Tropical Modern Miami Oasis is Rooted in Beauty

In South Miami, a seasoned designer strikes a beautiful balance of art and nature in her magical dream home

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For some, it’s the curb appeal in a charming neighborhood setting. For others, it’s the grand-scale architecture of a luxurious property. But for designer Luciana Fragali, it was a tree—a magnificent 400-year-old banyan rooted in all its sprawling splendor like an enchanting fantasy dream. Comfortably at home within the Old Florida allure of South Miami’s Ponce Davis neighborhood, the majestic specimen appeared to be awaiting an elaborate home—still under construction—that would someday surround it. Fragali and her family happened on the lot while riding their bikes through the neighborhood when she first spotted the tree between the gaps of the construction gates.

“I was awestruck,” says the owner and principal of Design Solutions. “I went right up to it and felt the most amazing energy ever—a happiness I cannot explain.”

Hours later, she told her husband, David, she had to have this house. Immersed in the real estate business, he knew it was not on the market, yet she persisted. But a call to the construction company went unanswered.

“That evening, I dreamed about that tree all night,” says Fragali, “and the very next day, we got a call from the developer. One week later, we had a deal and began building our dream house around our tree.”

Situated on a prime 14,547-square-foot lot, the 6,000-square-foot tropical modern oasis was designed by Cesar Molina, an architect known for his contemporary Balinese-style homes throughout the area. Having purchased the home when it was only a shell, Fragali seized the opportunity to inject her input without having to change much of anything already standing. Because the house was planned as a spec home by the developers, she was able to step in and create a fully customized design. “I called Cesar to ask him what his original vision was for the home,” recalls Fragali, “and sure enough, his vision aligned with what I had in mind. The rest came together magnificently.”

First, the designer selected a gorgeous split-cut coral stone, uncommon in Miami and much more costly than regional stones, for interior and exterior applications. However, when it came to the rest of the material choices, Fragali was determined to ensure Molina’s vision was respected. She even consulted with him about the types of plants he had envisioned for the exterior. “The interiors were completely done by my firm,” she notes. “We stuck with the floor plan since the shell itself was complete, but we were able to make some changes in drywall, recessed ceiling designs, and lighting.”

Throughout, expertly crafted custom millwork, including stunning accent walls, niches, built-in display cabinetry, and a state-of-the-art custom kitchen, characterize each space with rich patinas and innovative touches. But it’s the exquisite artwork sprinkled from room to room that truly brings this home to life. Upon entering through a grand Brazilian chestnut door, where one is greeted by a custom-made round pink onyx table, the eye is immediately drawn to a graphically powerful painting on the living room’s stone accent wall. Created by Manolo Valdes, the piece was specially made for Fragali to commemorate their partnerships and collaborations over the years. Moooi’s sinuous Flock of Light chandelier centers the space, separating the living room and adjacent dining area. The entire room faces 10-foot sliding glass doors allowing picture-perfect views of the pool and gardens. Above the dining table, the designer chose a Dew Drops chandelier by Boris Klimek—a piece near and dear to her heart: “It represents dew drops sparkling on a thin blade of grass, revealing the elemental beauty of nature that continues to fascinate us.” Fragali also incorporated extensive Australian walnut millwork and two custom wine refrigerators within the dining space.

In the kitchen, Natori Azul polished marble applied to the waterfall island, countertops, and backsplash creates a dynamic visual impact. Ivory honed-marble floors counterbalance the room’s bold black accents. Sleek appliances and custom cabinetry and drawers bring elegance and high functionality to the space. “The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms as it overlooks the family room where my children play,” says Fragali. “What I love about this house is that anywhere you are inside, you feel like you are outside—always at one with nature.”

For the color scheme, Fragali composed a neutral palette infused with whimsical decorative
accents. Skillfully demonstrated in the primary bedroom, the rich earthy hues of walnut, bronze, moss, and ivory radiate an organic essence, blurring the lines between inside and out. The designer also selected classic pieces that would stand the test of time and incorporated meaningful collectibles acquired during her many travels. 

“All [our design decisions] were based on comfort and beauty,” she says. “This is the house where we want to raise our kids and build amazing memories, which is what we believe life is all about.”

Story Credits: 

Interior Design by Luciana Fragali, Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Exterior Architecture by CMA Design Studio, Coral Gables, FL

Builder Mocca Construction, Miami, FL

Landscape Architecture by Overland Landscape, Miami, FL

Text by Jeanne de Lathouder

Photography by Craig Denis, Miami, FL

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources

Back Exterior

Sculptures of women – Manolo Valdes, Manolo Valdes Studio, New York, NY

Lounge chairs and side tables – Kettal, Coral Gables, FL

Umbrellas – Kettal, Coral Gables, FL

Day beds – Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Pool designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Mocca Construction, FL

Stairway

Sculpture – Bruno Catalano, Galaries Bartoux, Miami, FL

Artwork on wall – Luciana Fragali, Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Floating stairs designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Mocca Construction, Miami, FL 

Living Area

Entry table and ottomans – Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Lighting – Moooi, Fadecci, Miami, FL

Sofa – Cassina S.p.A., Meda, Italy

Side chair – Jader Almeida, Brazil

Round chair – Sergio Rodrigues, Espasso, Miami, FL

Cocktail table – Roberta Schilling Collection, Miami, FL

Stone wall designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Mocca Construction, Miami, FL

Artwork of face – Manolo Valdes, Manolo Valdes Studio, New York, NY

Area rug – Oriental Rugs, Miami, FL 

Dining Area

Table – Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Chairs – Jader Almeida, Brazil

Lighting – Boris Klimek, Fadecci, Miami, FL

Wall, cabinetry, and display shelves designed by Design 

Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Fulia Inc., Miami, FL 

Kitchen

Cabinetry designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by MiaCucina, Miami, FL 

Backsplash and island designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Fine Surfaces, Doral, FL 

Stools – Jader Almeida, Brazil

Pendant lighting – PH 5 Pendant, Louis Poulsen, Fadecci, Miami, FL

Family Room

Sofa – Baxter, Miami, FL

Round cocktail table – Jader Almeida, Brazil

Brown ottoman – Jader Almeida, Brazil

Green ottoman – Roberta Schilling Collection, Miami, FL

Green chairs and foot stools – Minotti, Miami, FL

Beige chair and foot stool – Sergio Rodrigues, Espasso, Miami, FL

Console table – Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Orange ottomans – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Art above console – Abraham Palatnik

Area rug – Minotti, Miami, FL

Primary Bedroom

Bed designed and fabricated by Artefacto, Miami, FL

Bedside chest – Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Hanging lighting – Multi-Lite Pendant, Louis Weisdorf, GUBI, Fadecci, Miami, FL

Ceiling light – Kosa LED Flushmount , Sean Lavin, Fadecci, Miami, FL

Bench – Artefacto, Miami, FL

Oval lounge – Anima Domus, Miami, FL

Wall behind bed designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Fulia Inc., Miami, FL

Drapery fabric – Casa Mayo Design, Miami, FL

Area rug – Oriental Rugs, Miami, FL

Primary Bathroom

Cabinetry designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by MiaCucina, Coral Gables, FL 

Wall behind sink designed by Design Solutions, Miami, FL, and fabricated by Fulia Inc., Miami, FL

Tub – Maison & Co. Doral, FL

Loggia

Outdoor seating – B&B Italia, Miami, FL

Decorative chair – B&B Italia, Miami, FL

Outdoor dining table and chairs – B&B Italia, Miami, FL

Area rug – Design Solutions, Miami, FL

Throughout 

Artwork – Galaries Bartoux, Miami, FL

Porcelain fabrication – Moderno Porcelain Works, Sunrise, FL

Concrete surfacing – Cement Designs, Miami, FL 

Automation – Tech Squad AV & Automation, Boca Raton, FL 

Appliances – Mia Appliances, Miami, FL

Window treatments – Casa Mayo, Miami, FL

Wall coverings – Casa Metier, Miami, FL

Greenery – Ana Roma Floral Design, anaromadesign.com

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