Name: Niraya and Humberto
Location: Miami, Florida
Size: 943 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned
We are an architect (Niraya) and a civil engineer (Humberto) and yes, we discuss design a lot. And ever since we lived in Brooklyn, we've always dreamed of owning a loft. Living in Miami we knew this was not possible, especially if we wanted to stay in our neighborhood of Coconut Grove. So we looked and looked for a townhouse that we could convert into a "loft." Luck would have it that we found this place that was the manager's quarters of the Marriott Hotel in the '70s and '80s. It took us 21 months of nonstop DIYs and living in a construction site (with an open scaffold in the middle of the entryway for four months!), but now we love every corner of our home.
Every space is designed to our needs and after all the work we can see how it flows almost perfectly and flawlessly. We love to entertain in our outdoor dining space; we love our huge couch great for many people playing board games or comfortable for sleeping two guests (especially when the Puerto Rican family comes and visit). We spend a lot of time in the kitchen like Latinos that we are, cooking or just hanging out. The kitchen area is a big part of our culture.
We love our art; many paintings were done by Niraya, friends, and other artists; pieces collected from our trips around the world and other commercial pieces that caught our eye. The palette of our house is light, neutral, clean and crisp that complements our tropical environment, making it like a gallery where our art pops. Art, design, and manual labor are what our house is all about.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Minimalist, but there is some industrial, some rustic, some Miami-ness.
Inspiration: Scandinavian Design and many previous projects; with every project, Niraya took something with her that she wanted to play with again.
Favorite Element: Our biggest element we kept in mind while renovating was that most of the design should run in horizontal lines, influencing many of Niraya's design decisions. All doors have a horizontal detail, the floating wood steps on top of a porcelain reveal, the library, the backsplash, the bathroom tiles, the wooded beam in the kitchen. It makes the design cohesive and it tells a story.
Biggest Challenge: Oh, so many! Probably the kitchen. It was so small and dark. It had a non-structural column that was an eyesore for such a small space. It was not structural but the electrical panel was placed there. We relocated the electrical panel, expanded the space a bit and raised the ceiling. Our biggest reward was when we discovered the structural wood beam buried under plaster. It was contractor's quality wood in very bad aesthetic shape, but with some TLC it became the best design element of the kitchen.
Proudest DIY: The closet under the stairs. We wanted to have a closet for the washer and dryer and maximize the space, but we wanted something that did not read as closet when you enter the house. We built the "floating" box for our keys and mail and the bi-fold doors with ventilation for our laundry. Like every project, it started with Niraya coming up with a design that Humberto wanted to simplify in a more practical but less appealing way. At the end we compromised and we love the finished product.
Biggest Indulgence: We like to blend high and low pieces so almost every room has an indulgence and some budget pieces. Our latest indulgence is our custom-made solid white oak coffee table. Humberto was shocked when Niraya told him how much we were paying, but later fell in love with it and now it is one of his favorite pieces. The powder room is full of indulgences, but beauty justified removing the tiny shower it had before.
Best Advice: Patience, patience, patience! Renovations come with unexpected situations and surprises, especially when you are doing the renovation by yourself. Prepare timeline and budget, but be prepared when things don't go accordingly.
PAINT & COLOR
SAll Walls —Benjamin Moore OC-22 Cal
mFlooring — Structure Pearl 24" x 48" from Alexton Tiles
Sofa — Söderhamn Sectional in Natural, IKEA (color not longer available)
Coffee Table — Custom Design (built by our local carpenter)
Media Unit — Custom Doors (built by us), Besta Frame, IKEA
Side Table — Swole Small Table in Black by Blu Dot
Desk & Console — Industrial Storage Desk & Modular Media by West Elm
Chair — Wishbone Chair from DWR
Table Light — AJ Table Lamp from DWR
Planter — Mid-Century Turned Leg Standing Planter by West Elm
Table & Bench — Bought in Amish town we we lived in PA.
Chairs — Ikea PS 2012 & Ikea Reidar (No Longer Available)
Planters — Shane Powers Ceramic Wall Planters by West Elm (no longer available)
Bed — Storage Bed from West Elm (no longer available)
Nightstands — Slice white wall mounted storage shelf by CB2
Media Console — Besta Frame & White High Gloss Doors , IKEA
Rocker — Eames Molded Plastic Rocker from DWR
Gray Wood like Porcelain — Griggio
Green Strip — Moss in Wasabi color
Pedestal Sink — Aquabrass Andes free-standing square basin from Decorators Plumbing
Wall mounted Faucet — VG05002CH Titus Wall Mount Bathroom Faucet by Vigo from Wayfair
Soap Disposal —Bijou Soap Dispenser by Nameeks from Wayfair