Q&A with Guest Contributor: Miami’s Jeff Morr Dishes on Trends in Interior Design

SPACiO sat down with the talented Jeff Morr , an interior designer who has designed some of Miami’s most iconic condo projects from Ten Museum Park to Paramount on the Bay. He gives us the scoop on what it takes to be an interior designer in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

How did you become an interior designer?

I have been a real estate broker for over 30 years and have always had a passion for interior design. For years, I’ve worked closely with developers and architects designing buildings and introducing new concepts to the South Florida real estate market. For example, I introduced the ‘loft’ concept in the 1990s. Buyers from New York would ask me for lofts in Miami Beach and I would always say “we don’t have them in Miami”. As a result, I convinced a handful of developers to build small loft condo projects South of Fifth Street in South Beach. These were a big success so I brought the concept across Biscayne Bay to work with the developers of Ten Museum Park, Paramount on the Bay, Parc Lofts MiamiCynergi  (the first residential project in Wynwood), Midtown Miami and many others.

Give us a taste of the work you do as a designer.

We recently completed a unit at Continuum South Beach and have now started working at a unit in the Beach Club. We are doing a lot of work in buildings completed in the last cycle to freshen up the floor plans, kitchens, baths and create brand new spaces. We also manufacture furniture to match our design as well as design decorator-ready units in buildings being completed in this cycle, like Echo Brickell.

When it comes to designing, I love doing kitchens. My clients are amazed to see how you can create a completely new style by replacing cabinet doors, installing new countertops and adding an interesting backsplash. Our clients are moving away from ‘all white’ and are increasingly choosing pastel blue, pastel gray and pastel orange for cabinets. Shaker kitchen cabinets are very popular because some clients like just a twist of traditionalism.

In terms of flooring, porcelain is in. It is a great material. You don’t have to worry about it polishing every few years. It is virtually maintenance free. Wood-look porcelain tile is also very popular on terraces, pool decks and areas you would have never imagined.

Miami is a very cosmopolitan city. How does the ‘international influence’ reflect on the work you do?

Miami is a progressive city that tends to be into a singular look known as Tropical Modernism, embracing clean lines combined with warm colors, wood, glass, natural stone, LED lighting and more. I do see a few differences in clients who come from South America. They need service quarters for their nanny. Handheld shower devices are very important for foreigners as well as combo toilet/bidets. All our clients – regardless of where they come from – are very interested in space maximization so that’s a priority for me. They are paying a very high price per square foot when they buy into some of the world’s most luxurious towers in Miami so there is no reason to waste space. For example, we often remove traditional bidets, consolidate a bidet with the toilet and in the new void, we build a linen closet. There are many ways to add storage space in condos. It is all about being creative.

SPACiO Design Build Spends a Day at Sea with the US Navy

As SPACiO Design Build continues to evolve and adapt to Miami’s ever-changing real estate market, Brian Nisula discovered new ideas for growing the business in an unlikely place…an aircraft carrier. When he was nominated through the Young Presidents’ Organization to attend the Leaders to Sea Program, he didn’t expect a day at sea with the US Navy to open his eyes to new ways of thinking about SPACiO Design Build’s future. We sat down with Brian to learn more about his adventure at sea and find out what inspired him the most about the program.

Q: How did the Leaders to Sea Program shape your perception of our military including our Navy?

Most Americans, including myself, don’t really know what our military does on a daily basis or how hard our troops work. The Leaders to Sea Program aims to change that by inviting community leaders to learn about the Navy and help foster citizen awareness and understanding of the Navy’s role and need in general. My involvement with the Young Presidents’ Organization, a global network of young chief executives with 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, led to the opportunity.

We started the day with a C2 Greyhound transport plane flight off the coast of Southern California to the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean that was in training to be deployed. You don’t realize how big these carriers are until you’re on one. There are about 5,000 people living on the ship, taking a tour of one is like visiting a small town.

I now have a better understanding of what it means to run a tight ship. There is no room for error when you’re in the middle of the ocean. The level of effort it takes to run an aircraft carrier is immeasurable. It was an enlightening experience to see the US Navy in action and their dedication first-hand.

 Q: What takeaway from the tour will you apply to your endeavors to continue SPACiO’s positive growth trajectory?

As a general contractor, the US Navy’s efficiency and resourcefulness are two takeaways that I can relate to. In our business, our goal is to provide a superior level of quality, professionalism and responsiveness while meeting budgets and deadlines. I was amazed by the Navy’s innovative and efficient approach to running the ship smoothly. There are so many moving parts on a ship this large. They all have to work together in order to sail forward. As SPACiO grows, taking on more projects and hiring more teams, it will be important for us to focus on increasing our efficiency and becoming more resourceful. It will be more beneficial to our clients and our employees.

Let me give you an example. On the carrier, there’s an officer called the Handler. He’s responsible for positioning all the ships and planes on the deck of the aircraft carrier. He developed a system for managing the flight deck by building a model for himself using materials from a craft store. His innovative approach to managing the flight deck is a great example of how to be efficient and resourceful by thinking outside the box. After watching him and other crew members operate in terms of their efficiency, anything can be achieved with the proper organization and training.

Q: What do you want to share with readers about the US Navy?

I want people to know how hard our military works to protect our freedom. Everyone on the ship is working more than 14-hour days; yet, every crewmember is dedicated and does their job with pride. After seeing the rigors of their training, I would be more inclined to reach out to former military personnel to join the SPACiO team.

Behind the Scenes: Building Out Miami Beach’s 321 Ocean

What a treat it has been building out a luxury condo at 321 Ocean, an exclusive collection of 21 luxury residences in South of Fifth, one of Miami Beach’s most upscale neighborhoods. One of the things we love about our job is having access to some of the world’s most exquisite residential developments. Early this month, we had to say goodbye to the building after completing the build-out of our client’s unit in just 12 weeks. The work was completed on time and on budget.

The work consisted of installing flooring, trim window coverings, staircase handrails, mill work and more. Our favorite part was building a beautiful wine cellar. Our client chose hardwood floor throughout the condo and very neutral finishes and colors.

Overall, this is one of our best projects because working together with the client we were able to plan it well and execute it without a hitch!

Looking forward to our next build-out!