom-built, two-story, 7,000-square-foot residence was designed with the demands of an active family in mind, providing functional pieces and places, as well as areas    suitable for entertaining.

METRO Home Tour: 5120 W Longfellow Ave Tampa FLFurnishings and fabrics had to be durable enough to accommodate the wear and tear of day-to-day demands from the household that includes son Asher, 14, daughter Izzy, 4, and the youngest son, Jackson, 2, as well as the family pet, a mixed breed bulldog and pit bull named Alabama; and the floor plan needed to fully embrace the waterfront it overlooks.

“One of the things I expressed to the builder was that when someone walks in, I wanted a wow factor,” Benjamin Heldfond recalled. Twelve-foot high ceilings, wall-to-wall windows and folding glass doors flood both floors with natural light, while framing beautiful bay views.

“At night we can see the lights of the bridge and the reflection of the water from our bedroom. It is so peaceful here, it is a game changer. We trusted Bayfair and Enrique and we could not be happier,” added Benjamin Heldfond.

Strategically placed pops of bold colors, distinctive light fixtures, patterned rugs, textured walls and works of art the couple collected over the years, that include a prominently placed commissioned painting by artist Gregory Siff, combine with custom furnishings, select pieces from the Heldfond’s former home and family heirlooms to create a captivating interior.

METRO Home Tour: 5120 W Longfellow Ave Tampa FLThe contemporary paintings also served as inspiration for the color palettes Crespo incorporated into select rooms. The more minimal colors featured in a canvas drove his design decisions, enabling him to bring both balance and beauty to the space.

METRO Home Tour: 5120 W Longfellow Ave Tampa FL“I wanted to bring out the colors that you see least in the painting,” Crespo said, noting the use of yellow silk on the dining room chairs and the accompanying amber, blue and yellow drapes.

Because this home was the first the couple designed together, it provided the perfect way to portray their love for each other.

A neon light installation, custom-made for this residence, was installed at the entrance to their master bedroom featuring words from the Coldplay song “Green Eyes.”

“When that song first came out, Ben and I were (in the early phase of) dating. The lyrics were so applicable on every level, except neither of us have green eyes. Imagine having the most perfect love song but the hook doesn’t fully make sense,” Nadia recalled. “We actually both had burdens when we met and we truly helped support each other and give calm to each other’s storm. It’s like he is my anchor and I am his rock.”

That same song was played at their wedding and today the lyrics serve as daily reminders of their mutual devotion.

Mounted on the wall is the verse:

I came here with a load

And it feels so much lighter

Now I met you

The remainder of the chorus, which is not on display, continues:

And honey you should know

That I could never go on without you

Even the reference to green eyes eventually gained relevance when their youngest son arrived, revealing eyes of a greenish and hazel hue.

“Total recessive miracle,” Nadia said.            M


click on images to enlarge or view as a slideshow






© Tampa Bay METRO Magazine and Blog  |  © Metro Life Media, Inc.