Balancing Old World architecture with modern luxury

July 1, 2008
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The renovation of an estate dating back to 1939 and located on LaGorce Island - an upscale residential development in Miami Beach, FL - involved the use of a variety of stone supplied by Opustone Granite & Marble Distributors in South Florida.


Built in 1939, a private estate located on LaGorce Island - an upscale residential development in Miami Beach, FL - was recently renovated. The primary design intent for the project was to preserve the character of the home, while developing a more contemporary living space. The desired look was achieved with the use of natural stone.

“The overall design for the project was to keep the original architecture and antiqueness, and at the same time, bring the new comforts and luxuries of a modern home - high ceilings, large bathrooms, bigger rooms, etc.,” said Eric Schigiel of Opustone Granite & Marble Distributors in South Florida, the stone supplier for the project. “We needed to make sure that the style had Old World charm and would keep up with all new home construction.”

The 16,000-square-foot residence, which sprawls over 42,750 square feet of land with a waterfront view, consists of seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a billiard room, a music room, a breakfast room and a pool area with a gazebo. A variety of stone was employed throughout these interior and exterior spaces - providing a refined yet warm atmosphere.

“[The client] had worked with us before on other homes, and they wanted us to offer them selections,” said Schigiel. “They knew they wanted to use as much stone as possible without overloading the home and keeping the right balance, in terms of stone and other materials. The main issue, again, was to use stone and keep the Old World charm, and at the same time, keep the feel fit for Miami.”

When choosing the stone palette, some consideration was given to the original architecture. “The most challenging aspect was - like with all remodels - to make sure the stonework fit the existing spaces and that the columns and accents were done the right way to fit into the old style.”

The estate’s backyard is reminiscent of an Italian villa. The combination of stone and lavish landscaping are key components in maintaining the residence’s Old World charm. For the loggias, 18- x 18-inch Nuvola Osso travertine tiles were employed as flooring. Borders comprised of 18- x 18-inch Primavera travertine complement the large-format pieces.

Further enhancing the exterior landscape is the pool area, where 12- x 12-inch travertine pavers are used. The tumbled finish adds to the Tuscan environment.

The residence’s posh design extends to the interior, where 24- x 24-inch Ivory Classic honed/filled travetine tiles were employed as flooring throughout the main living spaces. The same size format was used for the floor in the master bath, although the material was Antique Gold limestone. The limestone floor tiles are accented with White Cloudy onyx inserts and vanity top.

A second bathroom features a field of Sahara Gold marble with inserts of Rojo Alicante, which was also used as a floor border and backsplash. Additionally, Sahara Gold marble forms the vanity top.

For the floor in another bathroom, field tiles of White Onyx are set within a grid of Spring Yellow travertine. Further contributing to the overall luxurious feel is a vanity top made of Giallo Reale marble.

Following completion of the renovation, those involved with the project were very pleased with the results, according to Schigiel. The marriage between 1930s architecture and modern amenities was successfully achieved.

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