After designing homes for her myriad of clients, interior designer Carmen Alcaraz Gomes turned a creative eye to her own condo on the 12th floor in one of the two iconic twisted towers of Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove, Fla. She was excited to personalize the 4,400-square-foot space that she and her husband Daniel Berrebi, along with the youngest of their six children, were eager to call home. “We picked this beautiful building because all of the rooms face the spectacular ocean views,” Gomes says.
Gomes faced immediate challenges as she began to design her home in the twisting glass tower that appears to turn as it capture panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The condo surprises with lofty 12-foot-high ceilings, expansive walls of glass, deep terraces and about 10 columns spread among various rooms.
Nowhere are these details more impressive than in the main social areas, where the towering columns and architectural illusions command attention. Just beyond an entry that excites with the designer’s interpretation of a vertical moss garden, a palette of white walls and Calacatta marble flooring provide a graceful canvas for minimalist furnishings that allows the eye to focus on both the breathtaking vistas and dramatic architectural elements. Crafted of brushed metal and wrapped with Italian hexagon mosaics, the first column makes a big statement in the living area as it leans in perfect complement towards a splashy, contemporary canvas by Brazilian artist Jotape. “I designed the column to look like art while keeping the rest of the interior scheme monochromatic with gray accents to echo nature,” the designer says. “The ocean had to be the main focal point.”
Gomes repeated the mosaic column in the dining area, where gatherings become ethereal experiences as natural light washes over the all-white space during the day, and the clear night sky offers an ever-changing display of twinkling stars in the evening. A vertically recessed white-lacquer panel backs the horizontal “Labyrinth” sideboard to add contrasting visual excitement to the linear space. Here, a glass-topped dining table easily seats a party of 10, while a silver bench sits nearby to provide the perfect perch to watch glorious sunsets over the water.
Although Gomes readily admits her husband does the cooking, she loves the look of her contemporary kitchen beginning with the dominant center island topped in Calacatta marble. Designed to combine style with ease-of-care, this casual culinary space is lined with both dark wood and light-beige lacquer cabinetry that houses top-of-the-line Miele appliances. “My husband is talented like a chef and cooks for us about four times a week,” the designer says.
Nearby, the bright and cheery breakfast area is a favorite spot for the family to enjoy those savory culinary delights morning, noon and night. “I really like this room because it’s fresh and airy with great views of the ocean,” the designer says.
In the master bedroom, stunning walnut paneling evokes both intimacy and elegance to create the peaceful ambiance Gomes desires for relaxation. “In between the two wood levels, I placed a niche of LED lighting,” the designer says. “I also used a simple sheer fabric for the drapery so we can see the ocean.”
Outside, the balcony is designed to be calm, modern and practical with an exhilarating shipboard view of the Coconut Grove Marina. Casual furnishings shape intimate groupings for family and friends to enjoy a brisk cup of Joe, midday cocktails, or an early evening flute of champagne while dining alfresco.
The designer gets excited each time she enters her new home because it has all come together like a short sweet dream. “I wanted a chic yet easy and modern space that is also timeless and pleasing to the eye,” Gomes says. “The statement is simple yet visually interesting. I love it and my husband loves it. We are very happy!”