Michael Janoura grew up in an iconic, white modern house in Boca Raton, Fla., in the 1980s—back before iconic white modern houses were ubiquitous in South Florida.
When Mr. Janoura decided to build his own house in Miami Beach, he wanted a design that was equally modern and unique. “I didn’t want it to look like every other house,” says the 46-year-old commercial real-estate developer.
His wife, Ileana Janoura, 38, agreed that her husband’s childhood home was beautiful and innovative—for its time. And she also didn’t want to live in a white box. “We cannot build the same house as your parents,” she told him.
The result: a charcoal-gray, modern, rectilinear house made from cement and stone. The couple bought the lot, which held a 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom house, for $3 million in 2014, and finished their 4,696-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom house for $2.77 million in 2017.
Architect Max Strang of Strang Design, known for his self-designed home that appeared in the 2006 movie “Miami Vice,” describes the house as “tropical modern,” which he says means it applies a simple design with materials that work in a tropical climate. That included local stone, concrete and a roof that includes a layer of vegetation that absorbs water and provides insulation. “It’s not flashy,” says Mr. Strang.
Since the house—located on Sunset Island in Miami Beach—is visible from the water, privacy was a big issue. It is on a south-facing lot, which meant controlling the heat and providing shade from the sun were also important.
Michael Janoura and his wife, Ileana Janoura built this 4,696 square foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom house for $2.77 million in 2017.
The house was designed by architect Max Strang of Strang Design, known for his self-designed Coconut Grove, Fla. house that appeared in the 2006 film “Miami Vice”. Mr. Strang describes the house as “tropical modern”, which he says means it applies a simple design with materials that work in a tropical climate.
Since the house is located on Sunset Island in Miami Beach, and is visible from the water, privacy was a big issue. It is on a south-facing lot, which meant controlling the heat and providing shade from the sun was also important.
The couple’s house includes a lot of built-in cabinets and have a mixture of rough and smooth exterior materials.
To address both these elements, Mr. Strang created what he calls “fins”: vertical columns outside of the large glass wall in the home’s living area on the side of the house that faces the canal. The fins filter out the light and make it hard to see in the window, acting like structural blinds.
Mr. Strang also designed a cabana-like attachment that extends beyond the house to the swimming pool. Like a covered porch, it acts as a lounge area and helps block the light and noise of the canal from entering the indoor space.
Mr. Janoura inherited his love for modern architecture from his parents, who moved to Florida from Trinidad and built their house in Boca Raton in 1983. After graduating from Georgetown University in 1996, he joined his dad in their shopping center management and redevelopment company.
He and Mrs. Janoura were living in a townhouse across the canal in Miami Beach when they had their first child. Looking for something bigger but not wanting to leave the neighborhood, and worried they’d get priced out if they waited any longer, they settled on a house they would later tear down.
The couple’s house does share some common elements with the one Mr. Janoura grew up in. Both are boxlike, both include a lot of built-in cabinets and both have a mixture of rough and smooth exterior materials. Mr. Janoura insisted on a sunken bar—down a few steps from the living room—and an all-black powder room, both copied from his parents’ house.
“My parents built something unique in their time. We wanted to build something unique for our time,” says Mr. Janoura.
Write to Nancy Keates at [email protected]
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the September 25, 2020, print edition as ‘Where Miami and Modern Meet.’