Experience Design in Downtown Coral Gables
Everything that surrounds us or envelops us has a design to it, and according to author and designer Robert L Peters, “Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.
Coral Gables embodies this concept from architecture to environmental design, to the streetscapes and the people that populate and visit the city. Coral Gables has always embraced a wondrous multitude of cultures, communities, and histories and of course is poised for a successful future.
Designing – or curating – one’s life is the careful selection of what one allows or invites in to shape our identity, our atmosphere, our environment, our relationships, or activities, and what gives us our overall sense of well-being. In this international city, we call The City Beautiful you can find everything you need to design a life from the inside to the outside that fits you to a “t.”
Let’s start at the top, a new hairstyle is the crowning glory of the ‘you’ that you are designing. Men can explore hair and grooming options at ManKind on Aragon Avenue, at the RazzleDazzle Barbershop or the Well Groomed Gentleman on the Miracle Mile. There’s a salon for every person in town, and they accommodate men, women and in most cases children. Step into 231 Salon, Red Carpet, ZenHair or Aragon Bliss on Aragon Avenue where you can also get on your best Jennifer (Anniston or Lopez) with hair extensions at Siutse. On Giralda there’s Actua The Salon and Mayte Nardo Hair Design. Stroll to the Miracle Mile and there’s a bevy of salons including Avant Garde Salon & Spa, Paris Claire Salon, Spacagna Italian Hair Design and Portfolio Salon where you can find the bespoke attention you are looking for.
With the 21st century hair coloring methods going from blonde, to brunette to redhead and anything in between is a snap. Hair Color Sense on Andalusia Avenue has just the colorist for you. Galiano Street is home to La Bella Salon. On Merrick Way you can find the International Hair Boutique and Evolution Salon & Spa. Hop over to Ponce de Leon and check out the Iconic Hair Salon.
The practice of interior design goes back in time, back to the Egyptians who “jazzed” up their homes with animal skins, murals, sculptures, textiles, and painted urns. Moving into the mid-17th century, Louis XIV outdid the world with his construction and design of Versailles, where every blade of grass, tree, bush, and garden path was curated. The Hall of Mirrors was incredibly inspired and the throne room (aka the master bathroom) was glorious in its excess so the king held most of his meetings there. Sprinting into the 20th century, Dorothy Draper, Billy Baldwin, and McMillen (the oldest design firm in the U.S.) were all the rage for interior design.
Then starting in the 60s, we had Tony Duquette the master of Hollywood Maximalism. Stop into Books & Books and order volume 2 of his biography, “More is More,” by Hutton Wilkinson for a deep dive into Duquette’s exceptional style and vision. And while you are there, Books & Books has an extraordinary selection of books on design, architecture, art and more. If they don’t have it handy, they are more than happy to order it for you. And speaking of books and interior design icons that are over the top and glorious, Iris Apfel is still going strong at 100 and currently, on Twitter! USA. Her motto, “More is more and less is a bore.” Her book, Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon is also available at Books & Books. Do a full 180 to the elegance of Coco Chanel whose style was divine and continues to shine through in jewelry and fashion design today. She is known for many things and among them a motto that is worth printing on your hall mirror, “take off the last thing you put on before you leave the house.”
Interior design is ultra-personal and ever changing. Coral Gables has some of the best places to find inspiration for all the appliances, furnishings and accoutrements that make a house a home.
There’s Contempo, Grand Oriental Rug and Patio ‘n Things on Aragon. Design the kitchen of your dreams with Mia Cucina and Veneta Cucine. Luminaire on Ponce De Leon has the most gorgeous lighting for every space in your home from the classical, to modern, contemporary, and futuristic all the lighting you could wish for under one roof. Stop in at Design Space, Violetas Lifestyle & Home, and GK Design Center for glorious guidance to design just about any space. The Golden Triangle, Rose Tree Cottage, Silver Dragon and Kettal Furniture Store have beautiful furnishings and furniture from around the globe.
DESIGN YOUR PERSONAL LOOK
You’ve updated your hairstyle, designed, or redesigned your living space and now it is time to update your wardrobe. It wouldn’t be a new season without a few fabulous frocks and socks and Coral Gables has department stores and boutiques for all the clothes on your shopping lists along with beauty, fragrance, and small leather goods. All the trimmings that make your personal design your very own. For men’s clothing there are two legendary men’s shops – Bolado Clothiers and Pepe Bertini – you will not regret the personal attention by these excellent clothiers. For black tie and beyond, I & A Formal Wear has just the ticket.
Downtown Coral Gables has wonderful and unique boutiques for women’s clothing: There’s Blue Serenity on Andalusia Avenue and Zoey Reva on Giralda. Miracle Mile offers Essence Boutique and Curves & Waves for dresses and swimwear so you can rock the latest swimsuit on the beach or poolside.
Gorgeous Bridal boutiques line the streets of The City Beautiful, attracting international customers to their showrooms and to our milieu. It is never too early to design your (or your BFF’s) perfect wedding! Click here to see a list of the bridal resources in our Downtown and make that walk down the aisle a well-designed moment and the highlight of your life.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Fall is a great time to find new eyewear accessories so that you can express yourself through well designed frames, but be sure to have your eyes checked as well. Since eyeglasses are the hot accessory this year, run to Italian Eyewear on Aragon and Coral Gables Eyecare Center on the Miracle Mile to keep your vision sharp and your eyeglasses fabulous. Check out the world around you, there is so much to see and to experience in Downtown Coral Gables.
“A well-designed life is a marvelous portfolio of experiences, of adventures…that make you stronger and help you know yourself better,” says Bill Burnett in his seminal book, “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.”
The pandemic and the technology evolution/revolution might have changed how we shop, how we relate and express ourselves through a more conscious way of acquiring. According to CEO & Designer of Vintage Luxe Up, David Altman, “today we need our brands and their products to deliver on an emotional level, to satisfy a desire, not to meet a need and we demand that brands be remarkable, one size does not fit all.” Altman reflects that, “values have changed and that cultivating a well-designed life is about experiences vs. stuff, community vs. self, new & now for a life beyond technology just for work.” The future is now; you can design it and experience it at your pace in Downtown Coral Gables.