This Miami beachfront mansion by Robert Rionda Interiors juxtaposes antiquity with modernity

OCT 18, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
A collection of antiques in the entry foyer include a pair of Italian benches upholstered in Rogers and Goffigon, a 17th century French table, Swedish clock, French lantern and Persian carpet; Photographs by Troy Campbell
The living room houses a contemporary sofa from A Rudin, lounge chair from Rose Tarlow, an antique Louis XIII reclining chair, a bronze sculpture by Mexican artist Francisco Zuniga, midcentury enamel dishes, antique parquet flooring from Versailles. Also seen are Chinese lamps from Balsamo antiques, pillows from Fortuny and CC Milano and a Marie Laurencin painting; Photographs by Troy Campbell
A commissioned portrait of the client is mounted atop an antique French limestone fireplace in the living room. Reclaimed French oak ceiling beams and an assortment of antiques complete the old-world look; Photographs by Troy Campbell
Reclaimed French oak barn doors open to the kitchen illuminated by a series of antique factory lights. Pictured are counter stools by Minton-Spidell and a ladder from Putman Rolling Ladder Company in New York; Photographs by Troy Campbell
Antique elements are seen in the library too; Photographs by Troy Campbell
A 16th century Spanish bench and 18th century Swedish cabinet are placed on the landing; Photographs by Troy Campbell
The master bedroom houses French and Swedish antique side tables, a collection of California midcentury charcoal sketches, a sofa by Dmitriy, a French antique seater and a George Smith chair. Fortuny throw pillows furnish the sofa, while a custom rug from ABC Carpet and Home NY covers the floor; Photographs by Troy Campbell
An antique Spanish gilt chandelier hangs above a copper and pewter tub from Herbeau France in the master bath. The distressed hexagon tiles are from Country Floors; Photographs by Troy Campbell

Spread over a sprawling 14,500 sq ft waterfront property in Miami Beach and furnished with antiques, classical touches and contemporary elements, this villa embodies the best of both worlds. “The clients, a young family, wanted an old-world look with a grand but relaxed European feel as well as modern day comforts,” says Robert Rionda, who moved from a law career to establish this eponymous design practice in 2005.

An entry foyer with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows looks out into a courtyard and the bay beyond. To the right, a double-heighted hallway opens to an expansive living room, dining area and kitchen. An entertainment room and three terraces facing the oceanic waterfront complete the lower level. The family quarters including a master suite and three ensuite bedrooms lie upstairs.

“The living room is my favourite space for its eclectic assortment of pieces spanning centuries and styles. I have always been fascinated by the history and stories behind antiques. This project gave me the opportunity to further explore and incorporate some of my favourite historical styles. I always enjoy the search and this project was all about that,” enthuses Rionda.

This view highlights the double-heighted facade of the waterfront property in Miami Beach. The ceiling of the central terrace is finished in timber beams and iron strapwork; Photographs by Troy Campbell

There are two secondary buildings connected to the main house. One contains an automobile museum for the husband’s collection of cars, while above it is his study and a guest suite.  The other building comprises a state-of-art gym and spa terrace. The museum doubles up as a ballroom for parties, while the gym—with its old industrial vibe owing to a double-heighted wall of reclaimed Belgian bricks—is mainly the domain of the wife, a former Olympian.

Iron furnishings are seen by the poolside. Beyond is an outdoor kitchen and secondary sitting area, where the wall is clad in Moroccan tiles from Exquisite Surfaces; Photographs by Troy Campbell

“The mandate was to use strictly traditional pieces but I didn’t want it to look like a period house. So, we combined furnishings from many eras and origins to arrive at a fresher, eclectic take on tradition, suitable for a young family,” explains the interior designer. Many of the finishes were reclaimed materials sourced from Europe, while aged surfaces and patina help convey the old-world charm.

An antique Spanish bench and French iron console furnish the breezeway that leads to the terrace and gardens. A collection of midcentury American ceramics and a Moroccan mirror decorate the console. A Vaughan London lantern is suspended from the ceiling; Photographs by Troy Campbell

The homeowners wanted the villa to evoke a sense of calm and Rionda didn’t want strong colours to detract from the details of the antiques. A soft and neutral palette of whites, beiges, taupes, greys and soothing blues, with a few strong pops thus emerged. The husband’s study is the only place that diverges from this colour scheme with its darker masculine look.

A pair of wing chairs flank an antique Gateleg table on a Persian carpet in the hallway; Photographs by Troy Campbell

When asked about his approach to work, Rionda says he strives for timeless and comfortable design. “Even in contemporary projects, I try to stay away from trends unless I think they will survive the test of time and feel fresh in the years to come. Here, I suppose the inverse came into play—we wanted to make sure that such a traditional home filled with antiques would still feel fresh, young and comfortable,” he affirms.

Scroll below for more images of this Miami beachfront property…

Custom chairs from Dmitriy & Co sit on either side of a 17th century Spanish table from BK Antiques in the living room. The antique column is also Spanish and the windows are dressed in Rose Tarlow fabric; Photographs by Troy Campbell


Bronze chandeliers from Remains New York are suspended above the custom dining table from Dos Gallos and chairs from Formations, both in Los Angeles. The seats of the side chairs are upholstered in a Rogers and Goffigon velvet, while the backs are done using material from Rose Tarlow. French antiques include a distressed buffet found in Houston and a wine-tasting table from Atlanta. Antique candlesticks from Palm Beach decorate the table; Photographs by Troy Campbell


The cosy guest room on the ground floor features a rustic Spanish chandelier and terracotta accent wall. The Robert Lighton cane bed is dressed with Ralph Lauren linens, while a Conrad shade is seen on the window; Photographs by Troy Campbell