Our conversation with interior designer Sandra Diaz-Velasco about her style, signature design tricks, and why she loves working with Monark.
Love for all forms of artistic expression, inspired by her grandfather’s passion for detail and craftsmanship, allowed Sandra to develop a talent for creating structures and spaces with a holistic approach and emotion-driven design dialect. Her attention to detail, dedication to sustainability, and emphasis on a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach are deeply valued by her long list of satisfied clients.
Since 2008, Sandra has run her own award-winning firm, EOLO A&I DESIGN, where teamwork and artistry dominate at every level. The firm’s philosophy? Respect the client’s needs and dreams in order to achieve an optimal, beautiful, and sustainable project. A passion for design and pure love for each and every project drives the Eolo team’s energy and creativity, resulting in a final product that is nothing short of exceptional. Uniting architecture, interior design, and artistry, and guided by a philosophy of constant renovation and environmental preservation, Eolo is highly sought-after for luxury projects in Florida and beyond.
The firm’s philosophy? Respect the client’s needs and dreams in order to achieve an optimal, beautiful, and sustainable project.
How do you describe the style that you bring the most to your work?
I would describe my style as timeless. I love to create something eclectic and contemporary, with a European edge, a love of art, and strong strokes of color. I’ve always been inspired by my grandfather’s passion for detail and craftsmanship, and strive to imbue these qualities into my work.
Can you tell us one of your signature design moves or a concept you particularly enjoy utilizing?
My firm, Eolo A&I Design, emphasizes emotion, detail, craftsmanship, and sustainability in our work. We’re guided by a philosophy of constant renovation and environmental conservation, taking on a holistic approach and emotion-driven design dialect. We are also known for incorporating cutting-edge technology into our designs, and value innovation at every level. When I create a design, I look for a detail or “special something” that my clients love, and I incorporate it throughout the design to make it their own. Even the smallest detail can inspire me to create a pattern or color palette that serves as a thread woven throughout the overall design. In architecture, I always start my design process by considering where the project is located, allowing the characteristics of the site to command the architectural approach.
What role does the kitchen play in your design plans?
The kitchen is the heart of every project. It is where I have the greatest opportunity to propose creative ideas, and to innovate at every level. The kitchen is central to our clients’ lifestyle, and is a showcase for their personality and taste. If we nail the kitchen, we’ve already nailed 50% of the project; the rest of the residence falls into place easily with a successful kitchen design at its center.
The kitchen is central to our clients’ lifestyle, and is a showcase for their personality and taste.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the design of the particular kitchen that we will be featuring?
This complete structural makeover of a two-story 1978 penthouse sought to integrate the kitchen and social area, creating an open layout allowing houseguests to interact more fluidly, while taking advantage of the natural light afforded by a reconfigured, double-height view of Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Materials were chosen to lend richness and texture to the space, defining proportions and ratios, with an emphasis on clean, compelling lines to complement the clients’ entertaining objectives while embodying a warmer, “Modern Eclectic Contemporary” feel. Custom furniture including a sleek, youthful bar and seating as well as oversized artwork emphasize proportion in the two-story space while maximizing the space’s relationship to the double-height view. The design aimed to toy with depth and drama, employing a custom geometric chandelier, streamlined furniture, and glimpses of color to create a welcoming, interesting, and eye-catching space.
What do you like about working with Monark and which Monark products did you utilize for this project?
I love working with Monark because of the people on their team who are a joy to collaborate with. Alina Echavarri is an exceptional professional. Her knowledge and insight in the appliance industry have been invaluable.
From Monark, we purchased state-of-the-art appliances by Gaggenau, SubZero, and Thermador, which captured the clean lines and minimalist design we wished to incorporate into the space. Most of these appliances were panel-ready for seamless integration into the design. A hood and mirror-finished induction cooktop by Thermador add a sophisticated touch to our design. We also purchased the elegant Franke Modern Goose-Neck Chrome Faucet from Monark.
Can you tell us how you chose the particular appliances for this kitchen, why you chose those, and how they fit into the overall design?
The selection of appliances was a team effort alongside the client. The final decision was tailored to their needs, both regarding product performance and the look and style desired within the context of the design. With sleek, seamless appliances and an open, navigable design, this kitchen blends perfectly with the social area of the residence, resulting in a sophisticated, playful, and functional space perfect for entertaining. Our selections worked perfectly – this project has been awarded the Gold Medal in the 2018 KBDN Kitchen & Bath Design Awards and First Place in the 2018 ASID South Florida Crystal Awards, and has been featured in a special Luxe Magazine cover story/editorial, as well as in Beth Benton Buckley’s 2018 Some Like It Hot: Inspiring Spaces by Florida’s Hottest Designers.
I love working with Monark because of the people on their team who are a joy to collaborate with.
photo credit: Kris Tamburello and Juan Pablo Estupiñan