Home Tour: A Tropical House Designed for Outdoor Living
“My design philosophy is simple: to create a space that is necessary, liveable, functional, and most importantly, comfortable,” says Fernanda Dovigi, founder of Toronto-based design firm FMD Design.
This 11,000 sq ft tropical family home in Miami ticks all the boxes. Located in a private neighbourhood that’s surrounded by traditional and Mediterranean-style buildings, the abode stands out with its contemporary architecture created by architect Chad Oppenheim.
“I think this house is the best expression of subtropical modern architecture. It’s the best quality and execution for any modern home in Miami I have seen so far—and trust me, I have seen many,” says Dovigi. “The level of architecture design done by Oppenheim is unbelievable; he is one of my favourite architects. I feel like that is always the intention of designing: to create spaces that exude experiences and moods.”
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With a simple brief to “not be afraid of colour and to focus on comfort”, Dovigi envisioned the eight-bedroom property home as a modern, open space that resonates with both character and comfort. The walls, panels and millwork are clad in Belgian oak, which adds warmth and colour throughout the interiors. Roman travertine lines the floors, adding a touch of luxury to the home.
Capitalising on the tropical weather, Dovigi emphasised on indoor-outdoor living throughout the home by installing a myriad of concrete and steel sliding doors at various aspects of the home that lead to lush courtyards and pockets of garden spaces.
“With the Miami climate, you can leave the sliding doors open at all times, and truly enjoy the natural landscape surrounding the home,” the designer notes. “This created outdoor experiences in areas that ordinary homes wouldn’t have. The small details, such as the smell of the ocean while reading a book in your living room, feeling the morning breeze while making your coffee, or hearing the birds chirping during sunset, is truly magical.”
Taking the centre stage in the main living room is a massive Minotti Freeman sectional sofa by Milan-based architect and designer Rodolfo Dordoni. Sitting under a trio of vibrant blue artworks, the large sofa, designed with custom depth, is paired with other Dordoni designs such as the Minotti Milton coffee table and Damier ottomans.
The homely retreat forms a cosy space for the family to lounge, relax, and bond. “I love oversized furniture as well as plush and comfortable rugs. I always change the depth and customise pieces in order to create and achieve more comfort,” says Dovigi. “The goal for me is to always create a space that invites you in to take a sit, lounge, and stay for a while.”
The large sliding doors also draw the eye outwards to the verdant green foliage surrounding an open area. Here, the design team crafted an alternate communal space for the family to gather and soak in the sweeping views of the vibrant landscape. “This home is so special because it has so many different outdoor spaces, each designed with a different purpose,” says Dovigi. “With that in mind, it was very easy for me to come up with the perfect scenarios for the individual spaces as all of them tell a story.”
Dovigi used pieces from Kettal Cala collection by London-based studio Doshi Levien to craft a welcoming space. “Kettal is one of my favourite outdoor brands, for so many reasons. Their collections are full of variety; yet when I mix pieces from different lines within their brand, they still flow together and create continuity,” the designer gushes.
“For me, I also value longevity. Their pieces are durable, withstanding natural elements without fading or chipping. The frames and base from the collection are solid aluminum, and their cushions are laminate instead of waterproof—which is important, as waterproof cushions don’t fully repel water.”
These soothing outdoor spaces can be accessed throughout the home, whether it’s the various living rooms, the master bedroom, or the open-plan kitchen areas. A large dining space that’s connected to the rest of the home through the outdoor garden features the stunning Synapses Table, designed by Italian designer Massimo Castagna for luxury furniture brand Henge.
Sitting under the Henge Horizontal Polygonal light rings that are also designed by Castagna, the table is accompanied by the plush Minotti Lance dining chairs, also designed by Dordoni.
The open roof terrace, boasting a panoramic perspective of the cityscape, was converted into a large entertainment space. Decked with furniture from Kettal’s Landscape collection and Boma collection, the area is designed for family and friends to lounge comfortably whilst admiring the sea views—which Dovigi highlighted as a cause for concern when picking out the furniture. “Being close to the ocean, you have a lot of salt in the air. We had to carefully choose the materials and furnishings with that in mind.”
The house features an impressive infinity pool with a deck featuring Kettal furniture
An aerial view of the entire property, which is surrounded by a lush landscape
When the homeowners fancy a swim at home rather than at the beach, a large infinity pool on the ground floor awaits them. Created out of a single piece of acrylic glass that is 76 ft long by 3 ft, the pool is a stunning sight with its azure waters.
The deck connecting the home to the pool is outfitted with furniture from Kettal’s Landscape collection and Vieques and Roll collection, designed by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. “I think the space (the homeowners) enjoy the most is this sitting area by the pool,” reveals Dovigi. “It’s very captivating.”
Completed in the span of two years, the result of Dovigi’s work is a sophisticated tropical home that surprises in scale and space. “The house is a perfect getaway, surrounded by nature and luxury everywhere,” she enthuses.
The outcome of the project also personally spoke to the designer’s creative philosophy. “The goal is to create an experience, a mood, and a moment where you say to yourself: ‘wow, this is different; it’s beautiful and comfortable, and it’s a space I want to spend my time in’. In my opinion, when it comes to design, there is a lot of psychology involved. You need to understand the needs and wants and manifest them both beautifully and functionally. My job is to execute the design with creativity and deliver a space that can be enjoyed for years to come.”
- ImagesFMD Design