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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.