In 2010, Dolphin Tower was famously evacuated due to a fractured concrete support slab that threatened the structural integrity of the entire building. What was initially thought to be a six-month inconvenience turned into a five-year ordeal, as fresh obstacles emerged and repair costs mounted. Today, the tower is repopulating with owners, new and old, excited for a future in Dolphin Tower. SRQ spoke with Adrienne Barrack, chairwoman of the Dolphin’s design committee, about turning a two-bedroom in a previously troubled tower into her place of Zen. To recreate the space to Barrack’s ideal, she enlisted the help of Joe Pansullo from Trend Building and Development, as well as her old designer friend, Ronald Giarusso. In the rear of the bedroom, built-in closets flank a Buddha at the window and the small sitting bench doubles as storage, courtesy of Giarusso. 

Photo 1

The Mission

I wanted calm. When I need to feel calm, I sit here and just look. It’s the colors that you use. And I happen to like the punch of a bright color against a more subdued coloring. Sometimes I walk over to touch the Buddha to give me that serenity. I’m not a Buddhist, but I’m a peaceful person. I have a lot of energy, but at the end of the day there are times that I’ve got all these thoughts and all these ideas and it’s overflowing. So I walk over there, touch the Buddha and sit in my chair with my notepads or read. Each of the rooms has their own character and I love them all. It’s hard for me to leave the apartment because I feel so comfortable here. Owner Adrienne Barrack 

Photo 2

Staging Grounds

It has calm, it has serenity, it has all these pictures that bring to life the past that we take with us. I wanted a little art deco, and the drapes represent that. I’m also very big on pop colors. That’s the fuchsia. I can do an all-beige room and just throw a pop color. And pop color pillows I can change as frequently as I want. But these, I’m keeping because there’s a flow between this coloring and that picture. I carried through the color scheme and your eye travels from this color schematic onto the picture of the woman. There’s a flow that takes place, and I pride myself on doing that. Owner Adrienne Barrack 

Photo 3

Above: Every woman’s picture in this apartment represents a period of time in my life. This is my American
Le Penseur­­—The Thinker. For 10 years I thought about a big decision that I had to make, and I finally made it. And in that bedroom, the large post-a-picture that we had beautifully framed, is where I am today. You’ll see, she’s very calm.
Owner Adrienne Barrack


Barrack: This is my safe haven. 

Pansullo: Some of these things, most units don’t have. The finish is a flat wall instead of having texture. The old walls in this building were cracked. They had huge textures on the ceilings and the walls. We got rid of all that. We dropped ceilings three inches so we could build a flat ceiling.  

Giarusso: [Hidden storage] is a trick I used up north for myself actually. But it’s such a deep room, we have the room to pop it out and give it more closet space. Plus it’s extremely charming. 

Barrack: And when we go back to the northeast, I have my winter clothes that I can just throw into the luggage. Nice and easy. There’s practicality in me because I’m a woman. 

Giarusso: The millwork—all of the trim, the picture framing—is really my big thing, especially with the ceilings being lowered. 

Pansullo: This is a structural column that goes through the whole building. So we had to keep something there in order to dress that up. You do something to make it look like it’s not there.

Giarusso: The bump-outs carry piping and support systems, so make them look purposeful. And this worked out because it separates the room.