Indoors And Out

A Striking Renovation Of A 1970S Palmetto Bay Home Takes Full Advantage Of The Exterior Gardens And Plenty Of Natural Light

Story Credits

Architecture and Design:
Sandra Diaz-Velasco, Eolo A + I Design, architecture and interiors, Miami, FL
Photography:
Juan Pablo Estupinan, Miami, FL
Builder:
Jose Andreas Velasco, Sanandres Construction, Miami, FL
Text by:
Charlotte Safavi
(View full image and details by clicking on picture)

 

When architect Sandra Diaz-Velasco first became involved in the extensive renovation of what was to become a 3,300-square-foot home in the charming community of Palmetto Bay, she saw an immediate disconnect between the original 1970s house and the half-acre garden that surrounds it. “The grounds felt almost as big as the footprint of the house,” she says. “But the interior layout and overall architecture did not respond to what was happening outside at all.”

In Florida’s temperate year-round climate, the seamless connection between indoor and outdoor living is paramount. Diaz-Velasco began to work on the home’s exterior and interior elements in tandem. “Our exterior intervention resulted in a higher roof, new windows and doors, and exciting natural materials like Ipe, concrete and copper,” she says.

The exterior is designed to embellish the garden and to generate naturally flowing walking paths throughout the property, connecting exterior points of interest that are also located strategically to be viewed from the artfully crafted interiors. To the right of the garage with its exotic Ipe wood door, one of these ‘walking paths’ leads directly to the open-air social areas via a planked veranda. Diaz-Velasco designed a lap pool, too, with a cantilevered sun deck and barbeque area on one end, and a Jacuzzi spa on the other.

“We completely gutted the interiors,” says Diaz-Velasco, recalling the formerly dark, low-ceiled home with its choppy floor plan. “The architecture was modern but the layout was very poorly connected to the outside.” In addition to adding floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows for more natural light, and to raising the ceiling height where she could, the architect opened up the main floor plan, and repositioned the kitchen, dining and family rooms to the rear of the house.

Now, soaring ceilings define the dining room where tall gridded windows are framed and finished in matte black. “The newly heightened ceiling allows for dramatic windows, flooding the space with sunlight while offering a cinematic view of the lush exterior landscape,” Diaz-Velasco says.

A similar vibe envelops the family room lined with a wall of glass. Custom walnut wall panels — some providing hidden storage — back a display shelf that adds interest to the space. Low-profile furnishings shape a social grouping that takes full advantage of the garden views.

“The kitchen’s sleek, linear architectural design is coupled with maximizing its sense of space,” says Diaz-Velasco, referring to the bank of large windows above the cooktop. Even the deep teal hue of the cabinetry seems to borrow from the foliage outside.

“These spaces are now connected to the outdoor entertaining areas: the pool, the Jacuzzi tub, the barbeque area,” Diaz-Velasco says. “Before, there was no flow and everything was compartmentalized. Now, we have reoriented that chaotic layout to create welcoming, open spaces that have a natural flow indoors and out.”