Interior Design: Deborah Wecselman
Text: Marina Pignatelli
Photography: Carlos Domenech
Miami is the Latin American hub in the United States,” says designer Deborah Wecselman, who herself was born in Lima, Peru. “The city’s culture, tropical climate and language make it a natural magnet for Latin Americans, and there’s currently a big Brazilian and Venezuelan population purchasing properties here.”
Wecselman opened her Miami design firm, DWD, in 2000, after serving as a senior director of international store design for Ralph Lauren, where she oversaw the aesthetics of more than 5,000 shops around the world. For a Peruvian couple in Bal Harbour, Wecselman was charged with creating a worm, contemporary home that would showcase a distinctive collection of artworks and furnishings.
The house has a gallery-like open-plan layout, with expansive white-plaster walls and large windows and glass doors opening to its lush surroundings. At the entrance, Wecselman placed a mirrorand-console unit by Niedermaier, which visually expands the small entry space. “I wanted something modern and clean that wouldn’t compete with the stone cladding on the opposite wall,” she says. A vintage chest with white leather panels, designed by Gilbert Rohde, is set off by a gray slate wall and the worm walnut-plank flooring, which extends throughout the ground level. A painting by the celebrated Peruvian artist Venancio Shinki introduces the clients’ art collection.
“In a big open space, furniture can be used to define different areas,” notes Wecselman. “The location of the chandelier was also important in the dining area, as was the wall-mounted credenza, which I painted white so that it would blend in and not compete with the art. 11 The chandelier is by Bocci, and the marble topped dining table was designed by DWD and paired with Lee choirs upholstered in a blue-green Holly Hunt fabric. Spanish artist Alejandra lcaza’s painting An Evening’s Music adds a graphic note above the credenza. A terrace off the dining area, where the clients like to entertain, is arranged with outdoor furniture from Janus et Cie.
The living room seating area is grounded by a Tufenkian rug.” says Wecselman. The sofas and bench are custom pieces by DWD, covered in Holly Hunt silk and accented with Missoni pillow fabrics: custom armchairs are covered in a textured Pollack fabric. Faux-shagreen nesting tables by Madegoods flank the sofa, while vintage pieces include a coffee table by Massimo and Leila Vignelli and tall bronze lamps by Laurel. Artworks by Robert Longo and David Hockney add vivid notes. A staircase of walnut, bronze and glass, designed by DWD, climbs one wall and provides the space with sculptural drama.
“In the family room I wanted a more relaxed look.” The designer says. “‘I wanted the furniture to speak for itself: comfortable, loungey but modern. we wanted a greige tone throughout, with a pop of a bright accent color.” The neutral Tufenkian rug, leather sectional sofa and Pianco stainless-steel coffee table set off Saba Italia armchairs covered in a green Romo fabric. A painting by Tal R and a photograph by Juan Leal-Ruiz underscore the monochrome backdrop.
“ In the kitchen we created a transparent glass backsplash below the upper cabinets and a clearestory window above them, for a ribbon effect, “ says Wecselman. “ We kept the perimeter of the room all white, and the custom Mia Cucina island is in a brown-gray wood with a white quartz top. All the exposed appliances are satin stainless steel, and the pendants are by Tom Dixon. We mixed all this sleekness with some classic furniture: a Saarinen table and orange upholstered Saarinen chairs.”
For the master bedroom, we wanted to create a soothing and relaxed space around the silver and gray tonally.’ Wecselman continues, “We complemented this with bone-front nightstands from Ironies and a pair of glass lamps from Porta Romana, in front of the bed, which we designed and covered in Romo fabric, we used an Ironies bench upholstered in Jerry Pair leather. The white rug is by Stark, and the ceiling shade is from Boyd Lighting. “ Wecselman complemented all of this with vintage 1960s Mastercraft brass chairs with a Greek key motif.
“Although dramatic in some spaces, this house also feels very humanly scaled,’ notes Wecselman. “The finishes are very sophisticated and modern, and they allow for the variety of antiques, furnishings and art to coexist while having their own presence.”