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Inside a Light-Filled Miami Family Home Filled With Furniture That Doubles as Art

Envisioned by Allen Saunders Design, the Miami digs include both custom pieces and works by Jorge Zalszupin, Niamh Barry and more.

Allen Saunders Design Kris Tamburello
The green artwork in the living room is a piece of painted glass by Kevin Harman.

When an active young family from New York City was relocating to a 7,838-square-foot waterfront property in Miami, they entrusted Allen Saunders Design with some clear priorities for their newly built residence. They wanted comfort, functionality and “a timeless modern aesthetic” to pair with contemporary Balinese-inspired architecture, according to Saunders. It’s no surprise, then, that the entry foyer—the main artery of the home both for those who live there and for visitors—is the manifestation of all those desires.

Creating an entryway with a mix of organic materials and muted tones was not without risk, Saunders points out. “Combining multiple finish materials in varying color tones, textures and patterns within an entrance area could prove disastrous,” he says. “The space could easily become extremely complicated, visually cluttered and overwhelming to the eye,” he adds. “Our selections were methodical and placed with intention to achieve the quiet balance desired by our client and design team.”

Allen Saunders Design

The chandelier in the foyer is by Irish artisan Niamh Barry. Since it was custom, it took over a year to make.  Kris Tamburello

Entertainment spaces were another priority. The whole home—which Saunders designed from the ground-up—has an indoor-outdoor feel, most notably the living room, which features glass walls that look out onto the terrace. Saunders brought in some lounge chairs by Jorge Zalszupin into the space to give it a more tropical feel. “There’s not a lot of walls in the room because there’s a lot of glass,” he says. “So we had to do art pieces that were actual pieces of furniture.” In addition to the Zalszupin chairs, other pieces of collectible design that add an artistic flair include a brass Rosanna coffee table from Erwan Boulloud—one of only eight in the world—and Lindsey Adelman Knotty sconces.

Allen Saunders Miami

The dining room. The pendant lights are from Bocci, the chairs are Jorge Zalszupin and the table is custom-made by Saunders’ studio. 

The dining room is in the same space, and is separated by a glass-enclosed fire feature perched atop a piece of reclaimed wood from an old marine warehouse in Seattle. “Not that you need a fireplace in Florida but they loved the idea of having that glow,” says Saunders. “If they’re entertaining in the evenings they can turn it on.”

Allen Saunders Miami

The kitchen. The island is made from petrified wood thats turned to stone.  Kris Tamburello

The kitchen was another place of importance. It’s an ideal spot for preparing food for a dinner party or family gathering with four ovens, three dishwashers, three sinks and wine refrigerators. Saunders added warmth to the space by wrapping the exhaust hood in 10-inch planks of oak—the same material used for the floors upstairs—and used a petrified wood from India for the island.

Allen Saunders Miami House

The home office. The light fixture is from Roll and Hill, the desk is custom-made by Saunders’ studio and the chairs are Jorge Zalszupin.  Kris Tamburello

It’s a property that Saunders designed to grow with the family. While the children are young now, they may grow out of certain spaces in a few years. The playroom, for instance, which is located on the first level, can be turned into a bar that opens out to the lawn. There’s room to add a sculpture garden outside as well as the kids get older and spend less down time outside. Above all, though, the home had to be easy to maintain, and it had look warm and inviting. They didn’t want something that felt cold,” the designer adds. “They didn’t want to feel like they were living in a museum.”

Check out more photos of the Miami digs below:

Allen Saunders Miami

The primary bedroom. Th ebed and nightstands are custom from Saunders studio.  Kris Tamburello

Allen Saunders Miami

The primary bathroom. The fixtures are from Dornbracht.  Kris Tamburello

Allen Saunders Miami

A peak into one of the outdoor spaces.  Kris Tamburello

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