Design & Real Estate

Fine Designs

Meet some of South Florida’s most revered interior designers. Their insights, taste and dedication are sure to get you thinking about which areas in your home need a little extra spruce up.
Text by Sandy Lindsey | Profile photos by Edward Leal | Project photos courtesy of Respective Designers | October 31, 2018 | Design & Real Estate

Talia M. Grijalva
California Closets Miami
900 Park Centre Blvd., Ste. 476 Miami Gardens

One of Talia M. Grijalva’s favorite things about Miami is that it is a true international destination. “I love that you can find extractions from different cultures wherever you go,” she says. “Whether you’re in Calle Ocho, Miami Beach, Brickell or Key Biscayne, you will find a mix of people, fashions and styles. I love that the California Closets proprietary 3D CAD program makes the process so much fun for the client and completely dissolves the idea of a language barrier affecting the project. I’m able to work with someone from France, Spain or Japan while having a smooth and enjoyable process from start to finish.” In her many years of experience, she has helped her clients’ families grow. “It’s wonderful to help clients design their closets in their first home, or their first nursery, or family room where beautiful memories are made,” she says. Her clients become part of the California Closets family knowing they can contact her at anytime with any project, expansion or repair they will have in the future. “Nothing is more gratifying than to see the smile of a customer and to hear them saying they got exactly what they wanted and California Closets changed their lives for the better!”

A walk-in closet is a room all its own. Designated shoe shelves, jewelry drawer inserts and details such as decorative hardware personalize the space. Lighting within a walk-in closet increases functionality and dramatically enhances the aesthetic of a simple design. Pull-out accessories such as belt, tie, scarf and valet pin maximize space and organization.
The Virtuoso closet is a sleek and modern option. The open walk-in concept gives the client a high-end boutique aesthetic. Optional decorative moldings and details further customize the overall look to make the space feel like a built-in feature within any home.
This custom-built wardrobe was a fashion blogger’s dream design. The drawers feature dovetail construction, undermount slides and quiet soft-close mechanisms to ensure superior quality and a lifetime of use. The addition of spotlights over display shelves in the shoe closet makes the items a focal point.
Give your home office a cozy feeling. Personal touches like a wine rack and bar along with a custom designer sitting bench area brought this client a sense of peace and calm. Each shelf was perfectly measured to fit the items the client wanted on display.
Streamlined Life | Make It More
Take full advantage of the height and depth of the spaces. “Make mix use of a room — turn your office into a guest room with the addition of a Murphy bed.”
Streamlined Life | The Extras
Make sure to assign specific areas for your items. For example, “Don’t throw that robe on the floor. We offer a valet pin that discreetly pulls out to hang items when needed.”
Streamlined Life | Clever Creations
“Hide! Hide! Hide! Use pull-out hooks instead of hanging rods and tilt-out hampers instead of standard laundry bins that take up usable space!”

James Duncan, Inc.
200 Crandon Blvd., Ste. 107
Key Biscayne

James Duncan has had a lifetime of interesting design experiences. His childhood was spent living and traveling in Asia and Europe where his creativity was nurtured in a family whose main passion has been to renovate houses and make them beautiful with interesting furniture, books and art. “After university, I went to NYC and worked with celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia,” he says. “I then moved to England to continue renovating and designing houses.” He met his wife and fellow designer Miriam in Spain and the couple decided to move to Key Biscayne where the built a business designing high-end furniture for the trade. “As we began to raise a family, our imaginations turned to the designing and redesigning of houses and gardens in this lush tropical environment. Once again, we found ourselves in the interior design business,” he says. “At the heart of our work is the belief that a beautifully designed home is the most enjoyable capital investment that one can make and an investment that is enjoyed by the whole family. The couple are continuing to expand their successful practice in New York and Aspen and recently co-founded a civic project called “Fill-A-Bag” which is a Clean Our Beaches initiative. Their first station is at Key Biscayne Beach Park.

An eclectic mix of art, antiques and furniture including the Duncan Coffee Table which has been one of the best-selling tables in the New York Design Center for over 10 years.
A newly built light-filled Spanish Colonial Revival with contemporary French furniture, with interiors by James Duncan, Inc., and architecture by Cesar Molina.
New construction of a British-Caribbean style home, with interiors by James Duncan, Inc., and architecture by the Weber Studio.
A reimagining of a midcentury modern waterfront home, interiors by James Duncan, Inc., and renovation by the Weber Studio.
Fun family room off the kitchen with a bar.
Major reimagining of a classic Key West-style home.
Important Considerations | Size Matters
“Make sure everything fits. The most common mistake many people make when they are designing a room is getting the scale wrong.”
Important Considerations | Convenient Placement
“When you sit down to relax or entertain at home, can you reach your coffee table? If you can’t, what’s the point? The standard is 18 inches.”
Important Considerations | Be Expressive
“Don’t be afraid to have some fun and tell a story. Interiors should say something about you and your family. Hopefully all the furniture comes from different places.”

Sean Daigle
Downsview Kitchens
12800 U.S. Hwy One, Ste. 100 Juno Beach

Sean Daigle’s signature style is a fluid aspect of his work. “Coming from an architecture background, I can appreciate different styles,” he says. “Design trends are always changing, so I also avoid getting locked into a particular style. It’s important to be authentic, but you have to be a good listener with your clients. I regularly like a more classic approach and try to stay away from extremely popular trends that are often killed quickly by their own success.” He sees Downsview Kitchens as his foundation, with its beautiful showrooms, renowned product quality, attention to detail, and styles ranging from ultra-contemporary to extremely traditional. “It’s never boring,” he says. “The custom capabilities of the line allow us unrivaled flexibility. I really enjoy the product development side of the business — it’s always exciting to see and work with new materials, products and technology.” Along with a superior product he believes service needs to be flawless. As in any other field, unavoidable issues within the construction process may arise, but it’s how those issues are handled that makes all the difference. All his skill and hard work is paying off. “We are in the planning stages now for a new cutting-edge 4,400-sq.-ft. Downsview factory showroom in DCOTA in Dania,” he says. “It’s so exciting!”

The transitional door style AMALFI is used in two contrasting finishing materials. A wire-brushed white oak tall “credenza”, that conceals the integrated refrigerators, provide a warming component to the “linen white” milk finish painted kitchen.
Shielded (Guarded) by bronze glass sliding doors, the walk-in closet features paneled walls in the same textured melamine used for the closet frame and cabinetry. Custom rod hangers are color-matched to the wood pattern finish.
A bronze finish on stainless steel covers the monolithic kitchen island and the oversized exhaust hood. The cooking area is cladded in Calacatta Crema Marble and is equipped with a concealed storage backsplash. Bronzed metal glass doors frame the kitchen appliances.
The white milk glaze finish MODENA door style is equipped with La Cornue appliances (stove and rotisserie) and complemented by wire-brushed oak furnishings. Diamond White Calcite counters counterpoint the Edge Grain Wenge island top surface.
High-end appliances by La Cornue, along with wire-brushed oak cabinets add a transitional and elegant look. No need to hide pantries, instead show off kitchenware with beautiful metal glass doors.
High gloss “Truffle” lacquer is masterfully applied on the full inset door style DEVON. Palace White Pearl porcelain floors and polished Calacatta marble complete the exquisite double-sink vanity. Framed mirrors flank a shagreen paneling appointed with a polished nickel sconce light.
Gourmet Paradise | Planning & Design
“Kitchens now seem to be less about cooking than ever. More open social kitchens have replaced formal or isolated kitchens. The kitchen should be the soul of the house and where households gather with family and friends.”
Gourmet Paradise | Details & Materials
“Combining different cabinet materials and metals has become incredibly popular. Handle-free cabinetry and appliance integration is a current trend, with kitchens starting to blend in more with other rooms of the home.”
Gourmet Paradise | Style & Color
“Clients today are avoiding fads and taking the simple, timeless approach to their kitchen spaces. The heavy details of traditional kitchens have become more muted. Kitchen spaces are also reflecting a homeowner’s unique personal style more often these days.”

Miriam Moore
Miriam Moore Design Studio
3060 Blaine Street
Coconut Grove

Miriam Moore favors classical contemporary environments that are simplistically sophisticated and timeless, yet functional; but most importantly, a reflection of her clients. “There’s always a certain formality to the spaces I create,” she says. “I love tailored environments that have order and symmetry. Proportion is key in all of my spaces. I’m constantly changing, evolving and unfolding new layers of sophistication within the spaces I create.” As such, she’s always up for a challenge such as when a new client said: “I’m open to anything you want to do except the following: I don’t want any wood, and my palette is white, red, cobalt blue and metal.” Miriam left thinking she simply could not take the project, as she believes that the element of wood, and the warmth it brings to a space is primordial, even if in a restrained, limited way. However, it presented a challenge that she decided to take on. By bringing in textural fabrics, rugs and architectural elements, the overall interiors did not look, (or feel) austere and sterile. As a result, she did many other projects for that client including their yacht. “I’m the interface between an aspiration and reality,” she says. “So turning over a personal space that truly makes my client happy is an amazing feeling.”

A 10,000-sq.-ft. Miami Beach condo with Crema Bianco 36”x 36” honed limestone flooring with inlay of porcelain wood-grain planks installed in a herringbone pattern.
This home office showcases natural elements of oak and a natural textile wallcovering (Phillip Jeffries — Horsehair).
Solid oak kitchen cabinetry by GD Cucine in Italy, with Vein Cut Onyx countertops and backsplash. Appliances by Gaggenau and pendants by Melograno Blu and Jonathan Browning Lighting.
Porcelain wood planks in a Driftwood shade offer warmth to a masculine décor, with a custom dining table made of an Azurite glass slab.
High style Italian laminate kitchen cabinetry with stainless steel countertops.
Italian Glass Kitchen featuring Merino White Marble countertops and backsplash.
Surface Specialist | Nature Rules
“I’m an advocate for everything natural and organic, and I love natural stone — however, the wood looks will, in my opinion, dominate the market for many years to come.”
Surface Specialist | Think Big
“Tile format continues to get larger and larger as time goes by. Tile sizes of even 5’x10’ are readily available now. Now is the time to take advantage of this increasingly popular trend.
Surface Specialist | Thin’s In
“Another big change in the industry is the availability of ultra-thin materials. There is a high demand from architects and designers for ultra-thin materials that are light in weight and carry seamlessly throughout spaces.”