Tropical Breeze

The waterfront has never looked so good as extraordinary views of Florida’s beautiful Biscayne Bay envelop this modern home in Bay Harbor Islands

Story Credits

Hugo Mijares, One D+B Architecture, Miami, FL
Fabio Ventresca, Miramar, FL
Landscape Architecture:
Domo Studio LLC, Miami Beach, FL
Text by:
Regina Kaylie
(View full image and details by clicking on picture)


Dreams really do come true as they did for the homeowners of this 1950s-style house that remarkably morphed into a modern tropical haven in Bay Harbor Islands. Right from the start, architect Hugo Mijares’ designs leave an eye-opening impression that cannot be ignored. Old becomes new when major renovation issues develop mid-stream that prompt a full-scale demolition. The result, a sprawling 6,100-square-foot, ultra-sleek home that is abound with the most cutting-edge technology. “Once the project was fully underway, it was rather seamless with limited challenges as the homeowners were heavily involved and knew exactly what they wanted,” Mijares says. “The home spans 60 feet in width to capture views of the bay from nearly every angle.”

Comprised of weathered wood and gray ash stucco, the exterior composition fosters a light and clean appearance. Intentionally chosen to allow the lush landscaping and pristine water to pop, Mijares selected a light gray concrete and Basaltina stone for the flooring.

Here, the star of the show is the infinity edge pool that is shaped in soothing shades of gray and blue mosaic tile that seamlessly become the water’s counterpart. “We kept the palette very simple in order to bring nature’s colors into the space,” Mijares says. If that weren’t enough, ingenuity is obvious as the well-defined pool steps down to the lawn. Relaxation is prevalent with built-in beds that hover over the pool. Made of concrete and topped with a soft mattress pad, the design not only speaks to comfort, but has an inviting appeal. Alongside, large-scale planters are poised to house palm trees for shade — an interesting concept in lieu of the typical outdoor umbrella. And strategically situated, a spiral stairway leads up to the rooftop terrace. “I deliberately kept the stairway hidden so guests can organically discover it,” the architect says.

By no means ordinary, the cabana is actually a solid gray voluminous unit that stretches from the back of the home to the front, blurring the boundaries between indoors and out. Starting from an outdoor bathhouse, the space transcends throughout the home into a kitchen, garden, bedroom and laundry room.

“The home is like a convertible,” says Mijares in reference to the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that retract behind the walls. The concept was designed to create an open environment that lends itself to the essence of the quintessential southern home while welcoming the brilliant Florida sunlight. Beyond aesthetics, intelligence is built into the system with a very sophisticated reflective glass coating to reduce heat and eschew harsh UV rays while efficiently cooling the house.

The interior scheme was designed to keep an open flow throughout the home with the main focus on the elaborate view. Porcelain flooring echoes the appearance of whitewashed wood with a pattern that points the eye toward the ocean. Here, straight and clean edges give modernism a new name as the space is constructed to resemble the setting of an art gallery in effort to display the homeowners’ collection.

And so the story goes from old to new as one couple’s dream transforms this mid-century house into a modern tropical haven on Biscayne Bay.