How the Pros Curate Art for the Home

An art advisor and an interior designer mine their respective talents in a Coconut Grove residence defined by its homeowners’ modern tastes


Art selection and interior design are balancing acts that require boldness and expertise, endeavors best left to pros like art advisor Jessica Arb Danial and interior designer Anadir Espinoza. The two women were recently called upon by a couple of young collectors who wanted their Coconut Grove home to reflect their modern décor sensibilities, as well as display their passion for au courant painting and photography. Here, Danial and Espinoza reveal their respective approaches. 

How did each of you come to be involved in this project?

AE: I was recommended by a client, and it was early on. The art was not yet installed when I started the interior design work.

JAD: For me, it was word of mouth. I was recommended by a mutual collector friend, and the clients and I instantly hit it off.  

What is the role of an art advisor?

JAD: We serve as a bridge between a collector and the complicated, often opaque, world of art. Because of our experience and networks, we can access parts of the market that are tricky for newcomers. And we do everything—logistics, uncrating packages, stalking galleries, stressing over condition reports, and even tracking down just the right frame. 

What can you tell us about the homeowners?

AE: They are stylish, multicultural, and definite art enthusiasts. They were happy to be returning to Miami after living in Europe for several years.

JAD: I’d describe them as young, involved, and progressive collectors.  

What did they want in terms of interior design?

AE: My main role was to combine new pieces with their existing furniture, provide a color palette that would blend in organically, and prioritize spaces for their art collection.  

But there was no art for you to consider, so how did you do that? 

AE: There was more than a little imagination involved in this job.  

When it came to art selections, what were the homeowners looking for?

JAD: We prioritized living artists whose backgrounds and stories resonated with them. For instance, Sam Messer’s Seeking Signs stands out. His paintings vividly capture the mood of modern life, with each piece poetically reflecting the unique character and style of the environment in which it was created. We also chose mediums rich in color and vibrancy.  

What drove the decisions behind the look of the home?

AE: I found inspiration in a metal structure that’s visible in the open area of the home and becomes a design element itself. Upon entering the house, this structure serves as a welcome feature of sorts, but it also divides the home, creating a loft concept. That loft idea inspired many of my furniture choices to come from Italian brands. We focused on pieces that stood out for their beauty and functionality.  

Where was the art sourced from?

JAD: Various sources, including fairs like Art Basel Miami Beach and Independent in New York. The majority of the collection, however, came from galleries around the world with which I hold strong connections. 

Did the interior architecture of the house influence any of the decisions made about artworks?

JAD: The home is sun-soaked, so we did take the movement of the light throughout the day into consideration.   

What about the approach to art placement?

JAD: There are two types of collectors. One looks for artwork that fits seamlessly in size and style to “match the couch and drapes.” The other has a more profound interest in an artist’s creative process. For them, it’s the artwork that determines where it belongs, rather than the other way around. These clients belong in that second category. 

Once your involvement was done, what was the homeowners’ reaction?

AE: They were thrilled, and I wasn’t surprised. True lovers of art and interior design may be unconventional, but they’re the best clients to work for.

JAD: I’d say they’re quite happy. I am now coordinating the installation of outdoor sculptures in their garden, so I think that’s a good sign.

Story Credits:

Text by Christopher Day

Photography by Craig Denis; @anadir.decor

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