Talking Shop

Designing to Feel at Home

Design Miami

Architect-developer Adam Meshberg shares his approach to creating spaces that offer equal parts curb appeal and easy liveability

When asked to characterize his firm’s personalized approach to designing both private and multi-family homes, architect-interior designer-developer Adam Meshberg begins by citing the famous Mies van der Rohe quote: God is in the details. “We pay close attention to our clients’ daily habits to create spaces that best serve their lifestyles,” he explains. “It’s the small things that end up having the greatest impact—whether it’s custom millwork that stores children’s toys, custom kitchen cabinetry that sits low to the ground to house pet food, or even a custom layout to make space for a private mudroom. Our aim is to make life flow more smoothly.”

Adam Meshberg in Miami Beach. Photo courtesy of Meshberg Group

Meshberg’s reputation for creating highly desirable living spaces took off in 2009 as his Mason Fisk project hit the market. This highly successful, 26-unit residential warehouse conversion in Brooklyn—for which Meshberg first wore the dual hats of designer and developer—sold out seemingly overnight at a time when real estate sales faltered in the face of the global financial crisis.

“The project broke barriers for Williamsburg by respecting the authenticity and integrity of the neighborhood,” Meshberg says of the project's much lauded approach to adaptive reuse. The architectural rehab honored the building’s history while the interiors offered of-the-moment amenities coupled with warm, inviting aesthetics. Meshberg Group carried on this successful vision of what a contemporary urban home should be through many more residential projects in Brooklyn, contributing substantially to the borough's 21st-century renaissance.

Rooftop pool area of District 225 in downtown Miami, a pioneering  residential development in collaboration with Related Group and AirBnB. Photo © Meshberg Group

Riding a wave of pandemic-era migration to South Florida, Meshberg has recently moved to Miami Beach with plans to play a defining role in the region's surge in dynamic new developments—including District 225, a high-profile collaboration with local real estate mogul Jorge Perez’s Related Group, AirBnb, and others.  The new residence will offer 343 fully furnished, “toothbrush ready”  units  in Downtown Miami, steps away from the main transit hub.

Considering how notions of home have undergone radical shifts over the last year, we asked Meshberg to share some of the insights he’s garnered while working at the forefront of new residential developments.

The lobby at District 225 in downtown Miami. Photo © Meshberg Group

Meshberg on successful home design…

We design with the future in mind, analyzing what the market needs, what the site is looking for, and even what the right multi-family amenity package looks like. But the feeling that our designs evoke remains consistent throughout: spaces that offer a timeless, at-home sentiment. We do this by bridging the old and the new and by incorporating contrasting textures and elements. The perfect ambience comes through warm lighting, hidden acoustics, and the latest in smart-home technology to facilitate a more enjoyable everyday experience.

On post-pandemic living...

The pandemic has forced us all to reflect on how we spend time at home, what we want our spaces to look like, and how our relationship with our homes impacts our well-being. As a result, we’ve seen a much greater inclination towards spaces that allow us to enjoy nature while preserving the comforts of the great indoors.

Indoor squash court, one of the public amenities at District 225 in downtown Miami. Photo © Meshberg Group

On designing for wellness…

The focus on nature and wellness propels the trend for sustainable design and the use of bioplastics and low-impact materials. Overall, I’d say we are creating spaces that feel more connected with the elements through touch, lighting, and colors, translating to an overall feeling of well-being.

On the decline of open-plan interiors…

Another pandemic-related change is the rethinking of open-plan models. While people are putting more value on time spent together with loved ones, there is also a surge in the need for more private spaces—like home offices or at-home gyms designed with high-tech amenities and privacy in mind.

A living room in the Bath Haus in Brooklyn. Photo @ Meshberg Group

On trending color palettes...

The use of colors and textures is moving toward a more natural look and feel—a little more rustic than before. Think light woods against darkened exposed hardware.

On his favorite furniture designers...

Some of my favorite pieces are from master mid-century designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, and Pierre Jeanneret. I strive for a balance between the mid-century and the contemporary look and feel, so I also incorporate more organic statement pieces from Sergio Rodrigues and Andrea Lucatello. And I have to mention my friends at Brooklyn-based studio Uhuru. I continuously incorporate their pieces in my projects, because their timeless locally made designs speak to a true Brooklyn narrative. ◆