With its pristine beaches, waterfront golf courses and thriving art scene, Miami Beach beckons as an idyllic escape for an erudite Manhattan couple. Eventually lured more permanently, the empty nesters purchased a vacation pied-à-terre in the city with an expansive wraparound balcony and spectacular views of the ocean and skyline.
To infuse it with their personality, the couple turned to designer David Scott. “Besides having very good taste, David likes to work collaboratively,” says the wife, who desired a hands-on experience outfitting the condo. “He’s a dream.”
Although the owners appreciated the high-rise building’s contemporary architecture by Norman Foster, they preferred a softer design for their own space. To set the tone from the outset, Scott covered the walls in the foyer and great room—which contains the living and dining areas—with a handmade textile featuring hints of lavender. “It adds a softness, but it still has strength,” he says. The warm, tactile result counters the modern edge of the gleaming terrazzo flooring.
It was in this same spirit that Scott swapped out the existing oval kitchen island with a rectangular one clad with vertical wood planks that resemble reclaimed barnwood. Illuminated by a sleek cylindrical double pendant, it’s a perfect foil for the glossy white cabinetry and white-glass backsplash. “The original kitchen had kind of a space-age look, and this is much warmer,” says general contractor Troy Ippolito. “There are multiple finishes that take this place to the next level.” Scott carried the same feel into the master bedroom, where he covered the headboard wall with tongue-and-groove wood boards similar to the ones on the kitchen island, albeit installed horizontally. The rustic detail juxtaposes the room’s Murano chandelier, velvet swivel chairs and silver-and-white rug that sparkles when it catches the light. “The look connects to the glamour of Miami,” the designer says. “We were constantly balancing all these different elements, and that’s what makes it a very interesting interior.”
Indeed, while the owners desired a relaxed feel, they also wanted the residence to be elegant yet playful, with mood-lifting colors—much like the Magic City itself. To that end, Scott enlivened the great room with a graphic blue wool area rug that spans nearly wall-to-wall. “When you think of Miami, you think of bold color,” he says. “Its activity and playfulness make you feel energized and relaxed.” The designer kept the surrounding environment top of mind by lining the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the apartment with white linen sheers, filtering the strong sunlight without obscuring the views. He ensured the expansive balcony design complemented the interior in terms of colors and materials, even painting a dark brown feature wall in the guest bedroom that coordinates with the outdoor space. “When I design interiors, I’m very much paying attention to the exterior,” Scott says. “It flows nicely and makes the room feel a little sexier.” And to fully embrace the local lifestyle, he covered most furnishings in durable indoor-outdoor textiles. “The owners can come in from the swimming pool and sit down on the sofa without worrying about damaging the fabric,” the designer says.
These practical pieces blend with vintage and unique items Scott sourced with the wife to inject character. “She and I spent a great deal of time together shopping and going to galleries,” he says. That durable living area sofa, for instance, is joined by curvy swivel chairs, a 1950s Marco Zanuso armchair and a glass coffee table wrapped with black walnut. Separating this space from the dining area, where lime green midcentury chairs surround a round wood-and-glass table, is one of the wife’s favorite items: a cement console table with a rock salt interior, placed above a 1970s stool that offers additional seating. “It’s a work of art that’s functional,” the designer says. “There was a desire by the owners to have unique and unusual pieces crafted by individuals.”
That mindset extends to the art collection the couple has amassed over the years. Scott found homes in the condo for pieces such as a large oil-and-linen work in the kitchen and a bronze tribal mask displayed in the dining area above a 1950s Aldo Tura bar cart. A beige grass-cloth wallcovering in the guest bedroom is the backdrop for a quartet of oversize screenprint playing cards, while the master bedroom displays a historic drawing.
Just like the furnishings and accents, the artworks are the finishing personal touches on a design thoughtfully assembled with its owners in mind. “David helped us select new, cool things we really love,” the wife says. “He’s fabulous.”