Inspired by sculptural forms, rejecting all hard edges, this extraordinary home embodies the essence of organic modern architecture. Interior designers Charlotte Dunagan and Thomas Diverio, along with architects Francisco Llado Neuffer and Rob Moehring, are part of the design team Miami developer Todd Michael Glaser assembled to create this modern marvel poised at water’s edge on Star Island, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Miami Beach. Influenced by its tropical surrounding environment, this exquisite dwelling appears to have sprouted from the grounds designed by landscape architect Chris Cawley to enhance the contemporary tropical feel.
“The landscape flows from the ground level to a series of raised gardens that are completely integrated with the home’s architecture,” Llado says. “Towering canopy trees and an abundance of tropical plantings accentuate the property.” The pie-shaped lot, with a narrow front and wider rear, dictate the home’s shape. Built as a primary family dwelling that boasts 250 feet of waterfront views, the main home comprises 17,000 square feet and includes an elevator, a media room, two custom wine cellars, a gym and a spa. A Mediterranan-style guest house, which was formerly the Miami Beach Yacht Club, hosts family and friends right next door. “The historic structure was lifted and moved to the other side of the property to make way for the new house,” Llado says. “This created a wonderful mix of true 1920s architecture seamlessly integrated with unique modern architecture.”
When melded together, innovative architectural elements and the interiors of the entire residence, created by the design duo of Dunagan — who the homeowners have known and worked with for 18 years — and Diverio, incorporate minimalist furnishings to create the perfect marriage in this organically rich residence. Walnut ceilings with custom lighting throughout offer a bold contrast to clean elements such as white lacquer cabinetry as well as various leathers, suedes, and light woven fabrics. The walls have a floating base reveal, and an oversize dining room and living room have operable wood fins so these areas can be more intimate when closed off from one another. Pocketed electric sliding doors throughout make indoor/outdoor living seamless.
“Curated furnishings in many different styles give the main-floor rooms a lived-in ambience and this modern home character,” Dunagan says. “We wanted the interiors to complement the architecture with natural organic elements such as limestone and travertine flooring, textured wall coverings, and wooden walnut finishes and ceilings. We wanted the sleekness of modern design while appreciating the warmth of natural components — the style is part minimalist, part naturalist,” she says.
“All of this helped to create bold architecture and movement,” Diverio says. “We also wanted to design a space that is modern and warm, but still edgy with a tropical ambience. We contrasted earth tones with black metal and white glass for all the lighting. Leather textured furniture is placed on a sophisticated timeless background allowing for any art collection to be featured.”
Interior walls become textural canvases as natural elements flow through to the private spaces, where the master suite’s open glass doors with elongated wood panels lend a modernist sensibility that connects to a serene tropical landscape. “Simply said, organic modern style blends the clean lines of modern design with the warmth and ease of natural objects and materials,” Diverio says.
Outside, the same aesthetic repeats as a custom pool blends with the curves of the exterior architecture, while blue and gray finishes with hints of turquoise mirror the soothing ocean hues. All the bespoke millwork was designed with clean lines to contrast with the curvaceous organic vibe. Various heights and textures — a mix of wood with reflective glass, metals, and marbles — enhance the senses. The entire home is wrapped throughout with sustainable metal that appears to look like wood to withstand Florida’s subtropical climate.
“It’s not often that an owner provides the designers an uninterrupted experience … and one that allows a team to lift and relocate an historic Mediterranean home to create a guest house,” Diverio says. Playing out the “simplicity is beauty” philosophy, the collaborative efforts of this talented team resulted in a unique, out-of-the box home.