Monday, May 16, 2011

Miami Design District By Viive Ralston

For those of you who have always wondered what you drive by on your way from MIA to sparkling South Beach, let me introduce you to (drumroll please) The Miami Design District!  What was once a quiet, empty, almost desolate part of Miami, is now a vibrant, bustling destination complete with gorgeous furniture showrooms and boutiques, delicious restaurants, and hot high end shopping.

As you drive west from the airport, ask your taxi driver to take you to the corner of NE 39th St and NE 2nd Ave – the red arrow points that that intersection on the map.  You will be right in the thick of things and ready to take a tour of the area.  On the map above, everything in orange is retail space, and everything is blue is future retail space – read: this place is growing by the minute!!

A great place to start is Holly Hunt at 3833 NE 2nd Avenue, (305) 571-2012.  This is a beautiful showroom filled with sleek modern furniture and lighting. 

Gorgeous low leather sofas, smooth wooden tables, and sculptural light fixtures blend together creating a stylish and comfortable environment just waiting to be personalized and accented.

In case the modern look is not the right fit, they also show a line called Gregorius Pineo manufactured out of California, which is based on more traditional scale and design.  Luscious upholstery, carved wood, and eye catching iron detailing evoke a rustic country home, or a cozy mountain lodge.

Fly by the Jonathan Adler boutique, which is filled to the brim with colorful throw pillows, pottery, wall art, and unique table top items.  I could have spent the better part of an hour cooing over it all, but I was on my way to….  Water Works!

I feel that a well designed bathroom is one of the most important features in a house or apartment, and yet, I never seem to feel any inspiration for creating one.  After my first Waterworks visit, I am confident that this will no longer be a problem.  The Miami Waterworks showroom is a place where one can shop for bathroom fixtures they way the French shop for cheese.  It is a beautiful boutique filled with hundreds of varieties of sinks, bathtubs, fittings, hardware, lighting, towels, even bubble bath!

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A couple of doors down, I stepped into Adrianna Hoyos’ showroom.  Hoyos is an internationally known designer from Ecuador, known best for her specialty – designing and decorating high end hotels and resorts.  I was dying to see her furniture creations, because I love her style of mixing clean lines with forms inspired by nature, all crafted using exotic Latin American materials.  

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Her flagship Miami store was showing her latest Africa collection, which is a gorgeous collection of rich dark woods, giraffe motifs, and fresh white fabrics.

Next I popped into Ligne Roset to browse through their amazing sample sale.  I like to look in on this company every season, because I am always amazed by their fresh creative style.  They use unique materials, and apply them in never before seen ways.  Could I decorate an entire room using their furniture, rugs, and lighting – no.  But I like to pick one piece to mix in with some more classic styles – usually accent pieces and accessories, although they also have amazing sectional sofas.

I saw some really eye catching poufs – which, might I add, was a prevalent theme at the spring High Point Market.  Fun, casual, modern – they make perfect occasional seating, and they actually look quite sculptural.  The square shape has more structure and form, and bright colored fabric is a must for cheering up a sad room.

Ligne Roset’s accessories are my favorite.  On the left are tall, sculptural vases, in the center are some stylish mirrors and whimsical hourglass end tables, and on the right two sleek floor lamps, a very interesting little waste basket, and a fun red side chair.  Just one or two pieces from their collection would provide that unexpected punch that your room needs to become Elle Décor worthy.

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Next door, I stepped into a beautiful boutique, Monica James and; Co.  I was completely drawn in by the colorful display in the window.  Monica James is an interior designer by trade, and her boutique is a gorgeous mix of custom upholstery, antiques, and hand selected lighting and rugs.  If you need visual inspiration, this is a great place to find it.  They also offer a beautiful selection of fabric.

Across the street, I spotted ThreadCount – an amazing source for bed and bath linens and more.  They obviously have lots of gorgeous sheets and towels, also beautiful Dransfield and Ross place settings.  I must have sniffed every Lafco candle in the shop – they make one for each room: Breakfast Room, Kitchen, Guest Room, Sun Room, Foyer, Patio…  I just love the concept of having a signature scent for each environment in your home.

They sell Savoir beds, and dress them to the nines, complete with a fun breakfast tray! 

My last stop in Miami was Jalan Jalan Collection.  Very unsuspecting from the outside, but inside is a treasure trove of furniture, lighting, decorative art, everything!  It is a large store, but it is well organized into a series of smaller spaces and rooms that you can peruse at leisure.  And you will want to take your time, lest you miss one precious morsel.

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Jalan Jalan is extremely well inventoried.  It is an eclectic collection, with lots of color and texture, and a diverse selection of styles.  It felt like walking through a furniture market.  One room featured African masks and driftwood lamps, the next Buddha statues and ships lanters, the next totem poles and rich leather chairs. 

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There is something for everyone, and even if you think you know what you like, you might find yourself gravitating towards something completely new – if only because they make it look so inspiring in their beautiful showroom!

At this point, I suggest you treat yourself to a mojito and some tapas at either Sra. Martinez or Mai Tardi, two amazing restaurants in the district.  You can sit under an umbrella and listen to the buzz of the district, and rest your tired feet.  Sra. Martinez is in an old Post Office Building across from the Design and Architecture High School.  Mai Tardi is in a little garden off of NE 39th Street.

The Design District has truly become a destination, and everyone interested in furniture and design should visit.  There is so much to see and visit, you’ll want a couple of days.  Every Saturday there is Launch Miami Market, which highlights the new product of up and coming artists, designers and entrepreneurs.  On the second Saturday of each month, come into the Design District at night to experience Art + Design Night, where boutiques and galleries open their doors for extended evening hours, complete with music, food, and (of course) shopping!  Explore the Design District’s website for more information on events, as well as designers and vendors in the area.


  1. Liz,
    Such a wonderful tour. I will have to save this for the future.
    I hope that all is well with you and yours.




  3. Great fun. I would love to spend an entire day there, such eye candy! Especially Jonathan Adler and Waterworks!! Fun fun fun!

  4. Oh my gosh...this looks so fun!! Would love to wander through all of these stores!!

  5. If your looking to purchase a bar sink for business or pleasance than take a little time utility sink faucets to ideate what your new sink would feeling similar if it were decent there in front of you, if it appears good then croak and stimulate one.

  6. You always delivery great posts with so many great information.

    Thank you for that! :-)

    Have a wonderful day!


    Luciane at

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Liz- Great tour! The Adrianna Hoyos’ chairs with the pierced black backs are unlike any I've ever seen. Stunning!

    I've always wanted to visit Miami!


  9. Thanks for the tour through your trip! Looks like you saw and did a lot of fun things!
    Have a wonderful week!
    E + J

  10. Great coverage of the Design District! Yes, you can hear it growing! I go to the city more often these days and every time I do I see a new shop or restaurant. Next time go up the road to Manolin...brilliant!

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