Approach Dilido by boat and you could be motoring up to the stern of a super-yacht.
The waterfront property on the southern tip of Miami Beach’s Di Lido Island features an open, strong-lined structure with spectacular al fresco spaces that begin the seamless transition from exterior terraces and courtyards to the light-filled, rich yet understated interior.
“The client wanted a house that celebrated Miami lifestyle and the great weather all year,” says Mark Bullivant, Director at SAOTA, the architecture practice behind Dilido, of the desires driving the design. “The scenario planning ensures that the house functions optimally for day-to-day living as well as for events – the client is a big entertainer.”
The outdoor areas cry out to entertain. With pool bar, expansive terrace with a variety of seating options and infinity pool from which vistas out across Biscayne Bay lead the eye towards South Beach, the seductive exterior space centres around a modern, outdoor lifestyle and offers a true on-water living experience.
This access to water continues throughout the abode, with smaller exterior courtyards bringing Miami home. In collaboration with celebrity landscape architect Raymond Jungles, they are filled with rich, tropical vegetation that also envelops the property. “The exterior courtyards symbolise the integration of architecture, water and landscape,” says Mark.
The sophistication of the outdoors continues as we move inside. “Crisp, white stucco, warm grey limestone, copper and bronze detail elements combine to suggest understated luxury and textural tension,” says Mark. This is all set against the cobalt blue pools and lush, green landscaping, all of which results in a relaxed aesthetic. “It is both cutting edge and unmistakably at home in its Biscayne Bay setting,” he adds.
As well via the property’s seafront approach, the house is accessed by the Venetian Causeway, and entering this way a series of wall planes bound by a curved screen of etched glass prepare visitors for the impressive double-volume entrance hall.
Levels are played with throughout the property, with an imposing double-height dining room, too. A grand spiral staircase is a sculptural feature as well as serving as the vertical connection from ground floor to first, where four sea-facing bedrooms, including the master suite can be found, and on up to the rooftop terrace, which is complete with bar, hot tub and fire pit not to mention stunning views towards Downtown Miami. This rooftop is set into the distinctive pre-oxidised copper roof that acts as a unifying force tying the sweeping property together.
One particular highlight of the interiors, which are defined by LA-based interior designer Lynda Murray’s sophisticated combination of chocolate browns, rich woods, leathers and bronze, is the striking, custom-made, double-height floating screen that draws attention to the dining room without isolating it from the rest of the space.
The scale of the property is expansive, but SAOTA has effortlessly delivered a certain intimacy with it. That said, the design process wasn’t always smooth sailing. Dilido marked SAOTA’s first project in Miami (as well as its United States debut design) and this meant contending with strict hurricane-proofing building codes to which the firm was unaccustomed. Integrating hurricane-approved products and limits was a challenge, but has been carried out expertly and seamlessly.
There are many layers to this open yet streamlined abode. “It is a very unique property that affords a very unique living experience,” concludes Mark. “The architecture facilitates and enhances this experience.”
Photography: Adam Letch