In Miami, a Sculptural Home Turns Out to Be the Ultimate Zillow Find

During the pandemic lockdown, Richard Arregui spotted a dramatic modernist home for sale on Zillow in the Ponce Davis area of ​​Miami, his hometown. “It was like looking at a work of art,” said the former art dealer turned collector, who stalked it online obsessively for weeks before the owner allowed an open house. Once inside, Richard and his wife, Susan, looked past the cluttered interior painted purple and yellow and appreciated how the fluid sculptural spaces opened to tropical greenery through glass expands at every turn.

in an entrance foyer is a modern chair next to a wooden sideboard with a boldly colored horizontal artwork above it, two steps lead to a sitting area with low cushions and a black rocking chair

In the foyer, the console is by Piero Lissoni for Cappellini, the Le Corbusier chair is vintage, and the artwork is by Tammi Campbell.

Frank Frances

He realized he had been there before—at a 1990 cocktail party hosted by Gloria Luria, a pioneer of Miami’s art scene who opened one of the first contemporary art galleries in the city. “It was an incredible home with incredible art by George Segal, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Larry Rivers,” says Richard, who was 26 at the time and remembers imagining that he, too, would live in such a fantastic place when he became prominent in the art world.

Long way around, his dream has come true. In 2021, the Arreguis, their 12-year-old twins, Allegra and Ricardo (Kique), and four dogs moved with their trove of contemporary artworks and design objects into the house.

“Everything here is talking to each other in some manner.” —Richard Arregui

Peruvian architect Miguel Rodrigo Mazuré designed the residence in 1980 specifically to showcase Gloria and Leonard Luria’s art collection. When the cantilevered volumes and swooping curves in his submitted plans proved too radical for Coral Gables, where the Lurias had originally acquired property, they bought a new parcel of land in Ponce Davis rather than alter the design with the cosmetic columns that were being requested to receive county approval.

a library has four modern chairs upholstered chairs in a light fabric, a glass topped cocktail table with multicolored legs, and shelves at eye level lining the walls with rows of books and objects d'art

The library has colorful touches inspired by 1980s Memphis design. The cocktail and side tables are by Kelley Johnson, the armchairs are by B&B Italia (left), Knoll (center), and Arflex (right), and the rug is by Trenton Doyle Hancock.

Frank Frances

In a 1984 Architectural Digest an article about the house, Gloria—now in her 90s—is quoted as saying: “Good architecture, like good art, has to have line, form, and quality. It doesn’t need embellishment.”

Today, the house remains structurally unchanged. The walls have been restored to white as a pristine backdrop for the Arreguis’ first-rate collection of works by artists like Ross Bleckner, Odili Donald Odita, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Bell, and Zanele Muholi, and renowned designers including Hans Wegner, Ward Bennett , Piero Lissoni, Maarten Baas, and Josef Hoffmann. A holdover from the Lurias’ era is Clement Meadmore’s 1981 sculpture Upswing, a massive, torquing black-steel volume anchoring a reflecting pool framed by fan palms to the right of the front door and echoing the movement in the architecture.

on the floor in front of a floor to ceiling window in a corner of the living room is a sculpture and on the wall is a large artwork of boldly colored geometric shapes

A sculpture by Cristina Lei Rodriguez anchors a corner of the living room. The artwork (right) is by Odili Donald Odita.

Frank Frances

In the living room, a painting by Jon Pylypchuk with huge spiraling eyes and a grimacing mouth is hung in playful juxtaposition with Casey McCafferty’s chair sculpted to resemble a primitive figure with a face suggested in the grain of the wood. In the den, a Kelley Johnson table with multiple acute angles rests on a Trenton Doyle Hancock rug with radiating circles, a happy marriage of geometry.

the floor of the primary bathroom is white marble and there is a jacuzzi and a cylindrical shower made of plexiglass, floor to ceiling windows have white honeycomb shades, ceiling windows are uncovered

The custom Plexiglas shower in the primary bathroom is original. The window coverings are by Hunter Douglas; the shoe sculpture (left) is by Andrew J. Greene.

Frank Frances

“Everything here is talking to each other in some manner,” says Richard, who had his own gallery in Coral Gables from 1989 to 1999 and describes himself as “in and out of art rehab” over the past couple of decades.

“He mainly specializes in the art and I’m the furnishings,” says Susan, who ran her own furniture company for designers and architects from 2005 to 2010 in Miami’s design district. “We pretend to accept input from each other, but usually when a future acquisition comes up in front of the committee of two, the decision has already been made to buy it.”

sun shines on a koi pond with turquoise water and shrubs and bushes surrounding it, two brass koi fish sit on the edge

Two vintage brass koi fish decorate the edge of the original pond.

Frank Frances

The couple met in college at the University of Miami. Richard’s father and uncle, immigrants from Cuba, ran a Miami-based ad agency that handled the Hispanic market. Susan’s father, James E. Fulton, was a pioneering dermatologist who helped to develop Retin-A and topical erythromycin to treat acne and with her mother founded Vivant Skin Care in Miami. Susan took over as CEO of the company in 2014, and Richard became head of sales in 2016. “I report to her at home and at the office,” Richard says. “It’s like I Love Lucy—the Cuban husband, the American wife.”

“Waking up in the morning and looking out at the garden, it’s like Shangri-la.” —Susan Arregui

Susan credits her husband’s persistence in moving forward with buying the house during the difficulties of COVID. Their new home came with a specially designed art closet (storing the overflow of their 300-plus artworks), 13 skylights guaranteeing beautiful indirect light on their collection, and three bars—indoors, outside on the patio, and by the pool. “We love to entertain, and the house was made for art and entertaining,” Susan says.

Richard, who also collects palms and bamboos, has started adding talipot palms to the already lush plantings ensconcing the house. “Waking up in the morning and looking out at the garden,” Susan says, “it’s like Shangri-la.”

Styled by Tessa Watson

march 2023 cover elle decor

This story originally appeared in the March 2023 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE