Design — 02 February 2018
The top trends – literally – in South Florida high-rise design

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine

When South Floridians spend big money for a high-rise with a great view, they want an interior to complement – not compete – with the ocean, Intracoastal or city scenes. Three designers show how they help clients make the most of a view.

Designer: Jennifer Garrigues

Photographer: Troy Campbell

 Jennifer Garrigues is known for eclectic designs that are never boring or cliché, and for finding interesting art and objects from around the world. One of her repeat clients asked her to design a waterfront high-rise in Lost Tree Village in North Palm Beach.

“She decided she wanted to downsize,” Garrigues says. “She wanted it simple, beautiful and full of her favorites such as her collections of pre-Columbian art, modern art and sculptures. Some of the things I bought for her, some pieces were recovered and we added a few things to mix it up.”

Although she generally makes sure nothing competes with a view, she made an exception for an Indonesian altar table, one of the first items she found for a client in San Francisco about 30 years ago. Garrigues sent her a picture to see if she liked it. The client loved it but wanted to see it in person so she flew out to San Francisco. It’s been in her homes ever since.

Garrigues placed the table in front of the window because it can be seen through and doesn’t compete. Underneath she added an African Ashanti stool. She used the client’s three pieces of pre-Columbian art and a vase on the top to keep everything sculptural.

The TV room is based on neutral tones with a pop of blue color. She followed the same neutral tones in the master bedroom.

“Anytime I looked out of the window in any room I saw beach and ocean,” Garrigues says. “When you have those beautiful views the best thing to do is keep the design clean and simple but interesting.”

Designer: Maria Elena Holguin

Photographer: Zigma Visual

“Do the best you can for the design of the building and help me sell 42 units,” Maria Elena Holguin’s investor client said.

He asked her to design two models – plus the lobby and pool area – at 1300 Ponce, a high-rise project in Coral Gables.

“We wanted to go contemporary but not ultra contemporary,” she says. “We wanted to use color that didn’t offend anyone.”

The spaces were completely renovated. Her team replaced the flooring, removed popcorn ceilings and outdated chair rails and updated the kitchen. The 12-story building, a modern interpretation of Mediterranean style, was built in 2008. Units typically sell for $340,000 to $499,000.

One of the units looked into the courtyard and pool area with a view of the city all the way to Brickell Avenue. She avoided fancy draperies, installing side panels to preserve the view instead.

“I wanted the buyer to be able to see all of Coral Gables without any distraction,” she says. “The design inside is very calm.”

The colors she selected for the new flooring and furnishings are neutral with blue accents in the rug and pillows. The artwork is contemporary and not too distracting. Texture on the walls and rug keep the design from looking too contemporary.

The other unit has a view of a building under construction. Holguin used a pull-down shade, textured grass cloth wallpaper and interesting artwork to keep the view inside.

Designer: Willman Ramos

Photographer: John Stillman

Willman Ramos, a designer with Artefacto, illustrated the epitome of Brazilian style in two units in the Miami’s Marquis, a 63-floor condo on Biscayne Bay.

His design reflects what the website says is the nature of popular Brazilian design, “borrowing from the contemporary flair of northern Italy, the sensuality of southern France, the severity and simplicity of the Asian culture – all blended with the spice and casual flavor of Brazil.”

Ramos mixes leather, linen, silk, glass and metal combined with woven natural materials to create balance and a peaceful space.

His rules for designing to highlight the view are simple: “I try to bring the outdoor views inside by using mirrors. I use neutral tones and never block the view with heavy or tall pieces of furniture.”

One of the most interesting design elements is in a living room with white leather furniture, a black rug and a pop of red.

“We wanted to give dimension and the illusion of depth to the space by using an oversize image of a tunnel in light shades of gray. A red chair is a sculptural conversational piece,” he says.


 Jennifer Garrigues: Jennifer Garrigues Interior Design, 308 Peruvian Ave., Palm Beach, 561-659-7085,

 Maria Elena Holguin: Robb & Stucky, 4711 Le Jeune Road, Coral Gables, 305-667-5609,

Willman Ramos: Artefacto, 440 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 1600, Coral Gables, 305-774-0004,

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