In many parts of the country, coastal living is synonymous with a beachy style marked by breezy fabrics, sunny stripes and rattan at every turn. But in South Florida, glamour reigns—and that’s exactly what the owner of this property loves about it. For the jet-setting entrepreneur, a house in the Bahamas is home base, and residences in New York City and London serve practical purposes, while Miami Beach is all about fun. “He enjoys life and likes to have a good time,” says designer Jessie Schuster, who has created the interiors for each of his properties. “This was meant to be a happy place, where he could host family gatherings and have friends over. He wanted it to be formal but also inviting for his children and their guests.”
When Schuster joined the project, she discovered an under-construction house at the northwest tip of Di Lido Island with a style as distinctive as her client’s. “He has a very masculine, sophisticated sense of design; this is a super modern residence that definitely has a darker, sexier vibe from its finishes,” many of which had already been selected, she says. “It’s not that typical ‘Miami modern,’ where everything is white.”
Leaning into the moody feel, Schuster developed interiors that are “modern, eclectic and warm—not stark,” she describes. “The existing palette was rich and saturated and spoke for itself, so immediately I knew I wanted to do something interesting with plaster on the walls and ceilings in a very similar tone.” Her choice— a taupe-colored Venetian style with defined brushstrokes—provides a quiet counterpoint to the home’s shinier finishes, including a massive living room bar clad in polished black marble. “The plaster created a more refined and elevated finish throughout, tying together all of the hard materials and ultimately creating a more cohesive space,” she says. “It also toned down some of the reflective surfaces throughout and made everything feel cooler and more natural.”
With a monochromatic backdrop in place, Schuster added brighter and cozier elements to the palette through furnishings, fabrics and area rugs. “We wanted the rooms to have a very comfortable feel; all the furniture needed to be oversize so you could plop down into it,” she says. The selections also needed to honor the homeowner’s affinity for refined seating by iconic Italian brands such as Minotti and Poliform. To keep the look fresh, Schuster upholstered those classic, contemporary sofas and chairs in rich bouclés, chenilles and leathers. She then paired them with eclectic accompaniments: petrified wood accent tables and vintage accessories in the family room; metal-wrapped coffee tables in the living room; and, near a broad window wall that opens to the main floor’s waterfront terrace, a light fixture made of cast-bronze, handblown glass and marble that stretches from floor to ceiling.
By employing an array of neutral tones— punctuated occasionally by a colorful artwork— and angling furnishings toward the expanses of glass, Schuster ensured the home’s Biscayne Bay panorama would always catch the eye first. “Obviously, the emphasis is on outdoor living, because the view is so fantastic,” she says. “We wanted to create a rounded experience to ensure you never felt like you had your back to the water.”
Landscape architect Christopher Cawley further emphasized those views with his careful selection of palms and native plantings, including lush tangles of hardy railroad vines. Placed just outside the glass balustrades of the multilevel terraces, the plant will eventually cascade over the sides, “softening the edges and making the architecture look like it evolved from the landscape,” Cawley says. “In nature, these vines spread across the dunes, so you can think of this residence as a contemporary interpretation of a landform.” Palms flanking the property work with the dwelling’s angled structure to direct the eye toward the bay while obscuring neighboring homes, “making you feel like you’re in your own world,” he muses.
Once the sun dips below the horizon, the owner has another private realm: a bedroom suite in which the house’s rich textures and colors reach a new level of luxury. Here, the walls are swathed in a delicate gray silk woven with shimmering metallic threads, the bed is wrapped in leather and the floors are carpeted in a decadent shearling. “It’s amazing, like heaven,” Schuster says of the floor covering—though, as the homeowner can attest, it’s an apt description for every inch of his new retreat.