Growing up in sunny Miami, designer Constanza Collarte walked through dozens of orange groves on her way to school each day— all part of the charm found in this once-sleepy city by the sea. Fast forward a few years, and a couple more high-rise buildings later, a booming metropolis was born. But Collarte always knew she would one day return to her roots. After spending years living in New York and abroad, a 1930s Mediterranean-style residence in Coconut Grove—complete with a breathtaking outdoor area—ultimately lured her back home again.
What an amazing oasis! We like to think of it as our secret garden. Having a lush, enclosed outdoor space has made all the difference, especially recently! We spend all our time out here, whether we are having family over for dinner or hanging by the pool with our kids. One of the home’s selling points was the Fernando Wong–designed landscaping, and while we have added a few plantings here and there, his vision has remained.
What about the interiors? As much as we live outdoors, our kitchen is the most heavily trafficked room, and we really tried to maximize the layout when the house was redesigned. It took a lot of planning, but the space is now open and filled with light from the doors leading out to the yard. The ‘back workings’ of the room, like the fridge, bar, pantry and storage, are also in one general area to allow for flow and functionality, which is key.
Talk to us about the materials. Different layers and textures in a kitchen can add a lot. We worked with an amazing millworker who wire-brushed the cabinetry for a subtle effect. Everything from the creamy countertops to the pale wood has a hint of lilac, which is a nice connecting thread. On a trip to Morocco, I fell in love with Zellige tile—its imperfections and the way light plays off the surface—so we used them for the bar backsplash.
What’s your entertaining ethos? It’s all about indoor-outdoor living. We do a lot of entertaining alfresco—we even had my sister’s wedding out here! I’m a big collector, and I like to pick up little trinkets when I’m traveling, like salt cellars or textiles, to use on the table. The key to entertaining, for me, is continuously mixing and matching pieces. I must admit, we have a lot of the same people over, so I keep it fresh by using pieces in different ways, but the idea is to make it look effortless and easy.