Grafton on the Water

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By Monique Stringfellow

Form and function meet on the high seas.

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 Lazzara’s 75 LSX, with interior furnishings by Grafton, launched two years ago and proved to be so successful and well received that the company went on to make 16 more.

Steve Grafton of the Grafton Furniture Company is a second-generation upholstery expert. As a young man in the late ’80s, he opted out of university, choosing instead to learn by doing. He discovered a talent for his father’s upholstery business and brought his own artistic passion to it, sketching many of his own designs. By 1991, he had sold his first million and has not looked back since.

For the last 10 years, furnishing yacht interiors has been an important part of Grafton’s repertoire. His transition into boat interiors was not without its challenges, but all interior design is about finding stylish solutions that combine excellent craftsmanship and modern designs. Grafton’s Miami-based factory manufactures all of the upholstery and cabinetry to meet client requirements, thus controlling the process from inception to delivery. Outfitting boats just requires a slightly different mindset. “It is an exact science with a number of challenges that you don’t have in a standard project. The walls-called ‘bulkheads’ on a boat-are not straight; they’re curved. As a designer your goal is to make these pieces fit together perfectly and yet appear chic, like any other elegant living area.” Grafton has worked with some of the biggest names in yachting including Hatteras, Trinity, and Lazzara.

Lazzara’s 75 LSX, with interior furnishings by Grafton, launched two years ago and proved to be so successful and well received that the company went on to make 16 more. “Grafton’s reliability has proven to be invaluable to us,” says Dick Lazzara. This year, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will mark the unveiling of the 92 LSX, the latest collaboration between the two firms. Grafton worked closely with Lazzara’s in-house team of interior designers to ensure a seamless partnership between sophistication and engineering. Grafton says that most clients have a fairly strong idea of what they want for their boat’s furnishings, and it is his challenge to execute their visions. Together, he and Dick Lazzara are working on a number of features that fall under the innovative new heading of “motion furniture”-onboard furniture that serves more than one purpose. Motion furniture is adjustable and designed for multiple uses, such as a day bed that can transform into a two-person eating area.

Grafton boasts a large proportion of international clientele from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He is proud these discriminating yacht owners have recognized that South Florida is a place where owners can find custom finishings with quality rival to that of any European designer.

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