Out of the Box Design in South Beach

A designer’s own Miami Beach pied-à-terre mixes modern elegance with vintage vibes in multipurpose spaces bursting with personality

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Connecticut-based interior designer Billy Ceglia and his partner have escaped to Miami Beach for much-needed weekends of sunshine and relaxation for more than a decade. So when the time came to renovate the 1,485-square-foot “typically ’90s condo” they’d purchased some years back, the idea of spending extra time in these shores somewhat assuaged the start-from-scratch intensity of the project ahead.

“We did a full-gut remodel that literally took it down to essentially a ginormous concrete room,” says Ceglia. “The previous condo had no redeeming features, but we chose it because the location couldn’t be beat.” Just off Fifth Street in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth area, their building is nestled among shops, restaurants and cafes, and barely a block from the beach.

Due to the stringent Miami Beach permitting process and the tight labor market, renovating the three-bedroom, two-bath condo took two years. But that wasn’t the only hurdle. “The biggest challenge was figuring out what I wanted it to look like,” says Ceglia. “As a designer, you have so many ideas, and so many different looks you’d like to try. I knew going in that I wanted a super-tight color scheme, otherwise I’d drive myself crazy. So basically, it’s white, black, and two shades of blue.” Adhering to this color palette gives Ceglia the ability to easily interchange various items within the space without much thought. “You can move the art or a throw pillow from one room to another, and it will still look good,” he says.

Inspiration for the overall design came from the South Beach neighborhood just downstairs, and from as far as the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, which means a mix of modern, art deco, and classic. The result is clean and elegant without being fussy—or falling into the trap of the “all-white box” that is so typical of many ultra-modern Miami residences. 

With design taken care of, comfort became the next priority. “It had to have some cozy spaces,” says Ceglia. To that end, one such spot is the multipurpose den, which also serves as a third bedroom for guests if needed. During the day, it works as an office for Ceglia’s partner, but in the morning and evening, it becomes a “decompression room” for the two of them. “It has the most insanely comfortable sofa,” says Ceglia. “At the end of the day I like to relax and unwind; in the morning, it’s where I have coffee.”

While Ceglia admits that he’s a collector by nature, he keeps most of his extensive assortment of flatware, dinnerware, and glassware in his Connecticut home, although a few pieces have found their way to Miami. These range from glass paperweights to business cards he framed because he was attracted to the graphics on them.

These curated touches are part of what transforms a space into a home, and they are very much a defining feature of Ceglia’s personal aesthetic. “I wanted our home to reflect the architecture of where we live, but I also introduced some vintage touches, as if someone’s grandmother lived here,” says Ceglia. “People always hate to admit that they like their mother’s or grandmother’s house, but why? I try to incorporate elements reminiscent of the past, even if they are a little kooky. Otherwise, you just have a perfectly designed, impersonal box.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Billy Ceglia, Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT

Text by Judy Martel

Photography by Rayon Richards, Brooklyn, NY

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources 

Entry

Console – Etsy, etsy.com

Chandelier – Circa Lighting, Miami, FL 

Curved wall designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT

Floor designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, 

Sandy Hook, CT, and fabricated by Opustone, Miami, FL

Terrace

Lounge – Janus et Cie, DCOTA, Dania Beach, FL 

Fabric – Sunbrella, sunbrella.com 

Pillows – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Cocktail table – Janus et Cie, DCOTA, Dania Beach, FL 

Living Room

Sofa – Ethan Allen, Danbury, CT 

Armchairs – Vintage, Mostly Modern, Miami, FL

Fabric – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL 

Zebra accent chair designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT

Fabric – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL 

Cocktail table – Vintage, Chairish, chairish.com 

Lucite floor lamps – Circa lighting, Miami, FL 

Blue artwork above sofa – Wendover Art Group, Tampa, FL

Drapery fabric – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL 

Flooring – Prosein, Miami, FL

Dining Area

Table designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT 

Chairs – Vintage, Chairish, chairish.com

Banquette designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT 

Fabric – Knoll, knoll.com 

Round mirror – CB2, cb2.com

Den

Sofa designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT 

Fabric – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL 

Side chair – Billy Baldwin Studio, Middletown, NJ

Fabric – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL 

Cocktail table – Vintage, 1st Dibs, 1stdibs.com

Bar cart – Vintage, Chairish, chairish.com 

Artwork above sofa – Gallerie Mourlot, New York, NY 

Wall designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT 

Chandelier – Jean de Merry, New York, NY

Area rug – Edelman Leather, New Milford, CT 

Powder Room

Wall covering – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL 

Mirror – Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com 

Artwork – Owner’s collection 

Primary Bathroom

Cabinetry designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT 

Plumbing fixtures – Waterworks, Miami, FL

Mirrors – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Wall covering – F. Schumacher, fschumacher.com 

Flooring – Waterworks, Miami, FL 

Guest Bedroom

Bed – Ethan Allen, Danbury, CT 

B/W bedding – Restoration Hardware, rh.com 

Table lamp – Ethan Allen, Danbury, CT 

Wicker side table/stool – Vintage, Etsy, etsy.com 

Primary Bedroom

Bed – Room and Board, Minneapolis, MN 

Navy/white bedding – Ralph Lauren Home, ralphlaurenhome.com 

Bedside tables designed by Billy Ceglia Designs, Sandy Hook, CT 

Table lamp – Circa Lighting, Miami, FL 

Artwork above bed – Owner’s collection 

Drapery fabric – Kravet, SFDP, Hollywood, FL

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