- January 4, 2023
One of the most vexing challenges of the past several years is the concept of working at home. In the old days it meant lying on your bed in your underclothes, with papers and books strewn about. With Zoom all that became unacceptable, and you needed to find a new system, a new place, a new set-up. I’m not quite there yet, but that’s one of the reasons I’m so interested in Jeff and Katie Goldstein’s home in Country Club East. It’s full of lessons on how to integrate your work life and your home life into one seamless package.
At first glance you don’t see it as a workspace. It’s just a beautiful Lakewood Ranch home built in 2020, not all that large — 2,100 square feet — but furnished in a chic, modern style with little pops of Hollywood glamour here and there. Unless you peek in Jeff’s inner sanctum, there’s no hint that hard work is done here.
Jeff recently turned over the everyday running of his company Legend Productions to his son, Jonathan, but he is still heavily involved. And since the company produces events all over the world, that can be very a busy workday indeed. But thanks to careful planning and attention to all the details, the home becomes a boutique workspace, with various nooks and crannies and stress relievers.
“There’s so much flexibility,” Jeff says. “I can have a 5 a.m. video conference with our set designers in Asia, right from the breakfast nook with coffee and bagel at hand, then move to my desk behind closed doors for writing a script.” The home’s internet bandwidth is specifically distributed to allow him to work on the lanai as well. “From a physical perspective being able to change where I am positioned throughout the day is a huge benefit in alleviating neck and shoulder pain.”
And how many workspaces offer a swimming pool?
“That’s where the Florida lifestyle comes into play,” Jeff says, whose corporate headquarters remain in wintery Westchester County, New York. “After sitting behind the screen for several hours on a Zoom call, I’ll take a break in the spa or pool. It’s a physical and mental recharge that enhances my concentration.” It also allows for a creative reset as he moves from one task to the next.
Jeff founded his company 35 years ago, and it has become a leader in the event-planning field. It’s a stressful, detail-oriented job. “This season we have events in London, Bali, Barcelona and New Delhi, as well as several in the region, on the West Coast, and the metro New York area.” The company specializes in awards galas and multiday conferences. They do everything, including concept development, graphic and set design, and event production using state-of-the-art tech systems. Clients have included IBM and the American Heart Association. Many celebrities have appeared at Legend-created events, including Bon Jovi, Noble Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle. Challenges are constantly being met and conquered — just try getting a set moved by barge from Amsterdam to Venice, where the famous canals are at an all-time low.
Lighting is crucial to the events Jeff produces, and his expertise in the field gives the home a dramatic ambience when the sun goes down. You’ll find warm accent lighting all around, using a combination of lamps, uplighters, and candles. “I even consider the fireplace a lighting effect,” Jeff says. Attention has also been paid to the outdoor living area. “It’s a flowing extension of the interior at night. We use lamps traditionally found inside, candles, and accent lights around the pool and within the planters.” In the backyard there are a few uplighters on the palms. “This creates a layered effect without floods of light. Guests often tell us they feel they are at a resort.”
Careful thought has also been given to Jeff’s office. “Since most of my communication time is on Zoom, I designed a space where the web camera shot is the primary consideration. That’s the way so many are connecting these days and in a business situation it should not be an afterthought.” Don’t have a window in the background, he advises; here in Florida the subject may appear dark due to the contrast. And don’t be too near the kitchen. Sounds from meal prep can distract from the business at hand.
And what about the all-important background which the viewer will be staring at sometimes for hours?
“The background I chose is highly personal and I think that’s a good thing if you are OK revealing yourself a little.” Jeff has selected souvenirs from events he produced at World Cup finals in Japan and Germany — balls and game day tickets from the matches. The wall art is from Hong Kong and the photos from a market in Prague. Wood tones for the furnishings give the space a warm tone.
But the Goldsteins’ home is about much more than work. It’s a well-loved family home as well. Katie is the interior decorator. She is recently retired from a career working at elementary schools with special needs kids and for her new Florida home she has chosen crisp modern furnishings with a mostly neutral palette of grays. A leopard print rug adds pattern to the living room.
From Brooklyn, the Goldsteins have been married 38 years. They have three sons: Jonathan, who is taking over the business, and Daniel and Conner. Until recently they have been energetic world travelers, but Jeff reports that these days it’s been reduced to a “mere” 50 to 60 days annually. Jeff and Katie have a summer house on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut, but Lakewood Ranch is definitely home. Confessed foodies, they love the local restaurants, which Jeff calls “world-class.” They have also been getting to know the local theater scene and have gone to their first polo match. Now that he’s not quite so involved in the company Jeff is looking forward to his own passion projects — helping worthy organizations tell their story.
More work, certainly, but just look at the workspace.