The Minimalist's Clean Slate

The Minimalist's Clean Slate

Gregory Han
Aug 2, 2010

Name: Joel Pirela
Location: Miami, Florida
Size: 949 square feet townhouse
Years lived in: 10

There are just some people who can do it all, and Joel Pirela is that sort of gent. His Miami townhouse is a showcase of not only a sharp-eyed modernist with impeccable taste for design classics and soon-to-be-classics, but also notably from Unplggd's perspective, he embodies the perfect example of harmonizing technology with the rest of the home's decor. No surprise, considering Joel is the found of one of our favourite design destinations, Blue Ant Studio, "a curated collection of modern architecture, home accessories and current design trends." He's been kind enough to give us a tour of his space below...

Unplggd Tour Survey:

My/our style: Mid Century + Modern

The inspiration for my home office/home theater: Minimalism + cable management. We tried to create a white, pure canvas that do not overwhelm us while we have to work and since the space is shared between my wife and me and since we have so many small businesses that don't relate to each other, (i.e. architectural blogging + art prints + tactical tools' design!) we rather have a clean slate to concentrate of the task at hand.

We work on the MacBook Pro and a 24" LED Cinema Display, wireless connection for mouse, keyboard and wi-fi. Even the printer, an Epson Artisan 700 is connected wireless to the computer, so we can take the laptop anywhere in the house and hit print! All non-essential computer hardware is tucked/stored out of view. The task lamp for the studio is a Tolomeo mounted on a wall bracket with the cables behind the wall. A pair of overhead ikea kitchen cabinets, help us with office related storage.

For the home/entertainment, we are really going full force Apple only devices. Everything flows from one device to another, the Apple TV that I got as a prize from Unplggd a while ago, still pumps video, TV shows, Movies, music and pictures to the Panasonic Plasma in the bedroom. The iPhones running Apple's Remote app, not only puts the control of any device at our fingertips but in a convenient package that's always in my pocket, so no more: "honey, where's the remote??!!" deal.

Downstairs in the living room, we have a tucked Mac Mini with all our music library and paired it with an Apple Cinema Display to show videos, Coverplay or the occasional Internet search. The Mini has small Altec speakers, enough to listen light music of DVD content but the wireless speakers are the main source for audio while watching or listening in the living room.

Favorite element in your space: Wireless modern speaker. It took me a while to get the "look" right, but I am very pleased now. Almost done. We are waiting for the Bluetooth speaker adapter, so, again, one less cable and more fun. We can lay the iPad on top of the speaker and let the music stream to it!

Biggest challenge in designing my space: Access technology everywhere at home. Thank good for Apple Airport Extreme with Airtunes. I'm not only using it as a streamer for my music but also as a repeater for my wifi signal all over my place.

What friends say about my space: Do you really have a 5 year old? (LOL) Yes, we are pretty neat and our daughter Isabella, 5 y.o. is already part of the family, being very organized, making her bed, keeping the room tidy and putting away all her toys once she's done playing. People tend to be relaxed in our place as we try to minimize on the amount of crap we gather during the years. We have a "twice a year spring cleaning", where we sell, donate, recycle or give away stuff that we haven't used in one year. Electronics included.

Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: I think the kitchen. It's "ok" right know, but I want to do a complete gutted out renovation and put some kind of computer (Mac Mini) with a small display in one of the cabinets (like those you see on refrigerators today)

Proudest DIY (do it yourself) project: The DIY speakers highlighted here on Unplggd. Not only ended working and sounding great, but it looks awesome.

Biggest indulgence with respect to my space: The refreshed closet. Tons of storage space and looks sleek. 2 bottom kitchen cabinets for shoes

Best advice about organizing or incorporating tech into the home: Start little by little. Pick your platform and stick to it… it will be easier on the long run. Macs are very versatile.

Dream source for stuff: You won't believe how good stuff from IKEA can be… and so hackable. I haven't used anything from IKEA to the purposed it was designed for! Great stuff for hiding components, make slide out trays for the printer and kitchen cabinets inside the closet!

We love details like this DIY Eames bird Joel constructed from foam modeling clay, automotive filler and semi gloss black paint with bamboo legs.


Tech Hardware:

  • Apple MacBook Pro (aluminum unibody)
  • Apple 24" LED Cinema Display (aluminum)
  • Apple Mini intel
  • Apple 22" Cinema Display
  • Apple Time Capsule with Airport Express 250GB
  • Apple Airport Express + Airtunes
  • Apple Magic Mouse (2)
  • Apple Bluetooth Keyboard (2)
  • Apple iPod touch (2)
  • Apple iPhone 4 (2)
  • Apple iPhone 3GS
  • Apple Ipod Shuffle
  • Apple TV 80GB
  • Seagate USB Harddrive 80GB
  • Epson Artisan 700 3 -in-1 wi-fi printer
  • JBL Spot speakers


  • GE washer and Dryer
  • Kitchen Aid stove and over
  • Kitchen Aid Refrigerator
  • Panasonic 42 HGTV Plasma
  • Pioneer DVD player HDMI

  • Herman Miller Eames LCW
  • Herman Miller Eames DCW
  • Herman Miller Eames RAR
  • Herman Miller Nelson Bench
  • Herman Miller Eames Side
  • Herman Miller Noguchi Table
  • Vitra clocks
  • Vitra Prouve standard chair
  • Magis chair 1 by Kostantin Grcic
  • Knoll Bertoia chrome
  • Knoll Bertoia black
  • Knoll Bertoia diamond
  • Knoll Saarinen marble table
  • Emeco 1006 Navy chair
  • Ikea DVD storage as entry floating cabinet
  • Ikea Besta as floating credenza
  • Ikea kitchen cabinets as closet
  • Ikea glass doors for reach in closet
  • BO Concept leather sofa with chaise


  • Modernica Nelson bubble lamp
  • Tolomeo Mini lamps for nightstand and office
  • Tolomeo mega for living room
  • DIY DNA sconce

Organizing Tools/Accessories:

  • Container store closet (reach in) and miscellaneous
  • Ikea for floating cabinets in living room and kitchen cabinets inside closet

Additional Elements:
Ikea mirrors and endless hacking to make sliding glass doors using ikea hardware.

Photos by Joel Pirela

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt