Bay Harbor Islands Home is a Contemporary Sanctuary

Deviation from what is expected is holistically essential when it comes to design,” Los Angeles-based interior designer Norm Wogan says. While he doesn’t spare ingenuity when it comes to any project, this one was particularly special. He has known the owners for 20 years. They’re like family.

Within the shady suburbia of Bay Harbor Islands, a quaint community separated from Miami’s mainland by a causeway, this home with exquisite views of the Indian Creek golf course is a cross section of Balinese style and contemporary design. And still, it easily incorporates 6,900 square feet of livable space fit for a family with children. “Each piece of furniture is purposeful and comfortable,” the homeowner says. “No space went to waste.”   

Entering the home is like walking through a secret garden, or traversing a bridge over calm, tranquil waters. Columns of Ipe wood line the pathway flanked by a koi pond and lush tropical landscape that will only get better with time. “We wanted to create intimate spaces, where with a singular experience, step by step, one seems to pass into a sanctuary,” architect Cesar Molina says. The space spotlights a water fountain feature that can be seen from inside the home in a way that allows the outside to play a vital role in the home’s core essence.

“I’ve always loved working with color and I’m not afraid of using it,” Wogan says. “I wanted jewel tones, but not overpowering, and I tried to bring nature’s hues inside.” In keeping with the warm interior scheme, the fireplace wall in the living area was a must for the homeowner. Made of brass and bronze with a gunmetal finish, the wall is more of an art piece. Deep royal blue hues cross the boundary between inside and out.   

White French oak appears to float as it ascends the stairway to watch over the dining area below. As the epicenter of the home, the dining area is outfitted with a stunning custom chandelier that enraptures both designer and homeowner, making its presence in the home an actual must. “I was always mesmerized by this piece. It’s so handsome, yet feminine,” says the designer referring to the masculinity of the solid brass that combines with the beauty of Murano triangle cylinders cascading in two different sizes to create a layered configuration. “It’s a unique, strong statement piece.”    

Walnut makes an appearance in a warm and welcoming study, where a custom, LED-illuminated tray ceiling houses a wired light fixture of bronze and brass. “We are all about the lights,” Wogan says. “They’re the jewelry of a house.” With the water fountain and koi pond just beyond the wall of glass, the room is a tranquil space that houses the homeowner’s eclectic collection of books and offers a quiet spot to read.    

Because the homeowners are kosher, it was essential for the kitchen to house multiple ovens and delineated storage spaces, but not necessarily in a noticeable fashion. The designer wanted the heart of the home to speak volumes … and that it does.    

A light and airy ambience wraps the master bedroom, where the feminine twists and turns of the chandelier’s sinuous shape immediately catches the eye.  “When I look at it, it reminds me of the most fabulous piece of jewelry,” the homeowner says. “I love it.”    

Nearby, metallic tones reappear in the master bath. From the brushed leather marble flooring to the Murano glass light fixture fabricated like a canopy of twisted rope, the sandy gold, cream, bronze and beige elements provide shimmer and shine.      

Outside entertainment areas embrace the nature of the tropics.  A private garden enclave encapsulates a tropical palette in a setting shut off from the main areas. Situated on the second floor, the balcony boasts views of the koi pond just below. And the home’s rear panorama brings an infinity pool shimmering with quartzite marble into full view. Beyond, the loggia acts as a transition between inside and out.      

“I love every single space,” the homeowner says. “Every room is specific to what we needed and wanted, all thanks to Norm. He is literally a genius. He was able to pick out what I wanted, combine it with what my husband wanted and make magic.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Norm Wogan, Wogan Design, Los Angeles, CA

Architecture by Cesar A. Molina with Isa Abreu-Nunez, CMA Design Studio, Inc., Coral Gables, FL

Builder Ray Castellanos, Authentic Construction, Miami, FL

Landscape Architecture by AJ Morales, One Seed, Coral Gables, FL

Text by Alexandra Roland

Photography by Ken Hayden, Miami Beach, FL