When Tom Healy, a writer and educator, and Fred Hochberg, a businessman and former government official, receive an unexpected offer to buy their Miami home, it proves too good to pass up. They agreed and took the sale as an opportunity to downsize to a luxury, plot of land in South Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The showing for their former home included the bulk of the couple’s furniture, leaving Healy and Hochberg with a blank slate.
In a confluence of good will, two of Healy’s friends—gallery owner Nina Johnson and curator Alexandra Cunningham Cameron—recommended the same designers within hours of each other: Adam Charlap Hyman and Andre Herrero of New York—and the Los Angeles-based firm Charlap Hyman. & Herero. “When Adam and Andre first arrived at the apartment, Adam was dressed like it was the middle of winter, and Andre was wearing a shirt open to his navel, with tight leather pants,” Healy recalls. “What I love about them is the balance of moods and styles, which I felt reflects our relationship as well.” While Healey and Hochberg’s previous homes were very bold, Charlap Hyman and Herrero took the couple to a whole other level, Hochberg says. The company looked to the harsh environmental conditions and architectural history of Miami Beach for inspiration, envisioning a design scheme organized around the elements.
“There was a choreography that we envisioned from the beginning,” Charlap Hyman says of the house’s design. The apartment is located on an east-west axis with windowed balconies on both ends. Visitors enter through its centre, and exit through an elevator into a modern grotto featuring a ceiling inlaid with mother-of-pearl. A custom wraparound bench, an homage to the Hermann Czech chairs in Vienna’s Schwarzenberg Palace, sits below it, with tiered wallpaper covering the aisle. “We wanted the entrance to evaporate, so you would walk in through the overcast sunset,” explains Herrero. Here Hochberg welcomes guests for his weekly meetings with Healy before escorting them into the surreal dining and living room, centered on a custom mirrored dining table shaped like a pond.
The company treated the project as a comprehensive artwork, It is translated as “a complete work of art.” The detailed interiors that signified this aesthetic ideal in the 19th century, when the concept was first formalized, have become more difficult to implement in the 21st century. Only experienced and knowledgeable designers like Charlap Hyman and Herrero would attempt it. From the little bows on the backs of the outdoor dining chairs to the camouflage glass knobs on the arm doors, no decorative opportunity was missed.
Descending directly from this decorative legacy is Healey’s study, covered in moss green from the high-gloss walls to the custom-painted millwork. “Using one color or material throughout creates a sublimation of shapes, blurring the edges of the room and the pieces of furniture within it,” explains Charlap Hyman. “The effect is something expansive, even infinite.”
The same approach appears again in the master bedroom, where the walls, bed and nightstands are covered in cork as a nod to writer Marcel Proust’s cork-lined bedroom. “I wanted to honor the underrated,” Healy says. “Since Adam is so well-versed in the history of design, we thought of doing something Proustian in Miami.”
Past and planet collide in the private quarters of Heli and Hochberg, whose entrance is defined by a shell-covered door made using the same technique as the lobby ceiling. The door appears like a wall when closed, but when opened reveals a hallway of books that leads to a steel-clad screening room — an homage to Jay Aulente’s 1970s apartment in the Pucci Palace.
However, this room, while steeped in history, is not stuck in the past. One wall features a series of built-ins that house Hochberg’s home office, while an overhead cabinet hides an integrated air conditioning unit, behind circular screens. It’s another layer to Healy and Hochberg’s inner world; Fortunately, guests can return to the dining terrace to take it all in. “It is a great honor to work with clients who have such a rich inner life,” says Charlap Hyman. “And these two really do it.”
This story originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of ELLE DECOR. Participate
(Tags for translation)Charlap Hyman and Herrero