While Nina Magon’s mid-century modern home may be tucked away in a central Houston neighborhood, the vibes are all about white-hot Miami. “Miami is one of my favorite places in the country; it’s where I feel most comfortable. I love the culture and the feel of the place,” says Magon, who is the creative director of Contour Interior Design in Houston.
Magon and her family vacation in Miami often, and the designs she’s encountered there inspired the transformation of this 6,000-square-foot home. “This place feels very Miami because of its split levels,” says Magon of the unique one-and-a-half-story home that sits on a one-acre lot in a village-type neighborhood.
The house boasts stunning mid-century architecture, like a butterfly roofline and brick exterior, but Magon says certain quirks kept it from selling and it was considered by some as a teardown. “This house was a home that no one wanted,” says Magon. No one but the designer and her builder husband, who immediately saw massive potential. “We knew we could easily transform it into our dream house. The great thing about being a design-build couple is that you can see what others can’t and envision the beauty.”
The couple completely reimagined the home into a modern-day white jewel box—which was daring since they have two small children. They changed the floors, reworked the kitchen and bathrooms, expanded closets and added standout decorative lighting throughout. A year later, they gave the exterior a facelift, stuccoing and painting it white to match the interior. “That made a massive difference,” says Magon. “Now, every single person who walks through the door has an immediate ‘wow’ reaction. I think it’s the ingenuity.”
Part of the allure is the grand entrance, where guests saunter across a black-and-white floor block, created with black wood on top of white tile for contrast, along with interesting furniture, including an Italia reflective glass bench for removing shoes, and a striking console table from the Nina Magon Collection that’s modeled after a jewelry bangle. The couple loves art, as seen throughout the home, and the piece above the console table was purchased at Elena Bulatova Fine Art in Las Vegas. “What’s interesting about the painting is that the artist doesn’t pick up the brush up while making the white and gray lines,” explains Magon. “There are multiple faces, and we always try to figure out how many faces we can find.”
Move into the dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the expansive backyard and the pool. The centerpiece of the room is a custom concrete table surrounded by blue Edelman leather chairs and two A-shaped chairs from the Nina Magon Collection, aptly named after her children whose names both start with an A. The table is anchored by a Zeppelin chandelier by Flos and designed by Marcel Wanders, a Dutch designer known for his eclectic designs at Mondrian Hotel South Beach. “We wanted something white that would disappear, but also had an architectural detail,” says Magon. Wander into the white and gray kitchen and you’ll find white Silestone quartz countertops from Cosentino, Bontempi cabinets and two wide islands with drawers on both sides. “We wanted everything hidden, so when you open the drawers, there are drawers within those drawers,” says Magon, who points out other purposeful details, such as swivel chairs at the breakfast nook that swing around so it’s easy to retrieve silverware and plates tucked away in the island. “Everything is very functional and offers easy access for our children.” And, instead of wall cabinets, Magon prefers tall windows for an open and airy feeling. “You don’t always need wall cabinets. You can have storage in the islands versus having walls of cabinets for a much cleaner look,” she advises. Further symmetry and drama are created with dual chandeliers made of cascading chains by Terzani La Luce Pensata.
Numerous living and sitting spaces luxuriously sweep over the split levels, making it easy for the family and guests to flow from room to room. A lounge area for entertaining features a white sofa and stacked coffee tables from Italian design company Molteni, a side table from Holly Hunt and mat black chairs from Knoll. High style continues in the adjacent family room with a Gamma gray sectional and a custom ottoman with Elitis fabric; then step down into a luxe, sunken formal living room with dramatic 20-foot ceilings. Here, your attention flits from a custom art installation from Amanda Kinnan Art above the fireplace to a Barcelona bench, an iconic mid-century modern piece, and an iconic Serge Mouille three-armed floor lamp. Other key pieces are an Oggetti geo-glass cocktail table, Kyle Bunting hide rug and two matching Global Views stools.
“We have an open-ottoman concept, which lets everyone have the feeling of being included,” says Magon. “The back wall is all windows so we can take advantage of the views and feel like we’re part of the outside.”
Since the family watches a lot of movies together, the Magons also added a plush theater room on the first floor, instead of another living area.
In keeping with a home that feels like an impressive stay at a Miami hotel, there’s now an oversize powder room with dual sinks, cascading wall pendants and tile with glitter, as well as a modern master bedroom that mimics a suite, which is decked out with a bed from Cantoni, side tables from Modloft, and a chair and accent table from Molteni. “We wanted to make it serene,” says Magon. “The blue and white tile on the wall is this ombre effect that goes from light to dark to feel like water.”
A daily reminder in Texas of their beautiful sun-soaked days in Miami.
Angela Caraway-Carlton is a Miami-based freelance writer, travel and lifestyle expert, and television producer. Her works have appeared in Indulge Magazine, Time Out, Elysian, Aventura, South Florida Luxury Guide and Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida & the Caribbean. Caraway-Carlton has covered lifestyle trends in South Florida and beyond for more than a decade.