For one couple’s new winter home, the location for this centrally situated Miami Beach getaway could not have been more perfect. “It is close to shopping, entertainment and the beach,” designer Rob Brown says. “The problem was the house did not fit my clients’ needs in any way. We had to knock it down.”
Having consulted with the clients on multiple homes throughout the years, the design team was up for the challenge. This latest collaboration had to be comfortable, full of character and large enough to fit their family. “They wanted this retreat to be idyllic for everyone. Their children and grandchildren visit frequently and enjoy walking to all sorts of events,” Brown says.
Looking very much as if it was carefully placed amid its lush tropical setting, the 5,600-square-foot house now lives as one with its environs. “Our firm offers architectural, interior and landscape design, so we encouraged something architecturally and artistically adventurous,” designer Todd Davis says. “Everything about this home works in harmony.”
Today, the newly built contemporary residence radiates spirited Miami Beach vibes that embrace the area’s artsy feel inside and out. Pulling up to the home, the eyes are instantly engaged with an aesthetic fusion of materials: white stucco, teak wood, glass and stainless steel. Pale to medium grays are the foundation for the designers’ color scheme and contrast well against the many white walls inside and out. To create balance, varying tones of gingers and browns were added to the modern scheme. “With that as a base, we used pops of strong green to reflect the gardens and create an indoor/outdoor aura,” Brown says.
The design unfolds with artist Zachary Oxman’s bronze gate that opens to an intimate courtyard leading to the home’s entry. Step beyond the front door clad in Peruvian hardwood planks and be “wowed” as the line of vision spirals up and around the foyer. Rather than paint the sinuous stairway crafted of raw steel, the designers decided to polish it to create a mirror finish — even though it took more time to complete. Walnut treads warm the modern, sculptural composition as it ascends to the private second-level spaces.
Unexpected details fill the home as limestone flooring flows from the husband’s study on one side of the sculptural stairway to the great room on the other. Here, a three-dimensional block puzzle playfully crosses the ceiling in the living area, dining area and kitchen. Accommodations were made to conceal the ambient lighting that was crucial in the home’s design.
A feature fireplace wall of white quartzite with green and black veining makes an artistic statement in the living area. “We wanted stone that would create interest and pattern,” Brown says. The designers added warmth with a ginger hue that wraps the 1940s wingback chairs and the soft grays of the area rug. Walls of glass welcome garden views into the elegantly casual great room.
Rather than one grand chandelier for the dining area, the design team chose four smaller vintage Mazzega Murano fixtures to illuminate the custom walnut dining table by Brown Davis. Flaunting a modern classic design on a walnut frame, the dining chairs easily seat a party of eight. Artist Donald Baechler’s botanical prints dot the wall in complement to the tropical motif.
Rosewood veneer cabinetry warms the kitchen, where a trio of pistachio-hued counter stools are fun sidekicks for the massive Caesarstone island countertop. “Natural woods and warm hues add to the comfort level in this contemporary home,” Brown says. When floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide open, the kitchen seamlessly blends with the outdoor living area. Finishing touches carry through to the outside, where a partial quartzite wall and an inlaid tile rug define the open-air dining area.
This jewel comes alive in the “Magic City” as artistic vibes embrace the spirit of its eclectic surroundings. “The home is unique, and the clients love it,” Davis says. “It’s wonderful to have all of the architecture, design and landscaping come together, and see our ideas come to fruition.”
Architecture and Interior Design
Rob Brown and Todd Davis,
Brown Davis Architecture & Interiors, Miami, FL
Builder Augusto Gil, Gil Development, Miami, FL
Text Mary Thurman Yuhas
Photography Kris Tamburello, Miami, FL