Good design evokes a tangible energy. Relaxed or lively, formal or playful, a specific mood can be formed by a room. And for the owner of a 32nd-floor Miami Beach condo, the atmosphere of her new residence needed to be shifted. The excitement of the city panorama in the main bedroom, she felt, was better suited for an entertaining area. And that tranquil ocean view in the kitchen? It should be enjoyed while lounging in the bathtub. “She knew right off the bat where she wanted to be and how she wanted to feel in the unit,” says interior designer Blanca Wall. “We needed to rethink the floor plan for the entire apartment.”
The condo’s original design was more compartmentalized, explains interior designer Yessenia Cardenas, who worked on the project with Wall. “When you opened the door, you walked into a modest living room and a partial view of the bay,” she recalls. “Something felt off.” So along with residential designer Robert Kerr (Michael Noll of M3 Design + Development served as the architect of record), Wall and Cardenas reconfigured the abode, creating a mirrored effect of the floor plan’s principal spaces. A bedroom became the living, dining and kitchen area, while the former kitchen was transformed into the main bedroom suite. And in the new main bathroom, the team mounted the tub on a platform to maximize the sight line to the beach.
The client had acquired the condo as one of her several vacation homes across the world. “She’s a well-traveled individual,” Wall says. “And she likes to be out and about during her travels, finding new innovations, restorations and vintage items. She loves the natural world, and she wanted this residence to feel very organic and vernacular in the setting of Miami Beach.” The homeowner also leans toward design concepts that are unique, Cardenas elaborates. “She loves to have a neutral palette and layer different things on top of it,” the interior designer says, “and those layers all have a little bit of a story and quirkiness.”
In the living area, for example, the furnishings harmonize in creams and taupes. But the geometric cowhide rug underfoot adds a compelling visual layer within the palette while offsetting the tiered curves of the coffee table and rotund armchairs. Nearby, the dining area’s terra-cotta chandelier echoes the gold veining in the kitchen’s white quartzite backsplash. “Because the majority of materials were imported,” says general contractor Alex Vega, “our focus was to ensure nothing was compromised or damaged in the process of installing.” The only touches of color—soothing blues and greens—come from wall artworks by Kirsten Everberg and Adriana Varejão, two of the pieces art consultant Danniel Rangel helped source for the residence.
To support an oversize ceramic plate by Varejão, Kerr designed a center volume in a light oak veneer that simultaneously acts as a backdrop to the living space, a wall in the powder room and a hidden pantry in the adjoining kitchen. “We didn’t want to call attention to the pantry, because it’s in a prominent spot,” he explains. “We were trying to show the art, so we concealed that feature.”
The new layout, the color palette and the artwork synergize to transform the spirit of the residence. But there’s a deeper undercurrent that locks it all in place. At the client’s request, Wall and Cardenas collaborated with her feng shui specialist to ensure the home adheres to principles of the practice. They mapped the unit into quadrants, taking into consideration colors, textures and furniture positioning. The blues and greens in the living area artworks are meant to evoke calmness and tranquility, while the red pieces in the media room decor inject a vibrant energy for creativity. To bring in the element of water—a key aspect of feng shui—the team introduced a mirrored closet system in the bedroom to reflect the ocean views and built a miniature pond sanctuary on one of the unit’s terraces. And the bedroom rug features voluptuous forms and subtle Kama Sutra designs, upon which Wall and Cardenas placed mirrored cylinders to highlight the artistry. “It’s very interactive,” Wall says. “You can move the cylinders for various moods and settings, and it will take on a whole different shape and feel of the bedroom. It’s a reflected moment of intimacy.”
Each space serves a distinct purpose, and the mood shifts throughout the residence. Yet a harmonizing feeling threads through the halls. “Every room has its own personal story, but somehow they’re all tied in together,” Cardenas says. “You feel tranquility and calmness, and you have spectacular views from every room.”