A background in fashion meant Eric Cody and Arel Ramos were committed to treating their Miami gallery, Stripe Vintage Modern, like a sartorial collection. “Since we’re based in Miami, we wanted the gallery to reflect coastal living not in the nautical sense of navy stripes and turquoise accents, but rather in calming neutrals and rich materials that convey a casually elegant lifestyle,” says Cody. To do that, the duo coined the term “Beach Chic,” bringing definition to a look that ranges from “rustic to luxurious, organic to glamorous.”
The mix has set Stripe Vintage Modern apart from other Miami galleries. In a city where lacquered Regency cabinets and banana leaf pillows can sometimes feel like a requisite, Stripe Vintage Modern cultivates a whole new kind of glamour with barely-there color, accents with sheen, and hand-thrown pottery. Here, Cody and Ramos break down the essential elements of Beach Chic, plus show us how their formula can easily be intermixed with near endless styles, making for a truly endless summer.
NEUTRAL COLOR PALETTE
Leave the hues of chartreuse and hot pink on Ocean Drive where they belong, say Cody and Ramos. For a beach living you can tolerate every day, the duo recommend sticking to an au natural palette of white, browns, grays and black, with shimmers of silver and parchment for interest. “Our neutral color palette stems from the belief that good design and great materials can stand on their own,” says Cody. “In a Beach Chic interior, the result is calm, casual, richly detailed, and visually satisfying. But oftentimes, the real star is—and should be—the ocean view outside, or the sparkling guests you’ve gathered around you.”
“Arel loves pattern mixing (we both do),” says Cody. “But in a Beach Chic environment, we find patterns more distracting than relaxing. Our two exceptions are artwork and natural materials. We especially love luxury pieces by Karl Springer and other designers who employed snakeskin, fish, lizard, and parchment surfaces—all of which have natural patterning. Just like leopard prints and tiger stripes, we consider these patterned skins as neutrals that go with almost anything. Additionally, these precious materials are natural, luxurious, and timeless…in other words, Beach Chic!”
Pottery might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Beach Chic, but pieces with an irregular form or rough grain can often mimic sea rocks, making them a welcome addition in Cody and Ramos’ book. “We have both been addicted to pottery for years! The shapes, textures, and glazes of hand-crafted pottery add an earthy element to our Beach Chic vibe.” He also notes that pottery is an excellent place to dial back on designer grade pieces. “When it comes to the pottery we offer at Stripe, we’re not design snobs,” he says. “Amazing blue-chip pieces by Peter Voulkos and Claude Conover mingle alongside lesser known (and oftentimes unknown) artists, whose work we find just as captivating.”
TESSELLATED BONE & STONE
When working with a refined color story, variations between decor surfaces can make the difference between a room feeling multi-dimensional or falling flat. Much like Cody and Ramos rely on exotic lacquered skins to bring a bit of that sheen, they’re also fans of tessellated bone and stone. “Materials like bone and mother of pearl work together with bleached woods, raw silk, and opalescent Murano glass as variants of the same creamy color palette,” says Cody. He again stresses that “the differences in shine, texture, and materials becomes even more important when you’re layering neutrals.”
BAMBOO (BUT KEEP IT WHIMSICAL)
Some might be surprised to see bamboo—once a token of tiki kitsch—taking a spot on Cody and Ramos list, but they’re quick to point out that not just any bamboo will do: “Our selection at Stripe is often the result of our location,” says Cody. “Miami is Palm Beach’s more exuberant, reckless, (and some might even say WILD) cousin. From its earliest Spanish Moorish beginnings to its Art Deco heyday, to Morris Lapidus’ glamorously modernist Fontainbleau hotel, Miami has always been a style gypsy with a love of drama, escape, and fantasy. So when we’re looking for bamboo furniture and accessories, we tend to seek out extremes on the design spectrum, from charming and whimsical 50’s French and Italian to streamlined 70’s and 80’s American modern.” Statement bamboo ensures the mood never veers into pedestrian territory. Among the styles the duo tends to avoid? “We rarely ever do Chinoiserie,” says Cody.
Putting it All to Work
Cody’s and Ramos’s formula all come together in a Biscayne Bay home, belonging to a globe-trotting family with a penchant for entertaining. “The house sits on Biscayne Bay, overlooking an enviable view of downtown Miami,” explains Cody. “Our goal was to craft an interior that was light and airy by day, but had a glittering, party-ready sophistication by night.” Here, Cody breaks down of how all the above elements cross-pollinated with Nordic touches to create a elegantly livable, beach-inspired oasis.
“Step one was a floor-to-ceiling wash of white paint, room-sized sisal rugs to cover dark tile floors, and yards of white and cream stain-resistant fabrics for upholstery and slipcovers,” says Cody. “Since the lady of the house is a Norwegian transplant with strong ties to her native country, we wanted the home to reflect her heritage as well. We settled on a very Nordic black and white color scheme with a touch of blue to reference the backyard pool’s Spanish tile and the bay waters beyond.”
“The Biedemeier chest, French moustache chair and a 30’s Swedish inlaid wood buffet we placed in the dining room may be unexpected elements in a beach house, but the tone of the wood and leather add a very Scandinavian warmth to a room that could be too cold without them. We also love that they share the same color as the (very tropical) rattan serving tray,” says Cody. As for the vintage Nigerian beaded chair: “While working back to the Nordic color story, its African origins reference the homeowners’ own collection of artifacts, while its black and white floral beadwork is reminiscent of folk designs you see on everything from cupboards to beds to wall hangings throughout Scandinavia.”
“Rustic artifacts from the family’s travels are juxtaposed with bleached wood, rich lapis lazuli, polished brass and marble,” says Cody. Elsewhere in the room, he notes that “groupings of vintage and contemporary pottery insure that darker surfaces are leavened with shots of white.”
Lead photo by Tya Tiempetch