Inspired Spaces

In a city enthused with aesthetics, who are the designers, architects and visionaries leading us into bold new terrain? Meet a few professionals in the design field who stand, powerfully, apart from the competition.
Text by Ryan Jarrell Portraits by Edward Leal Project photos courtesy of Respective Designers | May 7, 2018 | People

Downsview Kitchens
12800 U.S. Hwy 1, Ste. 100

Steady and committed, Downsview Kitchens’ Sean Daigle is a rarity in today’s corporate culture: A dedicated company man resolute in his devotion to customer satisfaction. An enthusiastic Sr. Designer of Toronto-based cabinetry specialists Downsview Kitchens for the last 22 years, it takes little for this expert aesthete to wax poetic about the advantages of working for a locally-owned firm. “The best part about my job is simply being a part of the Downsview Kitchens family,” says Daigle, who facilitated the opening of the brand’s Juno Beach Showroom in 2004. “For more than half a century, we have produced the finest and most innovative kitchen furnishings on the market, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Amply applying his architectural background to fit the needs of an increasing clientele, Daigle is always on the lookout for tools and techniques that ease and enliven his customers’ homes. “Along with Downsview’s environmentally conscious manufacturing environment and techniques, technology also continues to aid with handle-free cabinet designs where doors and drawers open automatically with just a light touch or a pull,” says Daigle, who tries to stay away from many trends that will fade quickly and leave work with an dated look.
So what’s an exciting aspect of his craft that he has seen grow in the cultural consciousness? “Mixing styles seems to be more accepted in today’s kitchen spaces,” he says. “Open, ‘social’ kitchens have also replaced formal, closed-in kitchens. Today’s kitchen should be functional, family-friendly and the focal point of the home.”

Design Philosophy: “I feel that my design philosophy is a fluid thing and the direction of each project becomes what the client really requires. Their needs, goals, and of course, budget drive the project.”

Essential Must-Have: “Downsview products throughout your home, of course! The fun part is exploring and utilizing the flexibilities that Downsview offers — from a custom-designed bath vanity of hand-selected rift-cut white oak to a kitchen done in an imported exotic European veneer with custom stainless steel inlay details.”

Trend Predictions: “I think we’ll start to see a resurgence of more traditional styles and details a little further down the road. It’s all cyclical. Additionally, I think we’ll see the use of manufactured materials continue to become more commonplace.”

El Dorado Furniture
2475 SW 8th St.

For Designer Adriana Victoria, a position with El Dorado Furniture was much more than just a way to secure a paycheck from one of Miami’s most well-regarded local businesses. At El Dorado, perhaps she could, through both top-notch design work and participation in the company’s many charitable ventures, instill for local families the peace, ease and security she’d been denied in her native Colombia. “When I came to Miami in 1999, I had left my country due to increasing violence.” she says. “It wasn’t until 2000 that doors opened up for me as a decorator and I found the opportunity to work with El Dorado Furniture.”
One of the things that has really made a difference for her is how El Dorado has helped furnish the homes of disadvantaged families and families with sick or disabled children who can’t afford new furniture. “The community activities make me proud to be a part of the brand,” she says.
When not assisting her company in spearheading healthful civic efforts, Victoria can usually be found scouring showrooms both digital and analog for the next luxurious look to dot our city’s boudoirs and living spaces. “One of my goals is to continue contributing my knowledge to El Dorado Furniture while staying up-to-date on all the diverse styles that we introduce in various showrooms,” she says. “And, of course, working on each and every project with the passion and professionalism our amazing customers deserve.”

Design Philosophy: “Everything that I do has to be done with passion, knowledge and professionalism. I love what I do and that defines me as a person both professionally and personally.”

Essential Must-Have: “Knowledge of what’s up-to-date in the fashion world. This will give me all the tools needed to create an amazing design.”

Trend Predictions: “I think we’ll see more natural materials in combination with stone, glass and acrylic, and the use of colors as accents to make customers feel warm within their home. Combining these elements creates an eclectic look that is very relevant.”

Alba Design
4530 SW 68th Ct. Cir., Ste. 10

CEO. Mother. Wife. Expert aestheticist well-versed in technical know-how, but blessed with an intuitive artistic flair. For those looking for examples of a modern businesswoman that has it all, look no further than Diana Alba of Alba Design Group, a veteran of our Magic City’s architectural and design communities solely concerned with bettering her business for her customer base.
Equally in love with both the architectural and interior design aspects of her work, instead of splitting her passions, Alba did what any innovative entrepreneur would do: She combined them! “By training, I’m an architect, but I got involved with Interior Design because that’s my passion,” says Alba, whose firm works with such marvelous businesses as Iberia Tiles. With vast experience designing homes from an architectural standpoint, she decided to start in the design field to merge the best of both worlds. “After a few years, I can confidently call myself a Design Architect,” she says. “I deliver a unique experience for my customers that provides comfort without sacrificing design.”
Acutely aware that any business that hopes to succeed in the cities of tomorrow must, by necessity, incorporate state-of-the-art techniques and technology, Alba keeps herself poised on the cutting-edge of design and architecturally related innovations that benefit her work with her clients with breathtaking results. “I’m a big fan of digital technologies that I can utilize to better serve my customers,” she says. “I run my business on modern platforms and I know my customers appreciate that.”

Design Philosophy: “An open mind is essential in this business, to always be open to new ideas and truly learn about customers. A good rule is to adapt, instead of to impose.”

Essential Must-Have: “You always need a great couch — one that’s both comfortable and beautiful.”

Trend Predictions: “We’re going back to comfort over everything else. Rustic design is coming back in a big way and is going to be trending in the next couple of years. Also, tiles are becoming more and more common as technologies improve. People are moving into a more personalized experience and tiles are providing that character to the design.”

3200 N. Miami Ave., Unit B

For many children, Christmas is a time of unabashed consumerism, an annual festival of ferocious gluttony unattached to any earning or merit. To David Miranda, Architect, Designer & Co-Founder of interior design firm DIDAHome, Christmas meant an entirely different type of thrill and joy, one inherently attached to his love of both visual balance and hard work done right. “I think my first designs were Christmas trees for my house and for family members when I was 11,” says Miranda, who left his native Ecuador to complete an Architecture Degree at FIU. “My parents decided to open a Christmas shop that year, and I was the happiest kid in the world, and spent my afternoons decorating the store. I like to think of it as a gift from Santa!”
Transforming his dual devotions to tireless work for his clients and an integral artistic vision into a burgeoning business with best friend Diana Uribe, Miranda finds he’s most happy when expanding the range of his services to better meet his customer’s needs. “I’m really excited for our new baby, DIDAShop by DIDAHome, a design lab where creative minds come together to make beautiful pieces and projects. No matter your career or degree of expertise, if you’re a student, a interior designer, architect, etc., everyone is welcomed in our shop. We just want to make people happy through creativity and creation! This has been a dream of mine throughout my entire life and now it’s finally coming true. Diana and I have put all of our efforts, passion and love into this project, and we know it will be a success!”

Design Philosophy: “My designs are a reflection of my clients’ unique personalities — tailored specifically to who they are.”

Essential Must-Have: “A collection of pieces that remind you where you come from, who you are and where you’re going next.”

Trend Predictions: “An important thing to remember is that ‘things’ always come back, so please don’t get rid of them!”