Eastern Exposure in Coral Gables

Japanese-inspired design transforms a boxy 1950s Coral Gables ranch house into a sophisticated space for entertaining

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The first impression was dismal, but interior designer Juan Poggi had a vision as he walked through the warren of tiny, dark rooms in a boxy ranch home on a quiet, tree-lined street in Coral Gables. At the time, he was living in an 1,100-square-foot cottage nearby. Born in Lima, Peru to parents who frequently hosted large dinners and parties, Poggi found himself craving more space. “I love to entertain but I couldn’t fit in more than eight people,” he says. 

Poggi purchased the home in 2012 and unleashed his masterful design knowledge, honed during years of world travel, to create his masterpiece. For the extensive remodel—including expanding the home beyond its original 1,600-square-foot size—he brought in architect Robert Strell. “I would come and sit in the empty shell to figure out what I wanted while [Strell] pushed me, like I do to my clients, to go beyond,” Poggi recalls.

Poggi drew inspiration from his first trip to Japan in 2010. “The energy there is dramatically serene,” he explains. “No aggression, no one talks loudly. The style and colors of Japanese interiors and their use of the void—of empty spaces—triggers my design aesthetic. But I adapted it for my needs. The Japanese have screens to filter light and separate a home into many smaller rooms, but I prefer an open concept living area.”

The property provided ample opportunity to not only reconfigure, but to expand. “There was nothing in the back except a small concrete slab and an unkempt yard,” Poggi says. The interior square footage indoors was doubled by building out the living room into the former yard, and by reimagining the unused side porch as a foyer and gallery. “It creates an experience as guests walk in through the new front door,” he explains. 

As the indoors took shape, the outdoors beckoned for their own transformation—including an exterior facelift and new, minimalistic landscaping. Poggi created a 1,000-square-foot alfresco entertainment area with a full terrace and swimming pool, all anchored by a privacy wall that shimmers with hand-painted green Japanese tiles. As it blends with the towering palms, it also buffers the noise from the busy street nearby. And, Poggi adds with a smile, “It also hides lawn equipment.”

Velvety, wide-plank white oak replaced the dated travertine floor throughout the interior of the home. “For the warmth and zero maintenance,” Poggi says of the choice. The clever use of a gently sinuous, rift-cut, red oak wall hides an elegant bar and storage, but the pièce de résistance (and natural nucleus of the home) is the kitchen—where Poggi is known for his expert cooking skills. “I love it because it’s another creative outlet,” he says.

The design was inspired by Bar K-ya, a sophisticated watering hole tucked away in an elegant townhouse in Kyoto, Japan. “My kitchen is dark and sexy but it’s all top professional kitchen elements, scaled down for a home. Private chefs, whom I hire for special occasions, love it too,” Poggi says. “At night, you don’t see the stove. No upper cabinets and only refrigerator drawers. I designed it to be able to have a small group at the counter or host a party for 150 people.” 

Poggi is currently working on four furniture collections in France and Italy that include upholstery, tables, accent tables, and four collections of lighting designs for Boyd Lighting (from sconces to chandeliers). The first of his ten designs, the OBI Sconce, is already available online. “My home is my sanity spot and I feel protected,” he says. “All my energy was invested in this house. When you invest so much thought creating your own space, it becomes the source of your energy moving forward.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Juan Poggi, Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Text by Daisy Olivera

Photography by Kris Tamburello, Miami, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources 

Vignette 

Curved wall designed by Juan Poggi, Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Fabricated by Bon, Balance Order Nature, Coral Gables, FL

Decorative stones – Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Artwork – Wilfried Prager, Barcelona Spain

Living Room

Sofa – Living Divani, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Cocktail table design by Juan Poggi, Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL 

Occasional armchair – Maxaalto, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Ottoman – Living Divani, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Chairs – Coleccion Pierre, Hudson Furniture, New York, NY

Libra table – Eduardo Martinez, Marbello Designs, Los Angeles, CA

Lounge, ottoman and bench – Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Artwork above bench – Guillermo Fornes, Spain

Artwork above sofa – Untitled, José Iraola

Area rug design by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Fabricated by Solstys, Paris, France

Dining Area

Table – Fly, Flexform, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Chairs – Carl Hansen, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Cabinetry designed and fabricated by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Entry

Chair – Miguel Rodrigo, Owner’s Collection

Console table – Element Console, Tokuyin Yoshioka, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Gold-leaf wall covering – Custom applied 

Black and white wall installation – Nelly Garcia, Peru

Lounge

Armchairs – Grande Papilio, B & B Italia, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Glass table design by Juan Poggi, Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Artwork – Patricia Vega, Perú

Area rug design by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Kitchen

Cabinetry and island designed by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Island fabricated by Downsview kitchens, DCOTA, Dania Beach, FL

Stools – Lem Piston, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Ceiling designed and fabricated by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Master Bedroom

Bed – Maxaalto, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Side tables – Mobilfresno, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Master Bathroom

Cabinetry and glass panel doors designed by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL

Stool – Risom, Knoll, knoll.com

Wall covering – Phillip Jeffries, SFDP, Hollywood, FL

Patio 

Lounge seating – Richards Schultz, Knoll, Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

3 rings – Atelier Vierkant Luminaire, Coral Gables, FL

Sconces – Aria, Hinkley Lighting, Inc., hinkley.com

Japanese tile wall designed and fabricated by Poggi Design, Coral Gables, FL 

Throughout

Architecture – Pacheco Architects, Miami, FL

Exterior Architecture – Strell Design, Albuquerque, New Mexico 

Builder – Acertive Consulting, Inc., Jupiter, FL

Landscape Architecture – Exoticscape, Key Biscayne, FL

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