IN PLAIN SIGHT
A CREAMY PALETTE OF MUSHROOM AND GREIGE WASHES OVER THIS MIAMI RESIDENCE WITH CLEVER MILLWORK ACTING AS A CONCEALER.
WRITTEN BY JESSE BRATTER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK ROSKMANS
At first glance, it might seem like this apartment is all about the views. After all, it has floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal 360-degree panoramas of Miami’s city skyline, the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Not to mention the beyond-belief perspective from the expansive rooftop terrace, which ensures that no matter where you’re standing or which way you turn your head, your eyes will most certainly be delighted.
And those views were indeed important: Designer Deborah Wecselman, of Wecselman Design (wecselmandesign.com), drew inspiration from them when conceiving of her palette that runs throughout the main spaces, taking care not to compete with them or hinder them in any way, starting with the flooring. “The owners wanted a wood floor, but they didn’t want beige and they didn’t want gray. So I said, ‘Let’s mix the two,’” says the designer, whose team included Javier Ortiz and Zoya Pashenko Javier. “So it’s a greige floor throughout, and there are light wood-paneled walls everywhere, other than in the entry, the kitchen and the primary bedroom and bathroom, which are all white. You have this creamy gray, shiitake, cappuccino-looking apartment with moments of darker gray like in the frames of the windows, the shelving, the column in the living room—and then very few pops of color in the art, pillows and accessories. When you’re in the apartment and you put the shades up, you can see the light and the views everywhere. There’s the ocean on one side and the blue of the bay on the other side, so we didn’t want to muddle that view.”
So, yes, the views are important. But perhaps even more intriguing is what you can’t see: cleverly hidden storage all throughout the apartment, starting in the entry. At the start of the project, the entry was unnecessarily large and empty. And after borrowing some space to make the powder bathroom and some closets bigger, it was still unnecessarily large and empty. “We came up with this idea of, ‘Let’s do a great screen,” Wecselman says. “But not only did they want a screen, they also wanted art, they wanted accessories, they wanted greenery, they wanted transparency. So behind this screen is a paneled wall with all these doors—storage doors, AC doors, the powder room door—things you don’t want to see when you first walk in. The conversation was, ‘Let’s conceal all of that, but let’s have something transparent too.’” That wall paneling continues throughout the residence—into the dining room with custom shelving (and a wine fridge for the owners’ collection), into the kitchen to conceal the laundry room, and into the primary bedroom to create closet space behind the bed. A sliding door closes off the kitchen when the owners want to host an event. And up on the terrace, even the sunbathing area and hot tub were elevated to create storage underneath them. Together with architect Ryan Alderman of Ryan Alderman Architect and Richard Villaverde of Greenhaus Design-Build, Wecselman reconfigured spaces to make them better suit the needs of the owners.
With the color palette set and the storage challenges given solutions, there was one thing left to tackle: The apartment and its rooftop terrace are vast, so what do you do to make it feel intimate? Multiple conversation areas ensued—including a double-sided sofa in the living room so that one person could watch television while someone else took in the view; it’s positioned in the center of the space so as not to obstruct those water vistas. Swivel lounge chairs can turn inward toward the games table or outward toward another conversation. Soft chenilles and shaggy silks dress the furniture and floor coverings, making everything comfortable but sophisticated with outdoor fabrics even indoors to stand up to a vacation lifestyle.
Like the multiple conversation areas in the living room, the rooftop terrace has plenty, all delineated by plantings thanks to Enea Garden Design. The dining table with powder- coated pergola features lighting for nighttime gatherings. But Wecselman’s favorite scene is four chairs surrounding a table flanked by two oversize trees and planters that had to be craned up over the building. After all, she says, “You are on top of the world.”