two men sitting in chairs with dogs

Joy of Ownership: Florida, Bruce and David Starr

Incorporating the excitement of the city is part of the design story for Bruce and David Starr at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach.

Text by Marc Graser
Images by Laura Randall

When The Ritz-Carlton announced plans to offer residences designed by famed Italian architect Piero Lissoni in Miami the project instantly caught Bruce Starr’s attention.

The founding partner and CEO of BMF, a full service marketing agency that works closely with Marriott International’s luxury brands on activations and events, had already been seeking a new home in Miami with his husband David, who runs real estate for Gucci Americas, and their two long-haired dachshunds Margiela and Rumor.

“We had been fans of Piero Lissoni for a long time, and had even attended events at the sales office for the project, but this was all before we had decided on moving full time to Miami,” Bruce says.

a painting on a wall
a picture of a person in a square frame
a staircase with a black staircase and pictures on the wall

Located on a quiet corner in one of South Florida’s most affluent neighborhoods on the shores of Surprise Lake, the eight-story Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach opened in 2019. The redeveloped former hospital complex has 111 condominiums and 15 stand-alone villas.

Amenities include elevated fitness, spa and dining options across immaculate grounds, as well as 36 private moorings for boat owners, and a residential art studio.

The residences have attracted celebrity couple Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, and Miami Marlins’ Major League Baseball top draft pick Corey Dickerson.

There’s certainly a lot to love. Lissoni’s Italian-inspired minimalist aesthetic pairs perfectly with Florida’s penchant for open floor plans with clean lines and light-toned interiors that create a sandy serenity only enhanced by expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek woods and shiny metal surfaces.

The structure is meant to resemble a tall tower that’s been developed horizontally, with cantilevered terraces and canopies that blend in seamlessly with the surrounding landscape and waterfront.

The residence’s amenities and location close to restaurants and shops in the Design District, Bal Harbour, South Beach and Sunset Harbour were big draws for Bruce and David. Yet while Lissoni’s understated design touches were represented in the unit they purchased, Bruce and David felt something was missing—their own personal touch.

a room with a table and chairs and a painting on the wall
a living room with a couch and a picture on the wall

“Our goal was to make it feel like home for us,” Bruce says. “We were used to building our last condo from the ground up, just the way we wanted, and with this unit we moved into something finished. While it was luxury, it also felt like it was never customized for the owner.”

The couple updated every room in the three-bedroom home. They wanted to make smarter use of the square footage, flipping the location of the powder room and expanding the laundry room to turn it into a proper mud room, for example.

After gutting a condo in New York City, Bruce and David “knew the drill and took our time, coming fully prepared with all elements for the construction team, which then made the process go as quickly as possible, as we had everything chosen, bought, delivered, and ready to go.”

The final design of the two-story condo is vibrant, bold and eclectic, reflecting Miami’s unique culture and climate. It’s contemporary with pops of pink, bright yellow, and greens to inject some Miami fun.

The living space is an open floor plan that’s bright and airy, with 25-foot ceilings that invites natural light to flow freely. Large palms were brought in to fill the space with greenery to make it feel more alive.

While Miami is part of the design story, it’s not the entire story.

“The feeling of place is definitely important, but it’s not a style,” Bruce says. “For us the home needs to reflect the family that lives within.”

That meant covering walls with venetian plaster to help create a warm reflective feeling and glow against newly wood-covered walls to create a more inviting atmosphere.

Some of the couple’s favorite design elements are the Ann Sacks fluted marble terrazzo, as well as a Zieta Studio mirror, and Ramsey Conder hardware in the powder room.

“The custom bar with onyx backsplash and counter is something I’m super proud of that we designed as well,” Bruce says.

a kitchen with a large island and a large bowl of fruit
a bathroom with a white bathtub and a white towel

Another signature Miami element is the display of abstract art pieces that evoke the city’s energy and excitement. Bruce and David’s impressive art collection is perfectly displayed throughout the home, but not in a way that makes its sleek walls feel like an art gallery.

On display in the powder room is a rare collage from American photographer Ryan Mcginley. It’s a piece Bruce actually previously purchased at Art Basel in Miami years earlier.

Another piece in the hallway is by painter Guy Yanai, which he created for the couple’s wedding and was unveiled in Tel Aviv at their rehearsal dinner. “It’s super meaningful for us,” Bruce says.

Bruce’s favorite space in the home is the great room, which also displays the couple’s collection of whimsical modern furniture and art pieces.

“Its sheer size and height are what sold us on the unit,” Bruce says. “There’s something super special about having a giant space like that to entertain, host, and feel super connected.”

With the renovation complete, the couple is enjoying settling into their new home—as are their dachshunds.

“They have their favorite places to rest, be it in one of the walk-in closets, behind the couch, or in their new bed under the stairs,” Bruce says. “It’s amazing to see them run through the great room to play, or tap on the door to sunbathe on the balcony.

“We really focused on building this home not only for the two of us, but with our family in mind, meaning the dogs, future kids, and extended family that lives in Miami, and comes over frequently as we love to host,” Bruce adds. “We wanted a space we could grow into, and host shabbats and entertain for the holidays, and to create a place we rarely want to leave.”



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