When fashion designer René Ruiz recently downsized from a large residence to a 1,200-square-foot downtown Miami condominium, he wanted to create a simple yet sophisticated space around the art that he loves. With a collection of 10 colorful Marilyn Monroe photographs and a variety of other art, including works depicting his native Cuba, Ruiz designed his 43rd-floor apartment in gray, white and black highlighted by bright orange, red and yellow hues from the art. “I wanted to be sure the art would tell the story with a contemporary look for my new bachelor pad,” Ruiz says. “The space is all about Miami with a New York feeling.”
With off-white limestone flooring, walls of white, and a combination of recessed and fixture lighting, Ruiz was eager to take advantage of the beautiful Biscayne Bay views while keeping the design uncluttered and functional for entertaining, relaxing and working. “The views inspire my fashion design,” says Ruiz, who has created luxurious, original fashions for celebrities like Sofiá Vergara and Deborah Norville. “I face east, but the reflection of other buildings brings light into my space. Sunset is magical when I see blues, greens, and the reflection of the sun like a gold paint. The scene is mesmerizing and has influenced my resort collections.”
Indeed, the space’s design coordinates with his fashion sense. Colorful reproductions of famed pop artist Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe” preside over the living area. The art makes a bold statement for Ruiz because it has become a symbol of his longtime passion as well as the original inspiration for his fine clothing collection. “I have been a Marilyn fan since I was a kid and continue to watch her glamorous 1950s films like Some Like It Hot and How To Marry A Millionaire,” says Ruiz, the winner of a 2018 Emmy for part of his work as a host on Miami Dade College-TV’s cinematic documentary series Fashion Forward.
More Marilyn Monroe prints highlight the bar area where vintage 1950s charm meets contemporary living. A favorite piece is the custom acrylic console that fits over a vintage wood bar caddy from Brooklyn Flea, and became a central focal point.
“This amazing ensemble makes entertaining easier and fun,” Ruiz says. “I read 1950s books for details and ideas on how to serve vintage cocktails with appetizers like prosciutto and parmesan pastries, and thinly sliced veal and tuna capers.” A cool, stainless steel backsplash stands out in the wood and metal lined kitchen, ideal for the light cooking that Ruiz enjoys.
Nearby, an untitled oil on canvas, 1998, by Venezuelan painter Oswaldo Subero, and a 2014 photograph by Venezuelan artist Arturo Herrera top the piano while a 2000 charcoal on ripped white Fabriano paper by Cuban artist Kcho dresses the wall. Continuing his art as the dominate theme in the master bedroom, Ruiz arranged a photo trio of 1960s Russian astronauts above the custom bed crafted of American walnut and appointed with lovely Frette linens in white.
Designing his home was a wonderful experience for the detail-oriented Ruiz. He is happy and content yet continues to look for new furnishings to make everything perfect. “I am thrilled with the design and always looking for that next special piece,” he says.
Interior Design by René Ruiz and KOM Design Studio, Miami, FL
Text by Linda Marx
Photography by Jerry Rabinowitz, Green Acres, FL
Sofa and accent pillow – KOM Design Studio, Miami, FL
Fabric – Rothman Associates, Miami, FL
Arne Jacobson Egg chair – Fritz Hansen, New York, NY
Eames lounge chair and Noguchi cocktail table – Herman Miller, New York, NY
Vintage occasional table – Brooklyn Flea, Dumbo,
Orange vase, green vase and artwork – Owner’s Collection
Sculptural Maddy vase – Arteriors, Carrollton, TX
Vintage table lamp – Chelsea Flea Market, New York, NY
Area rug – Oriental Rug Company, Miami, FL
bar area vignette
Buffet – KOM Design Studio, Miami, FL
Vintage bar caddy – Brooklyn Flea, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY
White crystal vase – Two’s Company, Inc., Elmsford, NY
Artwork above console – Owner’s Collection
Cabinetry – Snaidero USA, Coral Gables, FL
Counter stools – KOM Design Studio, Miami, FL
White Roman vase – Made Goods, D&D Building, New York, NY
living area vignette
Piano – Essex Upright Pianos, Steinway & Sons, Astoria, NY
Artwork and photograph on piano – Merzbau Gallery, Miami, FL
Artwork next to piano – Owner’s Collection
Bed and bedside chests – KOM Design Studio, Miami, FL
Vintage table lamps – Chelsea Flea Market, New York, NY
Photographic art above bed – Owner’s Collection
Armchair – Brownstone Furniture, Richmond, CA
Area rug – Oriental Rug Company, Miami, FL