Artwork Takes Center Stage In A Coral Gables Abode


modern exterior entry white landscape

Palm trees flank the entrance to a Coral Gables home that interior designer Celia Cabral Domenech was hired to redecorate. The design balances two imperatives: housing a world-class collection of artwork and comfortably serving as a family's primary residence.

modern foyer entrance hall bronze...

Art takes center stage in the entrance hall with Fernando Botero's bronze sculpture Cavallo Medio con Sella that helps steer the eye away from the dining area beyond. "I don't usually like having a dining room be the focal point when you enter any social area," Domenech says. "So, the Botero artwork helped offset that." Joining the sculpture are Guillermo Munoz Vera's El Capitolio (above), Rufino Tamayo's Dos Personajes (to the left) and Amelia Pelaez' Vaso con Flores (right).

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A seating arrangement in the game room includes Minotti's Pollock sofa from Arbitare with a pair of pillows made of Harris flannel suede. The accent pillows are made of fabric from Jerry Pair. Domenech designed the coffee table fabricated by Metal Solutions, and the side table between the Raul Carrasco chairs is from Holly Hunt. Tronco Ceiba is by Cuban artist Jose Bedia.

In one of the living room's seating areas, a 19th-century Persian Serapi rug from Woven Art Specialist rests below a Troscan coffee table of rosewood, mahogany and antique bronze. The wood-framed Liaigre sofa from Holly Hunt is covered in Kravet fabric. At left hangs an untitled 1950 painting by Chilean artist Roberto Matta, and at right hangs an untitled painting from 1998 by Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca.

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Discrete seating clusters throughout the combined dining and living rooms, along with the introduction of warm-toned fabrics, bring a sense of comfort to the space and "keep it from feeling too gallery-like," Domenech says. Hanging above the doorway is La Grua by Angel Acosta Leon. The polished-chrome-and-glass-topped coffee table is from Holly Hunt, and the lacquered chest with polished horn is from Paul Marra in Los Angeles. The hand-woven hemp rug in the living area is from Stark.

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Surrounding the Troscan rosewood dining table are an octet of dining chairs upholstered in Sabrina Spinneybeck leather from Holly Hunt and punctuated by two clear acrylic chairs by BNO Design. "Almost all of the materials are natural: wool, cashmere, velvet, silk, leather," Domenech says. "But within that framework, we tried to play with textures." The oil painting is Botero's La Casa de las Gemelas Arias.

modern kitchen glass pendants

The existing kitchen by Downsview Kitchens was updated by the owners with new stools and pendants.

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Muted tones and minimalist furnishings contribute to the breakfast area's clean, midcentury vibe, as in the Porada table and chairs. The still life made with acrylic and iron on canvas is by Chilean painter Guillermo Munoz Vera. At left is an oil painting by Nicaraguan artist Armando Morales.

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Another bronze sculpture by Botero, Ballerini, graces the lawn and adds a powerful yet whimsical note to the home's setting.

modern watermelon sculpture landscape

The simplicity of the landscaping highlights the collector's outdoor art, which includes a painted bronze watermelon slice sculpture by Cuban artist Julio Larraz

modern outdoor pool sitting area

Minimalist and monochromatic, the outdoor sofas and chaises provide for plenty of lounging around the swimming pool by Tuttle's Pool Company.

To complement without competing. That was the objective that designer Celia Cabral Domenech was going for when designing the interiors of a Coral Gables abode for a couple with an extensive collection of artwork.

The challenge, though, was to create a space that looked polished and offered multiple vantage points to view the collection while still making the house feel like a home. To allow the art to do the talking in the spaces rather than the furnishings, Domenech chose a primarily neutral palette, adding in contrast where needed. A 19th-century Persian Serapi rug, for instance, paired with colorful paintings, adds a nice transition from wall to floor.

“Because of the lack of natural light in certain spaces like the great room, I had to be attentive to color composition,” says Domenech.

Texture, too, played an important role in striking a balance, and came in the form of natural materials such as wool, cashmere, velvet, silk and leather.

The resulting design gave the homeowners exactly what they were looking to achieve: a home that is a very deeply personal reflection of its owners.