New York interior designer Juan Carretero playfully engages with the sharp minimalist lines of Richard Meier’s architecture to create a home inspired by the sea at Four Seasons Residences at The Surf Club.
When interior designer Juan Carretero’s clients visited the Four Seasons Residences at The Surf Club in Surfside, they’d already made an offer on a different Miami home. That changed quickly. “They fell in love with the building at first sight,” says Carretero of the 12-story Richard Meier masterpiece, shimmering against the Atlantic Ocean in translucent, milky glass. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect engineered a strikingly elegant juxtaposition between the future and the past with his modern addition to the magnificently restored 1930s Mediterranean Revival club.
“There’s something very pure about the building,” says Carretero, principal of New York City-based Capital C Interiors (capitalcinteriors.com). “It’s a different scale to what’s happening in Miami. It’s very humane, not an overblown tower. The setting next to the club gives it a sense of history that other new towers don’t have.” His clients, a young Latin American couple with twins, were immediately drawn to the 4,750-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath condo. They tasked Carretero with creating a playful Miami vacation home in dialogue with Meier’s modern architecture and casting the ocean as muse.
An architect by trade, Carretero plays with both form and color to create compositions throughout the home that feel as if they’ve been swept in by the sea. The living room is anchored by a colorful abstract expressionist painting by Jackie Saccoccio from the owner’s collection whose splattering paint relates to the spiky white sea urchin objets d’art by Oly and to the pale blue and blush area rug whose pattern radiates out from the center like a scalloped seashell.
These radial forms also contrast the room’s many spherical and cylindrical shapes, including the white Klein Reid porcelain vases, the blush ball pillows and the multicolored glass lens tables by McCollin Bryan for Holly Hunt, which are reminiscent of shimmering seaglass. The room is splashed with brightly saturated yet translucent colors, but it’s still grounded in an aura of calming blush and white tones, thanks to the walls, sofas, throw pillows and objets d’art.
The master bedroom is a dreamy study in color theory with the palest of pastels working in concert: a seafoam wing-tipped headboard by Poltrona Frau, a seashell-pink and wood lacquered nightstand by Matsuoka for A. Rudin and a pale blue amorphous glass pendant light strung up by rope by Lindsey Adelman, all set against a raw, grass cloth-textured wallpaper and sand-colored travertine marble floors. The effect is like being inside a soap bubble. “It’s romantic in a contemporary way. It evokes the kinds of things you might find on a long sunset walk on the beach,” says Carretero.
The master bedroom also features one of Meier’s signature cylindrical columns, which Carretero accentuates with curvaceous furniture, like an overstuffed lounge chair, side table and oblong pouf bench, whose shapes mimic the column. “To continue the sharp lines of Meier’s architecture, we’ve mixed it with curvy, sexy furniture,” says Carretero. There are rather organic forms in almost all of the pieces to create less rigidity. It feels friendlier.”
With minimalist bathrooms and a kitchen already designed by Meier, Carretero left these spaces largely untouched. “They’re extremely well- finished,” he says. “The purity of the lines in the plaster creates a perfect box.” For a playful touch, though, he installed patterned wallpaper of tropical palms and checkered patios by Cole and Sons in the powder room, which he only realized after the fact is actually called Miami.
“It’s the perfect room to have fun and advertise a wittier, more entertaining side,” Carretero says.
A variation of this theme is expressed in the kitchen with a showstopping chandelier by midcentury German industrial designer Ingo Maurer, entitled Porca Miseria! The collector’s item is a cacophony of white porcelain plates and cutlery.
With Meier’s sharp, minimalist lines and Carretero’s playful, voluptuous interiors that reflect the pale palette of the sea, the home takes on a dreamy, submerged quality that’s easy to relax into. “Sunset on the beach is the most idyllic thing you can think of on holiday,” says Carretero. “This home embodies the ideal of happiness in that moment.”