The iconic neighborhood of Coral Gables is a staple in Miami’s rich architectural history. Its streets are lined with old European-style homes and a jungle of lush landscapes, quintessential easy living. Studio AK, the brainchild of two former AD100 firm designers, has been tasked to modernize the interior of one traditional Coral Gables home without sacrificing its historical glamor.
Recently purchased by a young family, the Gables home was initially constructed in the early 2,000s and boasts 7,900 square feet, five bedrooms, and six and a half bathrooms. The family wanted to give the home a fresh facelift to reflect their modern style better. While they were away on their summer vacation, Studio AK worked in a two-month timeframe to make their interior design dreams come true. Studio AK prioritized simplifying the home’s gaudy traditional features while incorporating custom built-ins to maximize hidden storage and functionality. They wanted to add a modern appeal without sacrificing the house's character.
After walking through the front door, the dramatically curved double-height stair certainly draws the eye. The impressive staircase has gone through a modern revamping as its original pickets were replaced with contemporary black iron and white oak rail. Matte Venetian plaster was added to the walls to highlight the texture and natural finishes within the space. The walls were garnished with a colorful Gabriel Kuri tapestry that the clients sourced in Aspen through AGO Studios. Studio AK added curated sculptural pieces into the area as a nod to the defining, elegant staircase. The home’s curvature architecture was kept in mind when adding the circular Holly Hunt pedestal table and the custom curved indoor/outdoor boucle sofa into the mix.
The neutral color palette carries into the chic living room. Defined by white oak ceilings, bronze details, and natural warm white-plastered walls, the muted space’s simplicity allows the rich details and texture to shine. The living room is furnished with a pair of vintage Monc XIII chairs reupholstered in an indoor/outdoor Romo fabric. The chairs face toward a custom-designed Love House coffee table that anchors the warm and elegant gathering space. The furniture sits atop a silk and nettle Crosby Street Studios rug that blends seamlessly with the color scheme. Floor-to-ceiling Cowtan and Tout fabric curtains hang beneath the crown molding of the planked ceiling, where they flank a custom-designed Dover White marble surround. Towards the back of the room, one can enjoy an additional gathering area at a black Wentz card table set polished with Collection Particuliere x LF stools. The conversational site is set under an art piece by Thomas Hammer where warm and cool-tone neutrals are wrapped up by the Bower Studios mirror, featuring a French églomisé glass.
The formal dining room across the corridor takes inspiration from the family’s pandemic stint in Southern California by adopting a glint of laid-back, west coast style. Modern elements characterize the room as it is adorned with clean lines, strong contrasts, and rich textures. A lively Marc Phillips rug underneath a white oak dining table suited for eight definitely ties the space together, making for a dashing dinner party. Sit down on the surrounding Atelier Percell chairs and gawk at the small details that emphasize the contrast elements: thin black curtain rods set against airy gray sheers. These elements are at odds with the ebony Lovehouse cabinet that rests beside a glorious oak table. Look up and appreciate a steel and white leather Pelle fixture for the ages. Contrasting themes are interwoven and complemented together by the client’s own white Nino painting. It is set in a black frame and is the perfect addition to the texture of the room’s natural plaster walls.
If there’s one thing Studio AK had to keep in mind during this project, it was balance. In an attempt to design a family room that is as refined as it is kid-friendly, Studio AK selected performance fabrics that are as lush to the touch as they are durable. Lay down on one of the EJ Victor sofas covered in Thibaut fabric and close the Holly Hunt sheers for one relaxing afternoon. McGuire club chairs and custom-designed ottomans mirror each other, emphasizing their specified sleek form that is finished with natural detail. Warm and cool tones mesh together again as matte black Noir side tables highlight the bronze Christian Liaigre lamps. A personal touch, nostalgia sets in with a decorative surfboard that hangs on the wall. Built-ins of custom white oak accessorize the planked ceilings and leave room for the family to further personalize the space. A Phillips rug is added to highlight the many layers of texture around the room.
The family can enjoy the most important meal of the day in a textured breakfast room designed for daily family meals. Roped textures adorn the space within a Bone Simple chandelier and Teak Warehouse chairs that illustrate a laid-back dining experience. Durability and design merge in harmony once more as an indoor-outdoor Mark Phillips rug is placed in the center of the high-traffic area. The dining table is a wooden Ethnicraft that enhances the historic architecture’s sophistication by mirroring the sleekness of the built-in cabinets. Studio AK reupholstered the bench cushion in a Romo fabric and paired it with sheer white roman shades to soften the space while allowing the contrasting furnishings in the room to stand out.
The serene powder room will transport you to your favorite luxury spa as pure simplicity and natural finishes combine. The consistent uses of travertine, oak, and matte Venetian plaster throughout the renovation are mesmerizing as they take new forms here. The white oak incorporated throughout the main level is refreshed in a tongue and horizontal groove planking behind the room’s vanity. The travertine basin is a vivid reminder of the classic Coral Gables style and calls for natural furnishings throughout the home. These custom-made pieces come together to create synergy throughout with varying uses of similar materials. The bronze frame mirror and black steel fixtures continue to put on a display of yin and yang. Similar to the landscape of Coral Gables, Cedar and Moss scones add a liveliness to the muted textures.
Serenity continues to designate the upstairs as the at-home gym has been designed to keep peace at the forefront. Following a post-pandemic design, Studio AK took inspiration from the family’s former office gym. White oak is used again in a custom installation by a local South Florida millwork shop. The installation displays towels and equipment while hiding a fridge and hamper. The cohesion of contrast continues here with white oak and matte black details.
The vibes of Southern California seep into the first-floor guest suite. Using the client’s own black and white photograph of crashing waves framed in white oak, Studio AK sets the tone that the bold dynamics will continue in the bedrooms. The black woven leather CB2 bench and metal curtain rod are put against the natural wood finishings of the white oak headboard, side tables, and beachy chandelier. Holly Hunt fabric curtains hang down to the wool and jute Merida rug. Studio AK overcame the room’s ample yet narrow space by custom-designing an upholstered wall-to-wall headboard fit for a bed that any guest would be delighted to sleep on.
At-home office space is an essential post-pandemic feature for any home. Therefore, Studio AK needed to prioritize an office space that meets form and function for their busy client. This office is a picture-perfect Zoom backdrop as one takes meetings from a comfortable, tall back chair and desk. Art is added to inspire as the acrylic on canvas diptych by Maura Segal, purchased from Matthew Rachman Gallery, hangs on the wall. Take a much-needed break on the comfortable reupholstered Romo fabric club chair sourced from 1stdibs. The abstract nettle Crosby Street Studios rug is the perfect addition to this professional space.
Luxury is at the forefront in the primary bedroom as rich textures and complementary tones exude a feeling of deluxe comfort. The custom-built bed calls for attention as the counteracting silhouette of a modern Lawson Fenning bench sits at its feet. Natural, glazed oak is integrated into the space with bedside tables from Matthew Fairbank that boast white suede drawer fronts. A photograph by Dean West, photographer and visual artist, can be seen hanging on the wall as the deep blue demands relaxation. A pair of Dmitriy & Co swivel armchairs are added at the far side of the bedroom. Clients can take a spin around to get a complete look at the decadent area, detailed with a stone-clad fireplace and airy double French doors. Warm tones of the bench and side tables balance the polished gray Linen Elitis sheers and Holly Hunt paper weave wallpaper. All eyes will be on the Phoenix Gallery rock crystal lamp from 1st Dibs and the 3D art piece by Derrick Velasquez that hangs above the fireplace.
Studio AK did not want to create the typical pastel pink paint children’s room. On opposing sides of the bedside table, custom twin beds in Claremont fabric are put in a whimsical John Robshaw bedding print. Lighthearted teals tie the childish patterns together in one youthful swoop, giving the daughter a room her friends will always want to visit. The textures are offset by a white woven Crosby Street Studios rug and Fabricut curtain panels. Oak is seen again with paper cord benches from Zara Home. An earthy Serena and Lily lamp shade gives an ode to the earthiness of Coral Gables. The client’s personal framed art pieces are used above each bed to give form to the natural color palette of the room while emitting childlike whims of shape and graphic texture.
Photography by: Courtesy Michael Stavaridis