Designer Natalia Miyar caught her first glimpse of her Coral Gables, Florida, home while out driving one day. She didn’t think much of it: The exterior was painted a drab gray, and the garden was untended. But she had a feeling that there was more to it and went hunting for the real estate listing on Zillow. While the owners declined her first viewing, they came around the next time she was in town. Miyar closed on March 19, 2020, just as the world changed.
Despite the ensuing COVID-19 lockdown, the Miami area became a boomtown, making headlines for its economic and population growth in equal measures. But it wasn’t the weather or nascent tech sector that compelled the Mexico City–born Cuban designer to put down roots there. It was family.
Miyar grew up in the Miami suburbs and went on to receive her master’s degree in architecture from the University of Miami. But wanderlust and an adoration of all things old-world (she studied art history at Brown University as an undergrad) saw her across the pond in 2007, where she worked at the London office Candy London and later became the design director of luxury interior design firm Helen Green Design. Miyar launched her own residential and hospitality design firm Natalia Miyar Atelier in January 2016; her first hotel project, the Twenty-Two, was one of the buzziest London launches this year.
Returning to Miami to put down roots wasn’t necessarily in the cards, but when the opportunity arose (she still has offices in New York and London) it made Miyar feel “almost like a student again,” she says. “But with a freedom that I wouldn’t have had 20 years ago.”
That freedom is on full display in her newly renovated, 3,600-square-foot home, Casa Palmarito. The 1925 Italian-country-style house, built by architect Robert Law Weed, is an architectural landmark in the Italian Village enclave, one of Coral Gables’s several themed historic neighborhoods. Reimagining the home on her own during lockdown afforded Miyar the opportunity to reconnect with her design intuition.
She started by stripping out the layers of “inauthentic” period detailing that had been added by previous owners, referencing Weed’s original drawings to inform her decisions. “There’s a balance between keeping the integrity of the architecture alive and adapting it to contemporary life,” Miyar says. “For me, what needed to be authentic was the detailing and the materials. But then there were spaces, like the bathrooms, that I thought had to be of today.”
Miyar brought in clashing patterns and colors—a palette a less confident designer might shy away from—inspired by being in nature: textured espresso oak cabinets in the kitchen; Phillip Jeffries turquoise jute wallpaper in the primary bedroom; and “statement stone” sinks in each bathroom. Her own wallpaper, a bright and bold collaboration with Fromental inspired by the work of Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, adorns the dining room walls. “If I could wallpaper every room, I probably would,” Miyar says with a laugh. (The full Fromental collection will launch October 5.)
The energy carries through the house into the garden, populated with low-maintenance Florida native plantings and outfitted as another living room, with an RH, Restoration Hardware sofa, Arne Jacobsen lounge chairs, and a cocktail table by Tighemi. “I love having people over, and I love having guests,” Miyar says. “I like my interiors to be spaces where you feel comfortable in a cocktail dress or in jeans.”
And with her parents and siblings close by, the line between formal and casual hosting becomes a happy blur—another artful mix from Miyar’s expressive palette.
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