Colorful Coral Gables Home is an Artistic Hub

Having met in South America 40 years before, friends now team up to create an artistically memorable home in record time

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When fiber artist Evelyn Politzer called her longtime friend and seasoned architect and designer, Elizabeth Steimberg, to announce the couple’s purchase of a home in Coral Gables, the New York-based Steimberg was delighted. She was happy to be involved in the new design of the house, but just as quickly, surprised at the haste in which the entire project needed to be completed: five months, in time for their daughter’s wedding reception, which the couple planned to host in their 8,000-square-foot home. But Politzer, who is from Uruguay, and Steimberg, from Argentina, had worked together on two previous Politzer homes, and their South American connection, the architect and designer says, “made the collaboration easy.”

Still, there was much to do. “Though large, the house was dark,” Steimberg says. “Heavily patterned marble flooring, dozens of massive, ornate chandeliers, and dark molding everywhere.” Unusual ceiling heights, varying even within rooms, were challenging. The living room, a visual hub of other rooms, was a 22-foot-high circular space, interrupted only by an internal balcony with its foliage-like, wrought-iron bannister. And too, there was the Politzer’s affection for traditional furnishings, some pieces handed down from grandparents.

At the time, Politzer was experimenting with new directions in her own textile art. Trained as an attorney, she had begun tapestry-making and weaving in Uruguay. Later in life, she began her love of working with fabrics, especially the soft wools native to her home country, feeling the “hand of the dyers” alongside her own. And as she “painted with yarn,” the artist began to work more freely, using more colors, letting the forms dictate themselves. This is the artistic impulse that Steimberg would tap to fashion the home inside and out.

But first, there were the architectural changes. Dark wood molding went. Energy efficient recessed lighting replaced the many chandeliers. Erratic ceilings were modulated. And whites began to dominate in what might have once been a heavily ornamented Mediterranean villa. “We used a number of pieces the couple loved from their previous home,” says Steimberg, reupholstering or redesigning as the setting suggested. The use of red, Politzer’s favorite, was a must.

“The living room commanded something extraordinary,” Steimberg says. The architect had seen some of the newest pieces in Politzer’s studio. They were small, but filled with fun, whimsy and color. Steimberg suggested that they collaborate in designing a wonderful luminaire to fill the aerial space of the columnar social area. Steimberg hand-sketched the vertical dimensions with possible hanging designs, and laid out the way the furnishings would circle beneath the luminous, cascading sculpture. It was a challenge that, despite the time crunch, Polizter couldn’t resist.

Using Steimberg’s chosen colors of red, orange, green and blue, the artist knitted elongated “flutes,” that like magical lilies send their hues throughout the home. In the adjoining dining room, the walls resonate blue. The kitchen continues the original’s monochromatic bent, adding a citrus hue for flavor. The master bedroom pulls in spring greens and chartreuse. And a guest room abandons itself to a rich, tropical red.

Artistic ebullience is not constrained to the interiors, not even the studio that Steimberg created for the weaver’s textile work. Outside, Politzer’s mango trees — over two dozen on the property — have become accomplices in artistic expression as the knitted arms of Tree Huggers embrace the trunks in a soft caress. Or maybe it’s a tickle. As for the party? Perfect. And the house? A perfect fit.

Story Credits: 

Architecture, Interior Design and Creative Art Direction by Elizabeth Steimberg, Elizabeth Steimberg Architects, New York, NY

Builder Ernesto Fuentes, EF Consultant Corp., Miami, FL

Text by Marina Brown

Photography by Carlos Domenech, Miami, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

SOURCES

living room

Sofas – Roche Bobois, Coral Gables, FL

Dragnet lounge chairs – Kenneth Cobonpue, New York, NY

Cocktail table – Creative Sources, South Miami, FL

Vintage occasional table and floor lamp – Owners’ Collection

Throw – Evelyn Politzer, Miami, FL

Artwork in hallway – Yolanda Sanchez Studio, Miami Beach, FL

Red accent pillow fabric – Mongolian lamb, etsy.com

Draperies and print accent pillows – Wallpaper & Drapes,

Doral, FL

dining room

Dining table – Chai Ming Studios, Chicago, IL

Vintage host chairs – Owners’ Collection

Side chairs – Restoration Hardware, South Miami, FL

Light pendants – Flos, New York, NY

White artwork on wall – Ignacio Iturria, Montevideo, Uruguay

Black and white artwork – Anibal Fernandez,

San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina

Drapery fabric – Bergamo, Donghia, Inc., D&D Building,

New York, NY

Area rug – ABC Carpet & Home. New York, NY

art studio

Table – Restoration Hardware, South Miami, FL

Artistic chaise lounge – Evelyn Politzer, Miami, FL

Area rug – Stark Carpet, D&D Building, New York, NY

kitchen

Cabinetry and island – Refaced by EF consultant Corp, Miami, FL

Counter stool – Bend Goods, lumens.com

Light pendants – Tech Lighting, Circa Lighting, New York, NY

master bedroom

Raw silk headboard – Hidalgo Upholstery, Miami, FL

Bedside tables – lumens.com

Light pendants – Elizabeth Steimberg Architects, New York, NY, and Evelyn Politzer, Miami, FL

Benches – Laurinda Spear, Aaron Mapp at 1stdibs.com

Sofa – Custom redesign by Elizabeth Steimberg Architects, New York, NY

Reupholstered by Upholstery Soroa, LLC,

Miami, FL

Drapery fabric – Wallpaper & Drapes. Doral, FL

Area rug – Zipcode Design, wayfair.com

guest room

Headboard – Elizabeth Steimberg Architects, New York, NY, and Evelyn Politzer, Miami, FL

White bedside table – lumens.com

White floor lamp – Mondo Collection, New York, NY

cabana bath

Vanity – Waterworks, Miami, FL

Stone tile – Artistic Tile, New York, NY

pool area

Pool – Refinished by EF Consultant Corp., Miami, FL

White sculpture and Karim Rashid lounge chairs – Studio Vondom, MDD, Miami, FL

throughout

Recessed lighting – Lighting Cooperative, Brooklyn, NY

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