Casa Clara is an 11,000 square foot residence located on the Venetian Islands in Miami Beach, Florida. The site sits on Biscayne Bay and has direct optimum views to Downtown Miami and its cruise ship port. Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design designed a tropical modern residence that took advantage of the views while creating an indoor-outdoor living experience. Since the South Florida climate is conducive to this type of design, Choeff Levy Fischman took advantage of everything the location and climate had to offer.
As one approaches the main entrance of the residence a cascading water feature greets you. The water cascades down into a reflecting pond that leads one to the main entry. The main entry is comprised of a tall ipe wood door that is fully surrounded by glass. The glass, as well as the main entry to the residence, is two stories tall. This adds to the grand experience of the entry, which is further enhanced with immediate views of the bay and Downtown Miami. The views are vast, as they span the entire rear of the residence, which is comprised of large opening tall sliding glass doors. When these doors are fully open, one has the feeling that they are outside, when they actually are inside. This also works in reverse, so there is a complete connection between the outdoors and indoors. The swimming pool and covered cabana also become one with the interior of the residence.
Upon entering, there is a two-story high, metal clad ribbon fireplace with a dramatic hanging light fixture, which is suspended over the living room area created in front of the fireplace. Downtown Miami forms a perfect backdrop to enhance the experience of the fireplace and living room. Behind the fireplace wall, there is a fully open kitchen that opens up to the adjacent lounge space. These two areas have a complete and unobstructed view of the pool, the bay and Downtown Miami. If the sliding glass doors, which span approximately 25’-30’ in this area, are fully open, there is a direct connection to the outdoor covered cabana, summer kitchen, and the pool area. The kitchen will almost feel as if outdoors, as will the occupants using the lounge area. As well, there is a catering kitchen behind the open kitchen, which is fully enclosed and acts as a second kitchen for messier cooking or party catering.
Past the catering kitchen, there is an Imax style theater, which is second to none. The room is finished with dark black and dark grey walls and furniture. The large screen is slightly curved and the surrounding theater type sound system compliments the dramatic pictures on the screen. When all doors are closed the room is fully dark which emphasizes the movie or show one is watching. The seating is comfortable continuous sofa type seating with ottomans and sofa areas that can act as lounging chairs allowing one to put their feet up. The viewing experience becomes more lounge-like, comfortable and informal, rather than the typical rigid theater seating.
On the opposite side of the first floor of the residence are a full bar and family lounge/media area. The feature is a large frameless glass refrigerated wine closet so that all the wines can be viewed behind the bar. The bar is also completely open and interacts with the adjoining family lounge/media room. It also has unobstructed views of the pool, deck, bay and Downtown Miami. Again, when the sliding glass doors are fully open it will seem as if the bar and family/media lounge is part of the pool and deck. This enhances the indoor-outdoor experience. There are additional en-suite guest rooms on the first floor, as well as servant’s quarters and a large utility room. The four-car garage is named aptly the “car suite”, as it is fully air-conditioned, finished and tiled. It is basically a suite to store the cars rather than a simple garage. The garage doors are comprised of glass with aluminum frames. An important feature is that those entering the residence cannot see the garage. It is located behind the cascading water wall that leads one to the main entrance of the residence, and the driveway is also located so that it is hidden. Both the garage and the driveway face the side of the property and are hidden where they cannot be seen.
The residence has a main floating staircase with a small elevator opposite the stairs that lead one to the second floor. The master suite side is opposite the additional bedrooms for privacy and is connected to the stairs and the additional bedrooms with a floating catwalk that overlooks the first floor and the two-story rear glass wall that allows full bay and Downtown Miami views from the catwalk. The master bedroom itself is quite large with full open tall sliding glass doors. When fully open, it feels like the master bedroom is actually outside. The master bedroom and balcony have complete and unobstructed views id Biscayne Bay and Downtown Miami. There are totally separate his and her master bathrooms and closets, which are located opposite each other. His steam shower has full frameless glass opening into the bedroom, and hers as full frameless glass behind the floating tub, also opening into the bedroom. These bathrooms now have full views of the bay and Downtown as well. Adjoining each master bathroom are the large walk-in closet completely finished with built-in closet furniture finished with stained wood. The master suite also has a separate master lounge with its own television and a private stair to the first floor. There are additional en-suite guest bedrooms on the opposite side of the master suite.
The main stair also leads to the roof that acts as a rooftop lounge. This lounge overlooks Biscayne Bay, the cruise ship port and Downtown Miami. It actually has the most spectacular views in the entire residence due to its high location. The owners can often entertain on the roof both day and night; depending on the mood they want to set. The roof is also equipped with a full summer kitchen and barbeque for preparing food and drink servicing the rooftop lounge.
The materials used on this residence are comprised of stained ipe wood, stucco, tile and natural unfinished concrete on the exterior, which is complemented by vast opening, tall sliding glass doors comprised of dark bronze aluminum and clear hurricane impact glass. This adds to the warm feel of the modern residence.
The interior mixes limestone tile and wood flooring. The wall finishes are metal, limestone and marble tile, as well as glass tile in the showers. Some walls are also finished with stained wood. The finishes are depending on the area they are located and the feeling that the owner wanted to be portrayed. Overall, this is an extremely successful project that provided the warmth and modern beauty the owner desired, along with the indoor-outdoor feel that is conducive to the South Florida climate.
Outdoor kitchen featuring a cantilevered cabana
Rear exterior with pool, hot tub, and private white sand beach
Front entrance featuring cascading water wall