All great relationships are built on trust. And sometimes that means trusting your partner’s vision in the potential of a fixer-upper. Residential designer Angel Sanchez experienced this—twice—with interior designer Christopher Coleman, his partner in business and life. The first time, Coleman saw promise in a Hudson Valley abode that later became their beloved weekend cabin while the couple was living in New York City. So when they recently came across a neglected midcentury house in Delray Beach that caught Coleman’s attention, Sanchez knew to trust the feeling. “Chris has an amazing eye,” says Sanchez, a trained architect from Venezuela and a fashion designer. “And I always wanted to live in something that was a little midcentury.”
Now South Beach residents, Coleman and Sanchez decided to transform the property into a weekend getaway. A renovation was required—with Wayne Ferrell of Architect 1 serving as architect of record—and their vision was clear: Respect the structure’s bones while opening up and modernizing the residence to bring it into the 21st century.
By knocking down the walls separating the living and dining rooms and the kitchen, Coleman and Sanchez created a vast, multiuse space with different seating areas for lounging and entertaining. “We doubled the size of the kitchen, and now you could roller skate around the dining room—there’s so much space in there,” Coleman says. A pair of wicker armchairs in the living area joins a gray sofa by the fireplace, a welcoming spot for conversation, while another sofa faces a television. In a sunlit corner, a cocoon-like green armchair beckons as a reading nook.
Generous-size windows inhabit most rooms, and the serene hues of the lush ferns and palm trees outside informed the interior palette. “The color decision was easy for us,” Sanchez says. “We both agreed immediately we wanted to bring the green inside.” To present a tropical modern feel without verging on tacky, they tempered olive green and occasional pops of yellow with black and white. The black tiled ornamental fireplace makes a sleek statement in the living area, while black sink faucets and metal frames on shower panels emphasize the bathrooms’ wood vanities. Each bedroom has a green feature wall, emphasizing a connection among them. And the home’s engineered ash floors and full-height frameless Italian doors imbue casual elegance, allowing more colorful moments—like the mosaic backsplash in the kitchen and the jungle-esque wallpaper in the powder room—to sing.
The design ethos centered on carefree living, including simplicity in furnishings. A light-handed use of rattan in pieces such as headboards, armchairs and side tables imparts a relaxing vibe while adding a material through line. Several items, like the living area’s curvaceous wood coffee table, are inventory from years ago, when Coleman owned a store in Hudson, New York. The duo re-covered the existing dining chairs in a green fabric and installed a rope flourish on the frames. “It added a nice detail to the chairs, mixed in with the rattan,” the interior designer says. At the head of the dining table sits a throne- like rattan chair the interior designer says has become the go-to social media perch for guests. “Everybody goes there and takes a picture,” Coleman says.
Adding more personality to the house are the couple’s cherished artworks collected over the years, a passion hobby throughout their relationship. “Art is always part of our life together,” Sanchez says. A marquis next to the living area fireplace evokes memories of Art Basel nearly a decade ago. Nearby, a ribbon-like wood wall piece is another special work that harmonizes with the interior’s nature- informed atmosphere.
Coleman’s vision for the residence as a sanctuary-like escape proved especially beneficial during the pandemic, as the couple spent much of their time enjoying the restful property inside and outside. “It’s a privilege to have all this nature all around the house,” Sanchez says, adding the grounds remind him of his native Venezuela. “It’s like we live in a little jungle. We have the birds and no people looking around—it’s really isolated and magical. This house is so special for us.”