When Design/Solutions president Luciana Fragali secured the commission to remake a seventh floor condo in Surfside’s trapezoidal Fendi Chateau, she wasn’t charting new territory. The approximately 6,500-square-foot-home would be her sixth project in the luxury oceanfront building. Because Fendi Chateau contains only 58 flow-through residences, Design/Solutions really represents.
“We had worked on so many successful projects in the building that the referral came naturally,” Fragali recalls. The owners—a couple from Atlanta with three high school and college-aged children—actually purchased the unit from another of the designer’s clients. The sprawling four-bedroom would be a dream retreat boasting one of the most coveted addresses on the famed barrier island that contains Miami Beach.
The previous owner was an investor who hadn’t left much of a mark. “It was pretty raw and simple, not designed,” Fragali says. Only the kitchen and bathroom would remain, while the existing furniture was jettisoned, donated at the new client’s request. “The brief was to transform it into a home,” the designer says, and she and her team went to work on the interior architecture, adding dropped ceilings and extensive millwork, plus new closets and doors.
Fragali, who founded her Coconut Grove firm in 2005, has located the sweet spot between modern durability and material warmth. Her firm takes on only high-end modern and contemporary projects such as this one, and fills them with a generous sampling of her custom pieces.
The home’s concept—neutral and layered—was informed by Fragali’s Brazilian heritage. “A lot of my inspirations come from Brazil,” she says, “which I think is the design capital of the world—I’m proud of my people.” But she adds that she’s over the rustic finishes that many associate with the country’s aesthetic. The designer also counts Kelly Wearstler and Patricia Urquiola as inspirations, though with regard to the Fendi Chateau project, their influence is hard to discern except around the edges: Design/Solutions is doing something all its own.
“I always advise clients to go neutral for big spaces, so they don’t get bored,” Fragali says. Her clients quickly agreed. Color was saved for accessories, which could be mixed and matched and rotated. And she guided the owners away from severity. “They thought they were much more minimalistic than they actually are,” she says. Fragali convinced them that the concept needed an injection of warmth through texture, artwork, curtains, and accessories.
Even within its limited palette, the family room carries mighty visual interest—and coziness. The TV hangs from a richly veined Calacatta marble wall with a matte finish, above a gel fireplace. The walnut custom shelves feature a staggered design, and exude the warmth that was the designer’s goal. The beige sofa and white chaise are from Flexform.
The living room is a variation on the theme, perhaps a shade more formal. Another Flexform sofa appears, with a low leather bookshelf attached in lieu of an armrest. Gray Moroso armless chairs back up against the million-dollar water view, while three Jader Almeida pendants frame the room at the opposite end.
The master bedroom sings from the same songbook—a serene vision in wood, white, and gray, illuminated by LEDs tucked into the dropped ceiling.
“Originally, only one section of the ceiling had been dropped,” Fragali says, “so we widened it and matched it with a second section of dropped ceiling.” The recessed part of the ceiling floats above the bed, providing a strong focal point, while the walnut bedwall features a custom suede headboard with vertical channels. The daybed is from B&B Italia.
However, Fragali notes that much of the living goes on outdoors, on the ample terrace. The commanding eight-seat dining table was sourced from Kettal, and features a ceramic top that echoes Calacatta.
“It’s a very durable material for outdoors, not as heavy as marble, with Dedon chairs,” the designer explains. “The view is absolutely stunning, with a clear view to the ocean. It’s not very windy because it’s on a low floor, so it’s an outdoor space that really can be enjoyed, especially during the winter.” Which, after all, was the point of the purchase.