A Day with Interior Designer Sam Robin
By Jon Warech
Interior designer Sam Robin is in high demand when it comes to high-end home design or when a hot spot around town needs a face-lift, but her best work happens at home, where a lifetime of travel has led to a vast treasure trove.
Every morning between 6 and 7 am, before Robin gives clients a piece of her mind, she finds peace of mind by meditating for 20 minutes at an altar by her bed. She then puts on one of her 15 pairs of signature sunglasses and walks her English bulldog and Cavalier King Charles spaniel along the Venetian Causeway as the sun rises over her Miami Beach townhouse. By the time she heads to the Sam Robin-designed gym in her building, at 7:30 am, she’s already on her third cup of espresso or macchiato from her Lavazza machine. It’s a big morning by Miami standards, but it gets Robin ready to start her day at her fully functioning office on the first floor of her home.
As a teenager in the ’60s, Robin returned a fur coat she’d received as a gift to buy a Salvador Dali-illustrated version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Since then, she’s been on an adventure of her own, developing her style from various trips around the world. Whether it’s an appointment at her Robicara gallery or a massage at The Standard, she elevates her game, spraying on Joseph Tricot fragrance that can be found only in Paris boutiques and toting a crocodile Hermès bag or a python purse from Rome (or any of a number of purses from a handbag collection that dates back to the 1940s and includes heirlooms passed down by her mother). Back at her home office, which she says “can look like a fabric explosion,” Robin’s workspace is a collection of her ideas. But in the areas she calls home, her art—from Josef Albers paintings to an 18th-century Persian drawing of polo players on a piece of ivory—is a collection of memories. “Most of these pieces I’ve known all my life, and they have many stories to tell,” she says.
As her workday comes to a close, Robin loves to celebrate the successes of each day by meeting a friend for a 7:30 pm cocktail or dinner at Soho Beach House. Her favorite nights, though, are spent entertaining on her roof deck, where guests sip Champagne while watching the sun set from a built-in banquette overlooking downtown. Her routine, perfectly bookended by sunrise and sunset, lends a Zen-like feel to Robin’s lifestyle, but it’s a high-end Zen as even run-of-the-mill items like a magnifying glass and flashlight, are, in the Robin household, designed by Hermès and Marc Newson, respectively. “I’m a minimalist,” she says. “I just need 20 more houses to put all this stuff in.”