This Modern Miami Home Has a Swiss Beat


Sea Change in Miami

After spending several years living abroad, a young family searches for the quintessential Key Biscayne home to entertain and enjoy island living.

A big inspiration for this Miami home was the art the homeowners planned to bring back from Switzerland—a large painting by Chilean artist Ignacio Gana as well as one of his bronze floor sculptures, and a colorful Chilean textile by Constanza Arentsel. The wife provided images and dimensions, and designer
Granda was able to design around them. The colors in the painting—a whimsical scene with polo players and a carousel horse, for which she created a feature wall flanked by sandy limestone niches—inspired a beachy palette with white sofas and a white-lacquer coffee table accented by rich shades of blue in the patterned pillows, a pair of velvet ottomans and a fringed cashmere throw. Ignacio Gana's resin-and-oil bunny sculpture, Super Rayo, lends a playful golden touch. 

Balancing the Foyer Composition

It is designer Granda's thoughtful details that put a personal stamp on the home. In the main entrance, for example, she custom-designed a floating cabinet crafted from Peruvian cedar with an opening for a lamp that goes right through it, offset by a tall mirror. “You can open the cabinet front, but it also has a drawer that you can use,” she says. Under the stairs, which divide the foyer and living and dining areas, she solved an awkward space with a series of boxes and shelving that display art and accessories. “There are pieces made by Indian artisans in Chile,” Granda says. “Before, guests would just walk through the space. Now you can admire the art—and the scenic view of the pool area. It’s unexpected.” 

Designer Maite Granda conceived of a floating console by
Paez Design, made of Peruvian cedar punctuated with a drawer of back-painted glass. A Melampo floor lamp by Artemide runs through the console, while the mirror and welcoming letters balance the composition.

Modern and Light Wood, Glass, and Stainless Steel Staircase

Glass-and-stainless-steel railings that lead to the bedrooms on the second floor and a sun deck on the third level were designed to be modern and visually light. The bold red Pangen pendant is by FontanaArte, a re-edition of a 1961 design. The colorful folk art piece on the back wall is a Chilean telar weaving by Constanza Arentsel.

Surprising Impressionistic Wall Covering Living Room

Granda also created a comfortable adjacent family room area, again using varying shades of blue to unify the spaces, including a wallcovering by London-based contemporary Impressionist artist Jessica Zoob that creates a focal point. The hues are picked up in the blue-and-white- lacquer cocktail table, custom silk rug and pillows on a sofa that the couple brought from Switzerland, reimagined in creamy leather. 

A wall in the family room appears to be hand-painted with Impressionistic flowers, while it’s actually a wallcovering by artist
Jessica Zoob for Romo’s Black Edition. The colors are reflected in the furnishings, including in the owners’ sofa re-covered in Kirkby Design's Laser fabric, a custom bicolored lacquer cocktail table, and linen accent pillows.

Outdoor Egg Swing on the Raised Patio

Granda was indeed mindful of views to the outdoors, assuring that there is something beautiful to see at every turn. To that end, she raised the floor of the terrace off the living room with ipe decking, built a water feature, installed striking and inviting chair swings, and put up V-shaped trellises from which to hang orchids. In another space, she had an American oak tree planted, adding to existing oaks and palms. And she tweaked the rest of the landscaping with strategically placed zinc pots. Inside, Granda was sure to add green with a fiddle-leaf fig tree in the family room. 

For a terrace that lies between the living room and guest room, Granda had the floor raised and clad in ipe wood, plus she added a fountain and latticework designed for orchids. The hanging Maia Egg swing by
Patricia Urquiola for Kettal features a lacy weave.

Geometric Mirror and Teardrop Chandelier Dining Room

The couple’s rustic-modern dining table proved to be a good fit in the open scheme, and Granda teamed it with modern chairs made of white leather and stainless-steel legs beneath a whimsical multi-glass bubble chandelier.

A geometric mirror designed by Granda and installed by
Avery Glass & Mirror overlooks the dining room and reflects a sculpture by Ignacio Gana in the living room. ET2 Contemporary Lighting’s chandelier features a shower of teardrop glass orbs that cascade over the owners’ dining table.

Existing All-White Kitchen with Blue Ocean-Nod Barstools

The nearby kitchen is well-appointed with sleek cabinetry and a large island that awaits the children for their afternoon snack.

The existing all-white
Record Cucine kitchen by MiaCucina is punctuated with a striated gray laminate backing the island. Appliances are by Sub-Zero and Wolf. The aquamarine L’Eau barstools by Calligaris nod to the ocean with ribbing that suggests the movement of water.

Gray Linen Wallcovering Master Bedroom with Blue Rug and Pillow Accents

A linen wallcovering from Aesthetics’ Newcastle collection creates a quiet textural backdrop for the master bedroom. The Hästens bed is covered with crisp white linens and blue accents, taking cues from the custom blue-and-white rug. At the foot is a tufted-leather bench by Artefacto; the MiMo bedside tables are by Copeland Furniture. Dashes of red pop in the Excel lamps by Roll & Hill, an accent pillow and a coral motif on the ginger jar. Another sculpture by Gana perches on the built-in, white-lacquer custom desk.

Minimalist Carrara Marble Master Bathroom with Wooden Floating Vanity

A minimalist modern bathroom features walls and flooring sheathed in Carrara marble, with floor-to-ceiling smoky glass panels framing the shower. A warm wood floating cabinet is topped with a thick-profile quartz. The faucets are by Dornbracht and the shower fittings are by Hansgrohe.

Covered Plexiglas Terrace with Pool

A loggia provides extra entertainment space, and an electric cover helps make the pool safe for the children and their friends. 

Granda designed a covered terrace with a slatted roof topped with Plexiglas to protect the galley- style outdoor kitchen from rain. Opposite the grill is built-in seating topped with
Sunbrella cushions with storage inside. The balcony off the master bedroom suite on the second level overlooks the pool.

Breezy Miami Loggia with Open-Weave Furniture

But the husband’s biggest concern was the outdoors. “He loves to barbecue,” Granda says. So together with the owners, especially the wife, Granda designed an outdoor kitchen, complete with a built-in storage banquette and a tall backsplash and counter that would hide the grill from the living room view. For some shade, she mimicked the pitched roof line, designing a sloped, slatted ipe-wood ceiling topped with Plexiglas to provide shelter from the rain. Roberto Sampellegrini of Archt Design and Regosa Engineering Services oversaw the construction of the addition, and other changes Granda made during the project.

Open-weave furniture by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal suits the breezy loggia, including a Mesh sofa and woven Maia chairs. A coffee table, also by Kettal, joins the setting on a rug by Ralph Lauren Home. RH pendants hang over the outdoor kitchen beyond, and RH draperies lend a resort-like feel.

From skiing in the Swiss Alps to water sports in Key Biscayne, a relocation for a Chilean couple with three small children was a sea change. “They’re probably the most opposite places in the world,” says the husband about moving from Switzerland to Miami. The couple fell in love with a tropical modern house in Key Biscayne with architecture by Marta Zubillaga and Juan Jose Zubillaga of Zubillaga Design. The white-stucco home with horizontal planks of red cedar had them at hello due to the open interiors kept bright and airy with limestone and marble plus an abundance of windows. “The light,” the husband says, “is something we loved.” 

While in Miami on an overseas trip, the wife met with designer Maite Granda, whose style she had seen and liked online. For their interview, the homeowner brought along a photo book she created that essentially offered a roadmap to their family with profiles, likes, sports, and hobbies to navigate through the design. They immediately clicked, and Granda’s passion for designing children’s rooms was a value-added perk that the mother of three appreciated. “She painted a picture for me of each of the kids,” recalls Granda. “She said, ‘My boy is very creative—always building; he loves Legos. My oldest girl is very artistic—always dressing up in costumes, and she likes to sing. And the little one—we’re still discovering her personality.’” 

The designer and family communicated each week via Skype. At first, the couple planned to move most of their furniture from Switzerland. “We had some good Italian pieces,” the husband says. Still, Granda persuaded them to rethink that approach. “The style was dark—very different from what’s prevalent here, where it’s all about island living and natural, light tones. I suggested I do a presentation from scratch, and they loved it.” 

When the family arrived from Europe, everything was in place, in true turnkey fashion—even the refrigerators were stocked with food. And not to leave the children out, Granda delivered on her promise. “At one point, Maite asked my wife to have the children draw their rooms as they imagined them,” the husband says. That translated to a nautical theme for the 10-year-old son, with a loft space for a “ship” and steering wheel; a room fit for a princess with a four-poster bed and wardrobe, dress-up space and a stage with a microphone for the 7-year-old daughter; and a pretty room to grow into with pastel tree decals on the wall and a built-in dollhouse with niche seating and shelving for the parents to read to their 2-year-old girl. “When the kids saw this come to life, it was very exciting,” the husband says. The moment he laid eyes on his outdoor kitchen, he smiled and said: “This is my dream home.” 

Elaine Markoutsas