May 24, 2017
Our friends at Houzz go behind the scenes of how one family of six embraced a clean, modern design in their Miami home.
Modern Family Room, original photo on Houzz.
This home's straight lines, expanses of white, subtle architectural detail, and sparingly dolloped pops of color are a far cry from what the designers saw on their first visit. When the team at DKOR Interiors first encountered the pseudo-Tuscan house, it needed a lot of vision and a lot of construction to adapt to their clients' minimalist tastes.
The main challenge was to meet six family members' needs within the minimalist design. This included personal spaces for each family member, offices, shared spaces for gathering and play. Here's how they did it.
Who lives here: A Brazilian couple and their two daughters and two sons
Location: A suburb of Miami, Florida
Size: 6 bedrooms
"These are the kind of people who like open spaces and modern design," says Ivonne Ronderos, principal at DKOR. Knowing that the clients liked floating design elements, the team developed a concept of suspension, emphasized by dropped ceilings, LED-lit cutouts, and ethereal light fixtures.
Before Photo, original photo on Houzz.
The family and designers were working with a dark home full of dated fixtures and finishes with a pseudo-Tuscan theme: A lot of trompe l'oeil, superfluous moldings, earthen colors, dark wood, and limited natural light—in other words, the opposite of what one thinks of as fresh Miami style. But the clients "are very design savvy and saw the potential," Ronderos says. Also, the neighborhood is one where children play safely in the street, a rare find. Here, the dining room before.
In a minimalist home, continuity enhances the soothing feeling; there are no jarring transitions and details repeat from room to room. You'll see the metal-backed recessed lines around the doorways that transition down to the baseboards throughout the home. This reflective recess makes the walls seem subtly suspended.
A careful balance of contrasting materials is also key. Contrasting wood warms up the white.
Lots of concealed storage is the key to making minimalism work for a family with four kids, Ronderos says. The TV wall is packed with hidden storage including media cabinets and lots of room for toys and games.
Modern Dining Room, original photo on Houzz.
Tip: "Make sure mirrors reflect something pretty," Ronderos advises. "We used them to make this space look bigger."
At first glance, you'd never know how much storage is hidden in here; behind the first three doors on the left is concealed storage; one door conceals a sink for washing hands before dinner. The mirror panel on the right is a door that leads to the pantry and kitchen.
"We dropped the ceiling with a reveal on the sides and put LED lights around it," Ronderos says. A cloud-like Logico Lamp floats in the space between the ceiling and the table.
"Part of the concept was to have a very off-white and white color palette with one pop of color," Ronderos explains. "It was important not to overdo color in order to be minimalist."
Modern Living Room, original photo on Houzz.
In the open family room and kitchen area, new clerestory windows let in the bright Miami light, which bounces off the white surfaces.
The family gathers in this central space for TV and games. The parents can also watch the kids play in the pool from here.
Modern Kids, original photo on Houzz.
The eldest daughter shares her mother's penchant for minimalism. All of the kids' rooms have trundle beds for sleepovers.
A new modern icon, the Lucellino wall sconce by Ingo Maurer, adds a bedside touch of whimsy.
More high gloss and glass accentuates the pop of green on her desk. Each child's room has its own signature color.
Modern Kids, original photo on Houzz.
The two sons have the option of sharing a room or having singles—an operable garage door separating the two tucks into the ceiling.
The ceiling is a faux-concrete painted design by a local artist. It breaks up the white and adds a more industrial look.
Another bane of minimalist existence: wires. Custom carpentry hides wires and power strips.
Modern Bedroom, original photo on Houzz.
The team made the owners' existing bed minimalist by cutting off the legs and replacing them with a hidden platform that makes the bed appear to hover. Likewise, wall-mounted nightstands leave the floor space open underneath. A subtle wallpaper behind the headboard anchors the bed and nightstand area; a ceiling Logico lamp glows overhead.