The private homes where architects and designers actually live is something that every design fan has an inexhaustible curiosity for â€• which probably explains the entire exhibition during Milan Design Week last April dedicated to just that! This particular residence in Miami Beach, Florida, has been designed by architect Chad Oppenheim as his own family home, by taking an existing nondescript house and adding extra rooms and spaces to it. Dubbed 'Villa Allegra', the approximately 800-square-meter house has been conceived as a procession of spaces that gradually change from exterior to interior, blurring the lines between the indoors and the outdoors.
An open and bright house that makes the most out of Florida's sunny climate, Villa Allegra incorporates local materials such as coral rock and cypress wood, as well as wrought iron decorations that are typical of houses in the area. The main entrance features a spectacular 7-metre-high curtain, which can be drawn to create a more private 'outdoor living room' ― it also boasts a square oculus placed over a reflective pool, inspired by the work of light artist James Turrell. Another oculus can unexpectedly be found inside the cylindrical column at the back of the house, which also contains a shower; this column supports a wooden extension that has been added to create an exterior living space overlooking the garden and the pool.
Inside, the living room is almost monumental in proportions, and is surrounded by the more intimate areas of the kitchen and breakfast room, the lobby and the family room. Playful decoration elements (like the Teddy Bear chair by Fernando and Humberto Campana) and other 'theatrical' features give the Villa Allegra its unique sense of event and cheerfulness, reminiscent of the open and inviting ambience found in so many Mediterranean homes.