Creative Cubes Bring the Cool in Coral Gables

Changing architectural directions, a homeowner remains true to his instincts for a new home among the trees in Coral Gables

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it doesn’t always work out, collaborations between meticulous, creative designers and clients who present with ideas of their own. But when it does, the result can be a functioning statement of beauty and delight.

A social venue set the stage for the serendipitous meeting of Jacqueline Gonzalez and Carlos Prio-Touzet, a married couple who share the architectural responsibilities at Touzet Studio, and the Latin-born new owners of a nearly two-acre plot situated just outside of Coral Gables. The land had been cleared of its old structure, leaving 62 arching live oaks that were the catalysts for the client’s purchase. And they were looking for an architect who would help them shift from their previous Mediterranean, red-tile-roof look to an architectural statement that would be contemporary and elegant, and show off the treasured oak hammock.

Gonzalez and Touzet were thrilled with the possibilities of this project that two years later would result in a 13,500-square-foot home with two family rooms, a study, an office, and an extraordinary expanse for outside entertaining. And there was also a magnificent art collection to showcase.

“Everyone worked so smoothly together,” says Michael Abrams whose eponymous firm designed both of the clients’ previous homes. Abrams is himself an architect, this time focusing solely on the “soft interior design,” leaving the “hard” interior elements to Gonzalez and Touzet.

“The clients wanted unobstructed views of their property wherever possible,” Gonzalez says. The living room’s angular walls resonate with the cube-like stacks of the exterior, but also frame the lyrical lines of the trees outside. Then there is the art — large pieces dressing walls specifically designed for collected works; other pieces, like the living room’s yellow wire sculpture, Emergence by Eric Gushee, are new.

Abrams purposefully drew from a neutral pastiche of beige and gray, reminding himself that the streamlined and tailored furnishings were to be in subservience to the surroundings and the drama of the architecture. And the designers did not let space go to waste. A casual dining area is as sleek as the more formal one nearby, grabbing attention with Nemo’s “metal scaffolding” chandelier that lets the trees peek through as artist Chen Yu’s figures question individuality as only one looks on with eyes wide open. Even a hallway intrigues with Georgian artist Tamara Kvesitadze’s steel sculpture. Not only a stunning example of mechanics and design, Man and Woman is also a depiction of eternal love as the two figures begin their fascinating mechanical dance in motion.

Another double act, dual seating arrangements vie for attention in the living room. Here, elegant shelving, designed by Touzet Studio, that holds a collection the owner had been wishing to display for years — antique chess pieces from his father — delineates the living room and formal dining room. On the other side of the living space is the husband’s study. A favorite blue sculpture adds to the serene setting of the contemplative space, where a pair of Abrams-designed angular chairs sit atop a soft, striated area rug from Oscar Isberian.

With a family of five, group settings are de rigueur. At the top of the stairs, a modular sofa and a series of hexagonal accent tables that double as foot stools shape the loft — a bonus family area that segues to the private spaces, including the children’s rooms. On the other side, the master suite takes up an entire upper wing. Surrounded by a glass balcony, it stretches out over the massive cantilevered overhang of the patio. Swept with pale blues and grays, the vocabulary here is muted and tranquil with pendant lamps from Holly Hunt and a blue-gray leather headboard. Touzet Studio designed the marble-clad bath which, when spring arrives, is masked by a balcony-veil of brilliant bougainvillea.

From dappled oak shadows to the linear thrusts of the stone-clad exterior, shapes and volumes dramatically intertwine; but not even a leafy grove can compete with the architectural boldness of the patio’s roof. With no visible supports, the cantilevered ceiling juts out nearly 25 feet, a design and engineering feat, that together with every other delight, has made an integrated glade of artistic repose.

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Michael Abrams, Michael Abrams Interiors, Chicago, IL

Architecture by Carlos Prio-Touzet and Jacqueline Gonzalez, Touzet Studio, Inc., Miami, FL

Builder Oscar Hidalgo, Hidalgo ConstructionCompany, Coral Gables, FL

Landscape Architecture by Vincent Filigenzi, Vincent Filigenzi Design, Miami, FL

Text by Marina Brown

Photography by Robin Hill, Miami Beach, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

SOURCES

foyer hallway

Wall treatment and art lighting -Touzet Studio, Miami, FL

Artwork – Byron Cohen Gallery, Kansas City, MO

Wire figurine – Galerie Kornfeld, Berlin, Germany

CASUAL dining AREA

Table – Eurocraft, Inc., Chicago, IL

Chairs – Barron Custom Furniture, Inc., Chicago, IL

Centerpiece – Martha Sturdy, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Chandelier – Nemo Lighting, Lightology, Chicago, IL

Console – Noir Furniture, Gardena, CA

Sculpture – Owners’ Collection

Artwork – Schoeni Gallery, Hong Kong, China

living room

Sofas, cocktail table and club chairs – Eurocraft, Inc.,

Chicago, IL

Sofa fabrics – Coraggio Textiles, Chicago, IL

Chair fabric – Pollack-Weitzner, D&D Building, New York, NY

Artwork – Thomas Masters Gallery, Chicago, IL

Accent table – Martha Sturdy, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cocktail table – Phillips Collection, High Point, NC

Occasional tables – Century Furniture, Chicago, IL

Brown armchairs – The Flemming Group, Los Angeles, CA

Fabric – Great Plains, Holly Hunt, Chicago, IL

Display shelving – Touzet Studio, Miami, FL

Collection of figurines – Owners’ Collection

Area rugs – Zenith Rugs, Anthony, Inc., Chicago, IL

FORMAL dining ROOM

Table – Eurocraft, Inc., Chicago, IL

Chairs – Barron Custom Furniture, Inc., Chicago, IL

Vase – Owners’ Collection

Lantern light pendants – Christopher Boots,

Atelier Gary Lee, Chicago, IL

Artwork – Min Wae Aung, Hong Kong, China

sTUDY

Lounge chairs and ottoman – Eurocraft, Inc., Chicago, IL

Fabric – Coraggio Textiles, Chicago, IL

Floor lamp – Circa Lighting, Chicago, IL

Side table, pedestal and sculpture – Owners’ Collection

Area rug – Oscar Isberian Rugs, Chicago, IL

stairway loft

Stairway, railing and tread lighting – Touzet Studio, Miami, FL

Chandelier – John Pomp, The Bright Group, Chicago, IL

Loft sofa – Barron Custom Furniture, Inc., Chicago, IL

Fabric – Jim Thompson, Holly Hunt, Chicago, IL

Lounge chair – Eurocraft, Inc., Chicago, IL

Fabric – Pierre Frey, Holly Hunt, Chicago, IL

Accent tables – Urban Craft Custom Upholstery, Chicago, IL

Sculptural figurine – Owners’ Collection

Area rug – Oscar Isberian Rugs, Chicago, IL

master bedroom

Bed – Boiler, CAI Designs, Chicago, IL

Bedside tables and chest – Eurocraft, Inc., Chicago, IL

Pendant lamps – Kevin Reilly, Holly Hunt, Chicago, IL

Drapery fabric – Great Plains, Holly Hunt, Chicago, IL

Area rug – Tufenkian, Chicago, IL

master bath

Tub, shower enclosure and mirror – Touzet Studio, Miami, FL

patio

Dining table – Janus Et. Cie, Chicago, IL

Side chairs, sofa, armchairs and cocktail tables – Teak

Warehouse, Redondo Beach, CA

White garden table – Restoration Hardware, Chicago, IL

Hanging lanterns – Owners’ Collection

Wall and ceiling treatments – Touzet Studio, Miami, FL

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