In January 2020, one Brooklyn family decided to leave the city behind for sunshine and more space in Florida. Having traveled internationally for years, they didn’t have a ton of “stuff” and needed to furnish their new French Colonial home top to bottom. They connected with The Habitat Collective virtually, sharing mood boards and inspiration via Zoom. Little did they know that this process was a preview for what was to come–Covid-19 turned the world upside down in March and Zoom design became the norm!

Four months into the project, the family finally met their design team, Laura Greig and Sara Richards (socially distanced and masked, of course!) and were able to see their bright, airy, and comfortable space in real life. Though they never could have predicted how fantastic the move would be! Being able to spend the last year in warm weather, with plenty of room for distanced learning and outdoor living, certainly provided the calmer, easier lifestyle they’d initial sought out. The designers tell us more:

We love this house! What can you tell us about it? Where exactly is it located?
The house is a new build Contemporary French Colonial (completed in 2020), located in the Coral Gables area of Miami. The neighborhood is very lush and tropical, and the surrounding landscape is on full view through all the lovely, large windows in the home. One of the reasons our clients left New York for Miami was for the bright, sunny weather and tropical climate and both the neighborhood and interiors reflect this! As well as the leafy, family-friendly neighborhood and style of the house, our clients also fell in love with the airy high ceilings, the abundance of natural light, and the way the spaces open onto their outdoor areas with rows of beautiful French doors.

We’d love to know more about your clients. Why did they make the move and when did you first connect?
Our clients, a young family of 4 (plus their adorable miniature Dachshund and cat) are recent Miami transplants who relocated from New York. They contacted us from their apartment in Brooklyn, having just purchased a new construction house in Miami, in January of 2020. We started working on the design in March, just before the world was upended by the pandemic. Our clients really wanted to streamline the process of furnishing their new house and to really make it feel like home for their family – something which they’ve struggled to do after years of frequent international moves. This time they wanted to create a cohesive, finished space which truly reflected them.

How did you bring their vision to life?
The inspiration for the interiors stemmed from our clients’ personal aesthetic and style – light, bright, neutral interiors with a touch of whimsy and femininity. We pulled the soft hued colors that you’ll see in the spaces from a couple of our clients’ existing artwork pieces.

Since this home was a new build, everything inside was pristine and perfect. Our aim with the interior was to add plenty of character with warm, textural furnishings – imperfect “rustic” finishes, and vintage pieces played a key role in bringing this home to life. We would describe the look we were going for here as “elevated eclectic” – polished yet laid back and very livable, where our clients can continue to add layers and memories from their future travels.

This project began virtually. What were some of the challenges when it came to designing via Zoom?
Designing someone’s home is such a personal thing, and normally we spend a bit of time face-to-face with clients (even out of town clients!) in their home, which helps us to get a broader feel for their personalities and tastes – so it was a bit strange furnishing a full home from scratch for people we’d only met via Zoom. It wasn’t until 4 months into the project, after the designs had been approved and logistics and order management had commenced that they arrived from New York and we finally met them (socially distanced and masked, of course)!

While we definitely missed having that personal connection in the initial stages, these clients were friendly, open and communicative which made the process go quite smoothly! They really placed their full trust in us to execute the vision and create a beautiful new home for their family.

How long did the project take, and what did the client say when they saw the finished space?
This project took nearly 10 months from project kickoff to completion. Since our clients were moving from New York without much furniture, we made the decision to have furniture delivered directly to the home so they could begin using their spaces sooner. So, rather than a “big reveal” we had more of a “slow reveal” with pieces trickling in over time. Once all the furniture had arrived, we did carry out a final installation of the finishing touches (planters, plants, accessories, bedding, textiles and rugs) which always makes a huge impact, and which our clients were very excited to see!

See more + hear about the design in the slideshow.