This South Beach Apartment Is Black And White And Red All Over


Two Tone In South Beach

Christopher Coleman and Angel Sanchez's South Beach apartment offers a graphic, black-and-white alternative to traditional Miami style.

Black and White Stripe Table With Two Chairs and Lamp

This apartment reveres a faith in bucking local convention, a firm belief in recycling and reusing rather than the extravagance of buying everything shiny and new, and a devotion to the timelessness of black and white.

Graphic Miami Beach Living Room With Black Walls and Large Television

In the living room of their Miami Beach apartment, Christopher Coleman and Angel Sanchez created a triple coffee table setting with two stone-topped tables from Repop in Brooklyn and a vintage French perforated-metal table from one of their previous homes. Vintage pieces include a tufted armchair covered in Dedar’s Tricot Cannete from Jerry Pair, a sideboard from 1stdibs and an armchair and ottoman from Repop upholstered in black terrycloth. The white sisal rug is from Aronson’s in New York.

White Graphic Art Kitchen with Chaise Chair and Contemporary Art

In the kitchen, metal barstools from A+R in Los Angeles pull up to a custom island table with a Dekon top. A TruLine linear LED light by Pure Lighting partially frames the table; behind it is a 1950s-style pendant from Sit Down New York. Italian men’s shirting fabric from B&J Fabrics in New York was artfully transformed into draperies.

Twin Bed Seating Corner with Graphic Contemporary Art and Light Ceiling

Twin beds fabricated by Spiaggia were upholstered in Perennials fabric and pushed together to form a deep sofa in the living room; seat cushions made of Pindler fabric add to the overall comfort. The artwork, Corner Cubeby Chris Engman, is from the Luis de Jesus Los Angeles Gallery and was purchased at an art fair in Miami Beach.

Completely Black Staircase Entrance with Artwork

A black raffia wallcovering from Innovations contributes to the stairwell’s darkly serene mood. A black metal bar chandelier, found at Michael Dawkins Home, illuminates the stairwell from above, while at the base sits a black metal bar cart from CB2 and a photograph depicting two nude males by an assistant to Robert Mapplethorpe.

Japanese Paper Collage Master Bedroom with Black Bedding Red Table and Black Wing Chair

Spiaggia fabricated the master bedroom’s custom bed using Romo fabrics, and Coleman chose a pair of Serge Mouille lamps to illuminate the space. Next to a Jane Creech Japanese paper collage is a vintage fiberglass reproduction Egg chair and an acrylic side table filled with red pigment from Twentieth in Los Angeles. Underneath the scene is a black velvet carpet from Aronson’s; the overhead light fixtures are from Lunatika.

Up until a dozen years ago, the Miami Beach building where interior designer Christopher Coleman lives with his husband, Venezuelan fashion designer Angel Sanchez, was a place of worship. It was then that the former synagogue was converted into eight duplex apartments. Today, the building–or at least this apartment–reveres a different set of credos: a faith in bucking local convention, a firm belief in recycling and reusing rather than the extravagance of buying everything shiny and new, and a devotion to the timelessness of black and white."Down here what you usually see is either Lilly Pulitzer colors or too much white-on-white-on-white," Coleman says of the lion's share of South Florida interiors. "And Angel likes Armani's palette–black, white and gray–which is very soothing." Coleman's reputation, however, was built largely on an unabashedly bold use of bright, saturated colors.

Indeed, the couple's former Miami apartment was red, yellow and white, and their New York abode showcased a Mondrian-inspired palette of primary colors. But black has frequently played a role in Coleman's interiors, too, a product of his early training in graphic design, which instilled an appreciation of how the hues could outline colors and distinguish forms.Not surprisingly, the two men's tastes rubbed off on each other some during their 20-year relationship, encouraging them to start a joint design business, Sanchez + Coleman Studio, which has already been commissioned to create interiors for a restaurant at the Indigo Hotel Brickell and a lobby for the soon-to-open Aloft hotel in Coral Gables.

For their own home, the decision to go with an unconventional, non-tropical palette was also informed by another consideration. "I believe in day and night apartments," Coleman explains. "We're constantly out during the day, so this is mostly a night apartment for us, and black and white works well; it's relaxing, easy on the eyes and perfect for entertaining. We also looked at our artwork and felt that black and white would anchor it better. Black is such a reference now in design; it has such a presence."Sanchez, who was educated as an architect, drew up plans for the renovation, which were carried out by Hidalgo Construction Group and its project manager, Roberto Fernandez.

The remodel called for entirely demolishing the kitchen and designing a new one, renovating the floors, adding risers and facing to the cantilevered treads of the stairs to create closet space, and collapsing the two second-floor bedrooms into one large master suite with his-and-his bathrooms. "Separate baths are the secret to a good relationship," jokes Coleman, pointing out that each bathroom has a 55-inch opening that can be closed off with a rolling barn door for privacy or left open to make the space feel airy and expansive.

In the new kitchen, a deep closet hides the washer and dryer, refrigerator and tableware, and the custom 42-inch-wide bar-height table telegraphs a slim profile and seats up to 10. "We could do a whole article on barstools," says Coleman of their exhaustive search for seats that didn't take up a lot of width, thus enabling a more generous guest list at dinner parties. These, as well as a few other selected pieces, were purchased new. But the majority of furnishings and art were drawn from their various homes, as well as from the designers' storage lockers and the Christopher Coleman Collection, Coleman's home furnishings gallery in Hudson, New York.

An inveterate "dumpster diver" during his early career–collecting from the copious castoffs perpetually available on New York's streets–Coleman's penchant for remaking and repurposing pieces is visible throughout: He joined two sofas he designed for another project to create the living room sofa, and the Danish slipper chairs opposite, he says, "have had nine lives." They now boast three shades of Tonus fabric by Kvadrat. A perforated-metal coffee table has moved through two color incarnations before being treated to its current black enamel demeanor. The couple then layered in textures: a white rug downstairs, a black velvet rug upstairs, Italian men's shirt fabric on draperies, and so on.

For the artwork, they concentrated on pieces that enhanced the black-and-white theme and added optical interest, such as a large diagrammatic work by Alexis Hayère above the kitchen counter and a corner sculpture by Chris Engman over the sofa. Yet Coleman and Sanchez couldn't resist a little break from their self-imposed black-and-white commandments: Downstairs, a colorful Alexander Calder-like stabile springs out of a wall, and upstairs, a red table sits by a reproduction Egg chair. After all, who can resist a little temptation?  

Jorge S. Arango