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This Miami Designer Fills Her Apartment With Vintage Furniture

This Miami Designer Fills Her Apartment With Vintage Furniture

Carla Lores at her travertine and chrome dining table, which she snagged from a private seller in Key Biscayne.

Though interior designer Carla Lores rents an apartment in the Art Deco Historic District of Miami Beach, the only identifiable relic of the home’s 1930s origin is an ornate, nonworking fireplace. Its elaborate molding and pastel-hued, mosaic hearth adds some character to the otherwise blank 600-square-foot space, but not enough that Carla is completely satisfied with its look.

“It’s frustrating that the terms of my lease don’t allow me to upgrade the apartment,” she laments. “I’m working within those constraints. For now, I’m expressing myself through funky, vintage furniture.”

Carla has spent countless hours scrolling through OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace to assemble her retro collection that breathes life into the white plaster walls. Sifting through thousands of posts to find the few gems among tons of junk is challenging yet rewarding. “It becomes a treasure hunt,” she describes.

While many of Carla’s finds, like the 1970s travertine-and-chrome dining table, were crafted in late-20th-century Italy, each item is sourced locally to honor the city’s rich history as an international hub for art and design. “I want my apartment to feel like it’s in Miami,” she says. “Everything I’ve found was here in South Florida. The pieces came from other countries, but they’ve probably spent most of their lifetimes here.”

“The way it tiers is really unique. It’s the perfect place to put artifacts and beautiful objects,” raves Carla.

Clear themes emerge throughout Carla’s secondhand selections. All her surfaces possess a distinct, monolithic solidity, from the Milo Baughman–style orange laminate and lucite desk to the mushroom-like resin nesting side tables. The eye-catching green laminate tiered desk is thick and chunky, as well.

To offset the heaviness, Carla invested in wavy, curved light fixtures that provide a layer of playfulness. The arched Mads Caprani floor lamp wears a dreamy pleated shade, the three-legged Memphis floor lamp undulates whimsically, and the vintage-seeming Oscar Piccolo Lampada Cappello wiggles gracefully. “Once I find a shape that I like, I repeat it over and over unintentionally,” Carla reveals. “Eventually I’ll move on to the next form.”

Carla’s seating options are all composed of beachy wicker. She procured a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe MR20 cantilever chair in rattan, while her white lacquer desk chair and Marcel Breuer Cesca Cchairs feature cane. “I wanted to incorporate these natural materials in a particular way because they could easily become too tiki or bohemian,” says Carla.

Between her KJP prints and Robert Allen fabric, Carla’s checkered crush shines through. “I don’t want it to look like it’s in Brooklyn or on the West Coast,” Carla says. “Trying to keep it relevant to Miami Art Deco is interesting.”

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