Detailed Artistry

International Designer Juan Montoya Creates An Eclectic Yet Elegant Decor For A Well-Traveled, Art-Collecting Couple's Waterfront Estate
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Drawing upon an illustrious heritage for delivering meticulously rendered interiors for a worldwide clientele, interior designer Juan Montoya's latest project in the exclusive Miami enclave of Golden Beach, Fla., exemplifies his holistic, custom-tailored design philosophy. Nestled on a barrier island that separates the Intracoastal Waterway from the Atlantic Ocean, this two-story, 10,000-square-foot estate is carefully sited to afford expansive views of the Intracoastal, and features eight bedrooms and baths with additional outdoor areas for al fresco entertaining and dining.

Montoya's history with the owners originated years ago; the wife's parents are former clients for whom he designed homes in Colombia. "The daughter and her husband had been living in another community not far from Golden Beach, but when her parents purchased property here, the couple decided to build their own primary residence nearby to create a sort of family compound where they could all spend more time together," says Montoya, who was given free reign with the home's color and materials palette — presenting his clients with sketches of how he envisioned each space in accordance with their lifestyle.

Charged with designing an elegant yet comfortable and welcoming home to amply accommodate the owners and their combined families (including six children aged 15 to 20), Montoya's services extended to all aspects of the home's design, from fine-tuning the architectural plan and directing exterior detailing and landscaping, to providing full interior planning, design and furniture selection. "Attention to detail is what makes for a successful design," the designer says of his philosophy. "Every decision, every element must be considered to work in harmony within the context of the whole."

The home's eclectic, tropical decor initiates in the foyer, where a host of natural elements are presented in an array of handpicked, one-of-a-kind furnishings set against the owners' extensive art collection. A conversation grouping tucked beneath Montoya's custom-designed stairway includes an early 20th-century daybed from the Philippines paired with a "drum" accent table and a tall, hand-carved wood sculpture by Gary Cane. Directly opposite, a Japanese console table flanked by two circa 1905 rattan chairs from Indonesia and a pair of French-imported Serge Roche torchieres stands beneath a vibrant, oversized oil painting by Antonio Barrera.

The foyer opens onto the living room, where an archway leads to a sumptuous bar room. Here, strong architectural detailing and light-catching finishes lend a sense of intimacy and comfort. Walls clad in pale blond-finished anigre paneling are applied in a large, square format redolent of the Art Deco style, which extends to the shallow coved ceiling finished in silver leaf. The furniture arrangement features another grouping of disparate pieces, including a new, custom-designed sofa paired with two ebony-framed 1920s chairs reupholstered in white chenille and a white-leather armchair from the 1950s.

The living room also gives way to the formal dining area via a pair of custom-designed, Indonesian-style ebonized doors with rattan panels. The space is grounded by a grouping of Art Deco pieces purchased in Paris, including an ebony-wood table, buffet and eight chairs that Montoya had recovered in beige suede. Montoya added a layer of subtle texture by having the walls painted in a Venetian plaster-like finish that looks and feels like glove-soft suede.

A favorite gathering space is the generous-sized family room, a combined library, media center and home theater defined by luxurious finishes and meticulous architectural features. "This space is all about texture, a juxtaposition of light and dark, and tactile finishes to lend a sense of warmth, comfort and relaxation," Montoya says. Here, walls clad in floor-to-ceiling, ebony-framed panels of honey-toned oak wrap the space in warm, wood tones, while a comfortable grouping of deep-seated pieces is arranged around a Japanese daybed used as a cocktail table.

"I do not have a formula," Montoya summarizes, "but I do have a style, which I imbue into every project. I like to think of myself as a tailor who selects the finest materials to clothe each interior in an appealing and comfortable way. Just as a tailor specifies every detail to measurement and dimension, so should each design element work together to compose one beautiful, harmonious creation."

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Interior Design
Juan Montoya, Juan Montoya Design Corp., New York, NY

Ken Hayden, Miami Beach, FL

Text by
De Schofield