Revitalizing a Historic Haven in Miami

A homeowner and designer contemporize a 1931 Spanish Mediterranean residence in Miami Beach by toning down, yet respecting, its gilded past

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Sometimes, when a home captures the imagination, serendipity steps in. Brittany Farinas, the founder of House of One in Miami, was redesigning a home for her friend and client Chris Paciello on Miami Beach’s North Bay Road, when another house down the street caught her eye. “Chris and I were just enamored with it,” she says. 

The 1931 Spanish Mediterranean abode had been featured on a Miami postcard back in the day, reveals Paciello, and it had long been a favorite of his. When it came on the market, the Anatomy fitness centers owner didn’t hesitate and bought it. Soon thereafter, he enlisted Farinas to give it a fresh new look while still preserving its original character. Or, as Farinas puts it: “We wanted a new old feel.”

To that end, there was plenty of editing. While the residence had been expanded to a total of 5,000 square feet and said addition was impeccable and up to code, by the time Paciello and Farinas came along, it felt outdated. “It was very ornate, very Versace,” says Paciello, referencing the late fashion designer (and once Ocean Drive resident) known for his extravagant style. “It needed to be toned down.”

Toned-down is actually a perfect way to describe the design approach. “When we first got into the house, the architectural detailing was overwhelming,” says Farinas. “There was lots of mosaic, heavy molding, and dark woods.” While some of those features, like the original tile flooring, were left in place, many others came out in favor of more contemporary materials. 

Although no structural changes were made to the house, there was plenty of tedious sanding and painting, and as walls and ceilings were smoothed out, the removal of layers revealed a pleasant surprise. “After sanding for about a week, we found that the original installer had signed his work and dated it 1931,” says Paciello. “We left that up there.”

One space that needed little work was a room tucked away near the interior circular staircase, almost hidden from view. “It used to be an office,” says Paciello, “but I saw it as a quiet space for meditation.” Farinas opted to preserve the original green tile with inlaid mosaic, but lightened the room with paint and design selections. The tones and shapes in an acrylic abstract painting by Keith Paciello (Chris’ brother) solidify the room’s intent.

After redesigning four homes together, it’s clear designer and homeowner have found their stride. “Chris never gives directions per se, but he’s very involved in all projects,” says Farinas, who’s currently working on two other houses owned by Paciello. “We work through the details together, walk through each room, throw out ideas, and then I come back with renderings. He lets me be creative and I know what he likes: a tailored, masculine, minimalist design.”

For his part, Paciello has become savvy about design and construction after some 20-plus years of operating nightclubs, restaurants, and gyms, and renovating multiple Spanish Mediterranean homes like this one. “I’ve always loved the style, and that’s perhaps because I used to live in southern California, and it reminds me of Old Hollywood. I guess I’m an old soul,” he says. “True Spanish Mediterranean never goes out of style, so when you renovate it’s a fine line of what you leave and what you don’t.” 

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Brittany Farinas, House of One, Miami, FL

Text by Judy Martel

Photography by Kris Tamburello, Miami, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources 

Living Room

Sofa – Lulu and Georgia, Miami, FL

Fabric – Holly Hunt, Miami, FL

Side chairs – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Fabric – Holly Hunt, Miami, FL 

Decorative side chairs – Vintage, Owner’s collection

Fireplace designed by House of One, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Grafton Furniture Co., Miami, FL

Drapery – Instyle Windows, Miami, FL 

Area rug – RH, Aventura, FL

Staircase Alcove

White accent chair – Nuevo Living, nuevoliving.com

Bench under window – Uttermost, uttermost.com 

Abstract artwork – Keith Paciello

Dining Area

Table – RH, Aventura, FL 

Chairs – Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com

Chandelier – RH, Aventura, FL

Photographic artwork – Owner’s collection

Kitchen

Stools – Potery Barn, potterybarn.com

Pendant lighting – RH, Aventura, FL

Powder Room

Marble counter designed by House of One, Miami, FL

Mirror – Best Home Fashion, besthomefashion.com

Sconces – RH, Aventura, FL

Primary Bedroom

Bed and headboard – RH, Aventura, FL 

Bed side chests – RH, Aventura, FL

Sconces – RH, Aventura, FL 

Decorative mirror – RH, Aventura, FL

Photographic artwork – Banksy

Chandelier – RH, Aventura, FL

Area rug – RH, Aventura, FL

Primary Bath

Cabinetry designed by House of One, Miami, FL

Tub – Signature Hardware, signaturehardware.com

Pendant lighting – West Elm, westelm.com

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