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Drew Limsky | Photo: Barry Grossman | Interiors by KIS Interior Design | July 14, 2014
A two-story condo provides a lesson in style for the whole family.
Glamorous Tatiana Mondragon does not look like the typical mother of four. And her sleek, waterfront condo in the sky doesn’t look like a family affair. But leave it to the Venezuela-born Guimar “G” Urbina, principal of KIS Interior Design, to conjure a durable and utterly comfortable home for Tatiana, her husband César and their children, ages 2 to 16, without ever sacrificing sophistication or style. “They’re young, they travel and they love fine hotels and nightclubs,” Urbina says of her clients. Therefore, the installation would have to suggest the best of five-star hotels and the type of bathroom fixtures found in the hottest nightclubs. So the designer’s mission was to capture the flavor of the Mondragons’ hit-the-town lifestyle in a way that would last.
Urbina met the Mondragons three years ago, through her husband, a contractor. She remembers that the two-story, 5,000-square-foot apartment had nothing but drywall. “They wanted me to take the lead from the beginning,” she says. “They knew that they wanted modern, yet homey.” Urbina achieved this through a mix of natural and synthetic materials and the ease and convenience of an open floor plan. She knew instantly that a lot of distinct rooms wouldn’t work, so gone were the existing walls that enclosed the bar and the children’s playroom.
Now the first floor flows from living area to bar area to game table seating, and from dining table to breakfast nook to open-style kitchen. “Still, we made every area special, through the use of reveals in the ceiling and on the walls,” she says. “César preferred a darker wood on the walls, so we found a special wood veneer from Tabu.” This dark synthetic material is particularly kid-friendly, but even to the practiced eye, it seems to have been chosen not for its functionality, but for its richness and the way it plays off its stainless steel reveals and the home’s light floors. (The luxurious flooring is marble, mined in Greece and sourced from Coverings Etc.)
Urbina also knew that like excess walls, South Florida’s white-on-white convention would be impractical for the Mondragons: “The living area had to have colors the family wouldn’t be afraid of, so I chose darker grays for the metallic synthetic window treatments and for the sofa frames,” she says. The Camerich sofas, which are wrapped in a custom-colored fabric (Romo, like the curtains), feature inviting extrawide armrests for casual seating. When Urbina wanted natural materials to counter the durable synthetics, wood was her mainstay. Backing one sofa is a Macassar ebony console in a custom-designed shape that brings to mind an elongated, angular nautilus.
Given the needs of the family, the kitchen also required considerable deliberation. Tatiana is given to cooking up authentic Colombian lunches and dinners, so “the kitchen was the main thing for her,” Urbina says. “She said, ‘This is where we’ll spend most of the time.’” Tatiana desired openness—and access to the well-used casual dining space. Everything had to be utterly functional, but because the kitchen can be seen from the living area, it also had to look especially smart. Urbina found the solution in Ornare’s top-selling Satyrium line. “We created a unique design and layout only for this apartment, to accommodate a 42-inch refrigerator,” Urbina says. A long banquette, set against the same wall as the Ornare cabinets, was custom-made and inspired by a piece Urbina saw at Milano Salone in 2011. “We used a vinyl upholstery for the kids,” she notes. The banquette backs a natural wood table from Artefacto, with white leather chairs from Calligaris for additional seating.
If the kitchen was the first priority for Tatiana, César’s most pressing concern was the media room, which became a very clubby male space and is the only room on the entry level that is closed off with a door. “César wanted the best equipment and a comfortable space to watch TV and movies with the kids,” Urbina says. “He wanted a theater experience, so we did a very dramatic theme, very Hollywood.”
“Tatiana is very girly—she loves crystal, a bit of shine and soft fabrics,” Urbina continues, so for César, the media room became more of a high-style man cave with bold textures. The L-shaped leather Camerich sofa is complemented by a vinyl ottoman, which was also influenced by a piece Urbina admired in Milan. The ottoman, a conversation piece due to its tufts and pleats, nods to the back wall’s textured Romo fabric, and stands out vividly from the blood-red rug, which was custom-made by the Rug Company.
Combining textures is one of Urbina’s most impressive talents. “She’s young and not afraid of taking risks,” says Claudio Faria, director of Ornare. “She can mix textures because she has such a great eye for balance.” Faria, who worked with Urbina on the master closet (it features the Lite line designed by the renowned Brazilian architect Marcelo Rosenbaum, with Celsius glass doors from the Barlia line), praises her work on the elaborate bedwall in the master suite.
Urbina recalls that as soon as she knew the master bedroom would be on the second floor and would enjoy a great view and wide wall, she had to do something dramatic to appease César’s modern, jet-set preferences. “So I came up with this geometric silk fabric from Harlequin in Paris and showed him how it would be interspersed with wood paneling behind the bed. We just knew it was right.” And though the whole family is welcome, something about the style says Adults Only.
Living room sofas, media room sofa
Master bedroom wallcovering
Master bath sink and steam shower
Kitchen, master suite closets
The Rug Company
Media room rug
Wood veneer walls throughout
Daughter’s bedroom headboard