A Minimalist Bungalow in Miami Welcomes a Sleek New Addition

In South Miami, a thoughtful revamp and extension embraces the outdoors on an intimate scale.
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When a creative couple—a ceramic artist and a music aficionado— wanted extra space in their small two-bedroom home for their growing family and professional pursuits, they reached out to local firm Upstairs Studio Architecture to craft a solution.

The home is nestled in a lushly planted landscape with tropical flora and live oaks.

Not only did the team give the dated home a modern revamp, they also added an extension to fit a new master bedroom suite and study. 

Now, nestled among live oaks and tropical flora, the recently renovated bungalow stands out from the lush landscape with minimalist and monochromatic architecture. 

The gabled addition is topped with a standing seam metal roof and is clad in vertical corrugated metal siding.

"They did not want a big house," notes Maricarmen Martinez, principal architect at Upstairs Studio Architecture. "The overarching goal was to maintain the intimate scale of the home while adding additional square footage." 

The dark and gabled addition offers sharp contrast against the low-lying white-painted bungalow. Elements such as the steel pillars were repeated in both structures for continuity.

Since improving access to the outdoors was a major priority, the team looked to the landscape for inspiration. 

In contrast to the tropical site’s dramatic foliage and texture, the modest, one-story bungalow and the 900-square-foot extension have been crafted with a more streamlined aesthetic.

The architects stripped back years of alterations on the one-story bungalow to create a more minimalist and pared-back appearance.

"We thought if we could take the bungalow back to a minimal state and add a similarly inspired clean-studio building, maintaining simplicity, we could create a beautiful space," continues Maricarmen.

The existing home has been painted a crisp white, while timber elements and brick flooring lend warmth to the space.

A wood-burning fireplace anchors the living room in the bungalow.

The existing home has been rendered in a crisp, minimal white, while the addition is clad in black metal. 

Elements such as metal pillars, timber features, and vaulted ceilings are repeated between the two light-filled volumes. 

A study is placed on the street-facing side of the addition.

The gabled addition has been built to give every room—from the study in the front to the master bedroom suite in the rear—access to the outdoors.

Natural light fills every room of the bright and airy addition.

The back of the addition opens up to a sheltered terrace, connecting the space to the backyard pool and gardens. 

Sliding glass doors dramatically open the master bedroom up to the outdoors.

"The most challenging part of the project was to maintain the discipline and not over-design," adds the firm.

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Handmade wood veneer is interlaced to create the elegant intertwined silhouette of the Orbit Wall Light. The design conveys airiness while the wood veneer provides a sense of warmth. Place several down a hallway for knots of light or add one to each side of your bed reading at night.

The master bedroom's sliding glass doors open up to an outdoor terrace, garden, and the pool.

"Our goal was to create the simplest of spaces that did not sacrifice beauty or quality, and it was difficult knowing when it was enough. Our process, as is often the case in most of our projects, is one of editing rather than adding—but it was especially so for this project in particular."

A glazed vestibule connects the new addition with the renovated bungalow.

Gardens planted on both sides of the vestibule provide privacy, as well as an immersive jungle-like experience.

A view from the vestibule looking out.

The master bath with cedar countertops overlooks views of a lush fan palm. The custom vessel sink was crafted by the owner.

A look down the beamed, light-filled hallway in the new addition.

The new addition features polished concrete floors throughout.

Beautifully stained timber lines the outdoor terrace.

A hammock hangs from the sheltered terrace outside the master bedroom.

A look at the floor plan of the addition.

Here's a look at the floor plan of the existing home.

The floor plan of the addition alongside the existing house.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Maricarmen Martinez, Upstairs Studio, Inc. 

Builder/General Contractor: VPG Const. Management

Structural Engineer: Tom Moe, THM Structural Consulting

Mechanical, Electrical + Plumbing: RPJ, Inc.

Lighting Design: Upstairs Studio, Inc.

Sound Engineer: Aquiles Este

Ceramics: Natalie Flores

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