Behind the Scenes: Building an Urban Oasis in the Heart of Miami’s Brickell Financial District

Surrounded by the elegant and majestic high rises of Brickell Ave, stands 1525 S. Miami Avenue, a luxury custom home we built in the heart of the Brickell Financial District. It was an exciting and challenging project for our custom homes division since it required not only the demolition of the previous residence but also building the exterior and interior of the new house. We never would’ve been able to build a modern home that’s warm and charming in the heart of the concrete jungle without the great creativity of our team and amazing relationship with our client. This job required a lot of coordinating and collaborating with the client, architect and sub-contractors from demolition of the old structure to the completion of the new 2-story home with a rooftop. The challenges we conquered included building a 6,000-square-foot home on a very narrow 7,500-square-foot lot. This called for the SPACiO team of experts to analyze the set backs required by the city to produce a luxury home of this size. Miami’s urban core is running out of land, which makes it increasingly difficult for general contractors to do more with little space.

The planning was crucial in this project, which allowed the team to accomplish the project more efficiently. Another crucial component was being the liaison between the client, architect and sub-contractors to ensure that everyone was on the same page and ensure that SPACiO was turning everyone’s vision into reality. This involved holding weekly meetings from the pre-construction stage all the way through to post-construction stage.

The next step in the project involved building out the interior. We used Porcelanosa products  throughout the entire house, including the flooring, bathrooms, cabinetry, faucets, wall coverings and fixtures. We also built a stunning glass atrium in the entryway. Following the interior, we built the pool and pool deck as well as the rooftop that is surrounded by the Brickell skyline. It has an outdoor kitchen and a seven-person Jacuzzi. The team also installed an intricate AV system throughout the house and customized electronic gates on the outside of the house. It’s truly a gem among the skyscrapers and condo towers that line Brickell.

Building custom homes often turn into nightmares for owners if they don’t hire the right general contractor. We take pride in producing high quality craftmanship and are committed to helping owners have a positive experience. Our entire team is there from the beginning to help the owner feel at ease to make decisions. We assign a team leader to communicate and coordinate with all the sub-contractors’ schedules so the owner always knows where we are in the process. We over communicate and report the project’s status and provide our clients with a detailed timeline and weekly update including photos or videos as needed. We are here to make the process as painless as possible.

Give us a call to find out how we can help you build your dream home.

Tips for Rebuilding Following Weather-Related Events

As Puerto Ricans, Floridians and Texans begin to rebuild their homes and communities from the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey, we’d like dedicate a blog post offering advice to homeowners and business owners on how they can rebuild following catastrophic weather-related events. Although no one wants to get hit by a hurricane, having to rebuild or do major repairs is an opportunity to upgrade your home and, in some instances, your quality of life. Here are some tips from General Contractor Alexander Wertheim, president of SPACiO Design Build.

 Remove Sheetrock, Insulation and Flooring Immediately

If your home is damaged by flooding or storm surge, you need to remove your sheetrock and insulation as soon as the water recedes to prevent mold. You should also remove flooring such as carpet or hardwood floors if you can’t dry them out. Tile is the best since you only need to clean it. If you’re on a tight budget, you can rip out the drywall yourself but we would recommend hiring a professional general contractor to tape and float it.

Hiring a General Contractor

While you can do some of the work yourself such as ripping out the drywall, you will most likely need to hire a general contractor to help you rebuild. You should be careful of scams that often follow hurricanes. Everyone and their mother will slap a magnet on the side of their truck and say they are a general contractor. We suggest checking licenses online, asking for references and even doing a site visit to look at the contractor’s prior work. Make sure the contractor holds liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and you are added as an additional insured on any policy while work is being done on your site. If a bank is involved, it should name the bank as well.

Opportunity to Renovate and Upgrade

You can upgrade to higher-end cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms if they suffered from water damage. If you need to remove the sheet rock, think about adding French or sliding glass doors to the backyard or throughout the house where there used to be a wall, or expanding the kitchen and closets. It’s also a good time to update to PVC piping if your current home or business has lead, copper or steel pipes as well as renovate the electric wiring throughout your home and adding an AV system. Lastly, you can think about creating a smart home.

Fortifying your Home and Business

As you rebuild and renovate your home or business, you should consider updating your home with the latest storm proof materials. It would a good time to install hurricane impact windows and reinforced and wind resistant garage doors. For a comprehensive list of the products available, read this article titled “8 ways to protect your home against tornadoes and hurricanes.”

5 Luxury Homes With Exquisite Wine Cellars

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For true oenophiles, building a beautiful wine cellar isn’t just about aesthetics. Other features such as placement, security, temperature and humidity control plus different bottles’ shapes and sizes must be considered as well, according to Richard Rosenthal, a real estate agent at Halstead in Manhattan.

Using a variety of materials ranging from wood to glass, some of the most impressive in-house wine rooms are works of art themselves.

Here are a few gorgeous examples on the market right now.

357 West 17th Street (New York, New York)Rich Caplan Photograph

357 West 17th Street (New York, New York)

#1: 18 FRICK DRIVE (ALPINE, NEW JERSEY)

Behold, here’s a classic wine cellar decked out with a solid mahogany double door, dark tiled floors with metallic accents and custom plaster ceilings. Yet, don’t be mistaken: there’s much more to this 4,000-bottle dual zone, temperature-controlled wine cellar than its traditional details. With a tamper-proof, biometric entry security system programmed to accept the fingerprint of selected individuals, numeric pass codes and RFID bottle authentication, the most impressive feature here is the smart home technology. Actively monitoring who and when someone accesses the wine cellar, this security system can quickly notify the owner of entry and departure via email or text.

What you can find in the spacious octagonal wine room at 18 Frick Drive are mahogany display cases and shelving lined from floor to ceiling, with some lined with rope lighting and others made to pull out for convenient access to bottles. Each room has its own cooling systems that can be used individually, giving the options of different climates or working together to keep the 4,000 bottle wine cellar uniformly chilled.  Evan Joseph

What you can find in the spacious octagonal wine room at 18 Frick Drive are mahogany display cases and shelving lined from floor to ceiling, with some lined with rope lighting and others made to pull out for convenient access to bottles. Each room has its own cooling systems that can be used individually, giving the options of different climates or working together to keep the 4,000-bottle wine cellar uniformly chilled.

#2: 321 OCEAN, UNIT 201 (MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA)

Style meets function in this 50-square-foot, refrigerated wine room. Boasting an open, more transparent atmosphere, the climate-controlled room features a sleek, insulated glass enclosure, customized acrylic and thermal metal framing, which is powder-coated with a matte black finish to match the custom black finish on the racks.

Sophisticated yet minimalistic, this beautiful wine room at 321 Ocean, Unit 201 has a storage capacity of 440 bottles.Evan Joseph

Sleek and sophisticated, this wine room at 321 Ocean, Unit 201 has a storage capacity of 440 bottles.

#3: 357 WEST 17TH STREET (NEW YORK, NEW YORK)

Reflecting the best of modern and country styles, this stunning wine cellar is one of the biggest highlights of this $36.8-million house. (That’s saying a lot considering the 11,000 square-foot house comes along with a White 2016 Bentley Mulsanne!) Each bottle within the climate-controlled space is tastefully illuminated by backlit LED walls, combined with a rustic brick wall and arched ceiling to create an effortlessly chic look.

This beautiful wine cellar at 357 West 17th Street holds about 500 bottles.Rich Caplan Photograph

This beautiful wine cellar at 357 West 17th Street holds about 500 bottles.

#4: 795 HIGHCOURT ROAD (ATLANTA, GEORGIA)

Inside a six-acre European-style estate is an extremely well-manicured, 2,000-bottle wine cellar. Consisting of a high-velocity, self-contained cooling system that keeps the temperature at 59 degrees, the most impressive detail here is the barrel-vaulted, hand-laid Italian tile ceiling, which uses a centuries-old technique to ensure even weight distribution in the design.

The ceiling’s installation spanned two weeks and required such intricate precision that the homeowners flew in an installation specialist from Italy.Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

The ceiling’s installation of 795 Highcourt Road was so intricate that the owners flew in a specialist from Italy to complete the two-week process.

#5: DARLINGTON (MAHWAH, NEW JERSEY)

Dubbed by many architectural enthusiasts as the American Versailles, this rare estate (sold furnished) has a wine cellar—with separate temperature controls for red and white wines—connected to a squared shape 27-by-27-foot wine room. While everything in the wine room is beautifully custom made, the pièce de résistance is certainly the wine wall displaying 326 bottles. Along with two blue chairs that once belonged to Sir Elton John, the entire combination works like a well-curated art installation many cultural aficionados would die for.

The room’s design started with the purchase of a slab of a very unique blue marble which was used for the tabletops – then everything else was brought in and designed around that to matchSpecial Properties/CIRE

The room’s design started with the purchase of a slab of a very unique blue marble which was used for the tabletops – then everything else was brought in and designed around that to match.

The Crocker Mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey, a 55,000 square foot single family home built by architect James Brite in 1908. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed of Indiana limestone and Harvard brick, the home is also named "Darlington."Special Properties/CIRE

The Crocker Mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey, a 55,000 square foot single family home built by architect James Brite in 1908. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed of Indiana limestone and Harvard brick, the home is also named “Darlington.”

the wine storage cabinets have separate temperature controls and they are ran by two separate coolers, which allows for the proper storage or red and white winesSpecial Properties/CIRE

The wine storage cabinets at the back have separate temperature controls run by two separate coolers, which allows for the proper storage or red and white wines.

Read the full article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eustaciahuen/2017/06/30/winecellars/#bce7b704e89e

Tips for Getting Your Newly Built Condo Ready for Rent

Many of the buyers closing on units in recently completed luxury towers across South Florida are investors. Some are domestic and some are foreigners. They all share the same plan: renting the units out until the time arrives to execute an exit strategy. But renting a new condo can be a challenge for two reasons:

1. Hundreds of new condos are hitting the rental market simultaneously.

2. Hundreds of new luxury rental units are either nearing completion or under construction.

This is creating intense competition among future landlords. Here are some tips to help investors rent their units faster and generate income sooner rather than later:

1- If the newly-built unit comes ‘decorator ready’ – which means the floor, walls, closets, etc. are not finished – you will need to paint the walls, add flooring and build-out the closets. A solution: weeks before the closing date, recruit a general contractor to start planning the build-out of the unit. This way, the GC will start work as soon as the unit becomes yours, saving you weeks of ‘waiting time’ and placing a tenant in the unit much faster.

2 – For the walls, stick to neutral colors. Stay away from bold or ‘white,’ which will make your unit seem dull and potentially scare away tenants who may not have the creativity to envision the unit as their home.

3 – Basic Standard Materials: if your unit requires a build-out, do not use the same type of materials that you would install in your own home. Your tenants are not going to treat it with the same quality of care, so don’t overspend. For flooring, we recommend porcelain tiles because they are stylish, durable and low maintenance. They also work well in balconies and blend with the interior flooring.

4 – Invest in a practical built in closet system throughout the unit.

5 – Most new units come with the kitchen and bathrooms already finished. But if you plan to upgrade the kitchen, avoid white cabinets. Earth tones are ‘in’. Also consider upgrading fixtures such as door handles, faucets, etc.

6 – Open floor plans: if the unit seems small, consider knocking down walls to open up the floor plan, which usually involves combining the kitchen, dining and living areas into one large space. This will increase the natural light and create the perception of increased square footage.

For more ideas, give us a call. We have some great concepts to build out new condos and modernize older units.

Why Signing a Cost-Plus Contract With Your General Contractor Makes Sense

When I am contacted about an extensive remodeling job and/or repositioning of a commercial property, the potential client often wants to know if I should give them a ‘fixed-price’ proposal or do the work on a ‘cost-plus’ basis.

My answer is ‘it depends.’ If the job involves building out space in a historic or neglected building, it is likely that the general contractor will encounter surprises behind the walls, floors and ceilings. Each surprise requires more labor and materials. For instances like this, I recommend working on a cost-plus basis, where the general contractor executes the work then adds a fee to the cost of the project.

This approach requires trust and constant communication between the GC, the client and project manager. Each party needs to be on the same page so that all are involved in arriving at a decision when an issue arises. The GC should be accessible when the client asks why the costs are incurred and whether they are justified. The cost-plus basis works very well with customers who have done build-outs in the past or have experience in the construction industry and understand the complexities of building new within an existing structure.

Fixed-price proposals are more common for condo and homeowners seeking to build-out their property and budget appropriately. Custom-built homes and repositioned retail spaces in newer buildings are also conducive to fixed-price proposals. My simple rule: The more predictable the build-out work, the easier it is to write a proposal.

A fixed-price proposal may not be the right answer when working on a historic or long-neglected property. Most likely, the GC will need to amend the fixed price through ‘change orders.’ Each change order addresses whatever ‘unpredicted work’ is necessary to solve the problem. By the time the job is complete, the accumulation of change orders can make the job much costlier than the initial agreement. When this occurs, both the property owners and the GC may feel they have been taken advantage of.

At SPACiO, when the job is big and looks like surprises may be waiting, we recommend using the cost-plus approach. But the key ingredient for this strategy to succeed is trust. The GC must earn the trust of the client and the client should check the GC’s references to ensure that the partnership will be successful.

Custom Home Miami Beach: A class of its own

This $10 million dollar residence is truly in a class of its own.  SPACiO meticulously crafted every gorgeous facet of this modern home. The contemporary design featured an open floor plan with white oak flooring, a professional chef’s kitchen, and a massive master suite with an adjoining office. And it features a rooftop deck for breathtaking views of downtown Miami.

This is the type of custom home project that the SPACiO team takes immense pride in bringing to life.

SPACiO makes the process of building a home simple and convenient to the homeowner. It all starts with a visit to SPACiO’s showroom, where we display samples of materials. Our entire team is also there to help the owner make decisions on the spot. We assign a team leader to communicate and coordinate with all the subcontractors’ schedules so the owner always knows where we are in the process. One thing we realized over the years is that one can never over report with a homeowner, who eagerly waits for the completion of his/her home. We provide our clients with a detailed timeline and weekly update including photos or videos as needed. Honoring the timeline is a key priority to us so our clients can arrange travel plans for milestone walk-through visits.

While SPACiO is committed to quality work, we are even more committed to helping owners have a positive experience when building their homes or building out their luxury condo units. We are always glad to get on a call to discuss how we can help you.

Art Basel Miami

TIPS TO ‘ART BASEL’ YOUR HOME

With Art Basel in town, we’d like to offer some advice for newcomers and art connoisseurs on building and retrofitting your home to create the perfect environment that will bring your valuable artwork to life.

First, we believe that there is no better time to plan a ‘gallery wall’ than when your interior designer is designing your home. As a general contractor focused on high-end homes and condo build outs, we always advise our clients to incorporate their artwork into the interior design planning process. But that advice will not apply to those who may visit Art Basel in Miami Beach and Art Miami in Wynwood, fall in love with an original piece of art and walk away as the proud owner of an original painting. As a fledgling art collector, these are some of the things you need to know:

Hanging the work: Before hanging the painting, you will need to know if your wall is built of drywall, plaster, block or wood.  Drywall is not a problem but plaster, block or wood will require screws and often anchors. In this case, we recommend hiring a professional to prevent damaging the artwork. Make sure the painting is properly framed before hanging and do not hang paintings near direct natural light – they can fade from the UV and infrared radiation.

Humidity: This is Florida after all and humidity is our biggest challenge. The humidity in your home should be kept within the 20% relative humidity (RH) range in a 24-hour period. You may want to install a dial on the wall for humidity control. Fluctuations in humidity, as well as in temperature, may cause paintings to deteriorate by expanding and contracting. Cooking and bathing produce areas of climate change in a house/condo so make sure to pick the correct wall.

Lighting: When we perform a home build out, we often start by lighting up the area where the artwork is located at the ceiling level. We might also retrofit the wall to install picture lights that bring out the colors in the painting/s. As mentioned before, continuous exposure to ultra violet rays can be damaging so minimize exposure to natural light.