These Compass clients — interior designer Francisco “Cisco” Delgado and theater director Christopher Renshaw — brought their luminous South Beach home to life with worldly antiques and souvenirs artfully layered atop the loft’s sleek infrastructure.

At Home in South Beach

As their work takes them across the world, two Miami jet-setters must bid adieu to the home where their imaginations flourished.

Alex Reis
Mar 2, 2018 · 5 min read

Words: Rebecca Kleinman
Images: Mary Beth Koeth

Give a theater and opera director and an architect and interior designer an empty space — and all the world is their stage. Compass clients and part-time Miamians Christopher Renshaw and Francisco “Cisco” Delgado were over the moon when they found an unfinished loft with high ceilings in South Beach, an incredible rarity in a city known for boxy condos and historic villas. They combined their creative backgrounds, their respective British and Caribbean heritages, and their passion for travel, to create a wonderland at 1560 Lenox Avenue — right in the heart of the coastal neighborhood.

Your home is definitely not the norm. How do people react when they first experience it?

Cisco: We’re an eccentric couple, so we hear descriptions like “unique” and “different” a lot. We take it as a compliment since it’s very hard to create something totally original. Visitors love how it’s so decorative, bright, and sleek, but they also appreciate the old-fashioned touches. Even the FedEx people get quite excited when they come in.

It’s like the ultimate treasure trove. Tell us about your collectibles.

Christopher: I brought my English antiques out of storage from London, so the furniture acts as a continuation of my youth. I’m particularly interested in a contrast of ages and styles. You’ll also find pieces we’ve collected along our travels peppered throughout the home, like Chinese pots from Shanghai, a small shrine from Tokyo, and intricate wooden saints from a wonderful shop in Nicaragua. Our possessions tell a narrative of our travels and livelihoods.

Top left: The couple’s Italian greyhound, Bluebell, sits upon a Victorian chaise lounge like a queen on her throne. Top right: Intricate religious iconography is a foil to the clean-lined vitrines throughout the loft. Bottom: Cisco tackled the challenge of an inefficient curved wall, which are common in Miami’s Art Deco and midcentury-modern buildings, by customizing a long, geometric sofa to match.

They also represent a melting pot of cultures, just like Miami.

Cisco: Exactly. The interior design is truly a culmination of different beliefs and cultures. We fell in love with Islamic arches in Morocco and were also strongly influenced by Jewish and Buddhist elements. Our home has become a haven where cultures from all corners from the world co-exist in harmony.

How does Christopher’s theater background come into play?

Cisco: The bath is perched on a platform that resembles a stage, and the William Morris drapes behind it could be a theater curtain. Thanks to his expertise, the surround-sound system is incredible, too. Depending on your mood, LED lights change from blue to pink to yellow and red. Like being on a stage, the set changes as the scene does.

Left: The open-air tub, curtains, and pedestal were inspired by Christopher’s theater background. Right: Ephemera accumulated throughout his prolific career in the arts are hung salon-style, resulting in a bold installation.

What attracted you to this location and type of building?

Christopher: There are so many advantages simply because the property has dual zoning for commercial and residential, which is especially great for architects and designers. People think Miami is just about high rises, but we prefer seeing street style and palm trees from our perch. Plus, we can walk anywhere, whether to Lincoln Road, the hardware store, or the soon-to-open Trader Joe’s.

Francisco: And I can see my favorite building, the parking garage designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the same architects who did the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Francisco, you attended Southern California Institute of Architecture, where you learned from architects Frank Gehry and Eric Owen Moss. Did the experience influence your home’s design?

Francisco: The school was based on experimental architecture, so we designed by making 3D paper models. The great thing about paper is you can create accidents. That’s how I conceived our apartment’s floating table with upside-down legs. I used cantilever platforms throughout to keep the floor empty, and clear and opaque glass walls to capture the natural light pouring in while allowing for privacy.

Top left: The couple’s Compass Miami agent Miltiadis Kastanis answers emails from the loft’s suspended desk. Top right: Family photos and wooden figures alike find a home beneath a smattering of luminous bulbs. Bottom: Nicknamed the “Glass Box Loft,” the exceptional home has become a sensation in the South Florida press.

What are some other fun design highlights?

For the guest bathroom’s walls, I stretched plaster to form dimples like a smiley face. Also custom are Whiting & Davis metal curtains that hang to the floor for dramatic effect. The rooftop isn’t private, but it may as well be since the building clears out at night, and we have it all to ourselves.

Though all tenants have access to the rooftop deck, it’s virtually private come sunset. Since Christopher and Cisco use it the most, they were kind enough to furnish its tranquil setting for all to enjoy.

What are your thoughts on working with Compass and your agents?

Compass has a modern, digital approach to real estate. The whole process – from marketing to press coverage to negotiations – is well presented. They’re much like today’s theater: current, efficient, and ever-changing. Our agents, Miltiadis Kastanis and Tristan Alexander, reply to calls and emails instantly. They stay connected and engaged with us and our home throughout the entire selling experience.

Top: Cisco shows Miltiadis one of his 3D paper models, a process he learned at Southern California Institute of Architecture. Bottom left: Cisco and Chirstopher meet with their agents in the home, brainstorming marketing strategies for the space. Bottom right: Compass agents Tristan Alexander and Miltiadis Kastanis soak up Miami’s year-round sunshine on the apartment’s rooftop deck.

Want to work with an agent like Miltiadis Kastanis or Tristan Alexander? Compass partners with you throughout your home search, providing deep knowledge of the Miami real estate market to help you find a home you love.

Compass Quarterly

Compass Quarterly is a print and digital publication that celebrates our brand's core values: technology, data, entrepreneurship, and design. Join us as we create a more sophisticated real estate experience.

Alex Reis

Written by

Alex Reis

Content Associate @Compassinc

Compass Quarterly

Compass Quarterly is a print and digital publication that celebrates our brand's core values: technology, data, entrepreneurship, and design. Join us as we create a more sophisticated real estate experience.