A Star Island Guest House Reveals Its Own Compelling Story 

Everyone in Miami knows about 22 Star Island, and a great number—around 800,000 people—have experienced it on YouTube as well. More than one posted video—drone operators working overtime—celebrates the splendor of the compound with its massive, lagoon-style pool, private dock and two Jaume Plensa statues framing Biscayne Bay. Built on spec by Todd Michael Glaser, one of the biggest names in luxury homebuilding, and designed by Domo Architecture + Design, the 17,000-square-foot modern mansion drew headlines when it fetched $49.5 million in an off-market deal more than a year ago. The rumored buyer was New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, so naturally the estate, which sits on 1.7 acres, is one of the most coveted, fetishized and gossiped about properties in all of South Florida. 

For three years, Charlotte Dunagan and Tom Diverio, of Dunagan Diverio, oversaw the interior design, and Diverio is eager to tell the unusual story of the property’s 5,600-square-foot guest house, a 90-year-old curiosity that the firm also designed. “The guest house is a very old building, a Mediterranean-style structure, and it used to be part of the original Miami Beach yacht club on Star Island,” the designer says. “The house used to be on the other side of the lot, actually on the neighboring lot. When the architect and Todd Glaser started working on this property, they actually lifted the entire structure, the whole building, and moved it to the other side of the property. They actually hired a company from Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard that specializes in picking up homes and moving them. There’s even a time-lapse video on YouTube.” 

Diverio says that the guest house is notable for both its style and its positioning. “The main house is ultramodern—it looks like a spaceship, so the juxtaposition of these two houses next to each other is a little bit crazy,” Diverio says. “There’s only eight or ten feet between them—you would almost be able to jump from one roof to the other.” 

He says that, initially, the guest house was in “pretty rough shape. It wasn’t technically a historic house, but it did have historical significance in that it was a known structure, pretty famous on Miami Beach. The architect and the developer could have knocked it down and gotten rid of it if they’d wanted to. But they wanted to keep it because of the significance of it. They gutted the inside and completely restored all the exterior—all the windows and doors are original, steel-framed glass windows and doors.” All the ornate architectural details, balconies and moldings were restored; the restored exterior columns are so stylized that they make Corinthian columns look severe by comparison. But Dunagan Diverio designed the interiors to relate to the modernity of the main house, so the result is a deft blend of tropical modern and Mediterranean Revival. 

“What we did on the interior was refurbish all the historic details—the handpainted frescoes, moldings, columns and beams,” Diverio explains. “Then we introduced modern furniture and modern built-ins.” Sleek millwork from Italkraft became the backdrop for a wealth of interior columns and arches. And the guest house boasts a wealth of modern amenities: the ground floor contains a spa, a yoga studio and an 820-square-foot gym. 

The upper floor features two master suites that share a central living space and a kitchen. “What’s really cool about those bedrooms is that the ceiling has all the original handpainted crown moldings,” Diverio says. “The original parquet floors were all refinished. We tried to keep as much of the original structure as possible.” The historical context is offset by contemporary furnishings, with pieces from Niba and Artea Home, and fabrics from Romo and Holly Hunt. One bedroom is anchored by a steel-cube Regina custom bed (from Artea Home) in charcoal gray. The rigorously angular bathrooms are even more modern than the bedrooms: the design firm tapped the respected, 40-year-old Bon Vivant Custom Woodworking, based in Opa-Locka, to fabricate bathroom cabinetry; the flooring is Italian porcelain tile. The marble and glassed-in shower, steps from the private balcony, seems to float. 

If there’s a problem with this fantasy guest house, it’s that the guests won’t want to leave. 

You May Also Like

Dolphin Mall in Miami to Open Entertainment Venue Featuring Dining and Hospitality Options

Taubman Realty Group and Live! Hospitality & Entertainment partnered to create Vivo! Dolphin Mall, which will feature 62,000 square feet of dining and entertainment space with an expansive 30,000-square-foot al fresco plaza set to debut this summer. Vivo! will provide a destination for premium entertainment, food, drinks and first-class hospitality in Miami.  “It’s been incredible

Las Olas Wine & Food Festival Returns for 27th Anniversary

The Las Olas Wine and Food Festival (LOWFF) will celebrate its 27th anniversary on Friday, April 21. As one of Fort Lauderdale’s most extensive wine and food festivals, the event will transform Las Olas Boulevard and offer guests the opportunity to sip, sample and enjoy dishes from 40 of South Florida’s finest restaurants and more

Vinya Wine to Celebrate National No Phone Day With Miami’s Top Restaurants

Wanting restaurant guests to enjoy their meal and camaraderie with friends and family, Vinya Wine is spearheading an initiative to encourage patrons to enjoy a sip of wine with friends or family on National No Phone Day. Organized by Allegra Angelo, Vinya Wine partner and sommelier, Tuesday, April 18 has been declared No Phone Day,

W Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach to Host Post Tortuga Party

The Tortuga Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach will bring thousands of concertgoers to the area for a weekend of live musical entertainment. The popular event is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with headliners Eric Church (Friday), Shania Twain (Saturday) and Kenny Chesney (Sunday), each performing for more than 25,000 fans. However, the party

Other Posts

Frost Science Hosts Event Highlighting Guinness World-Record Flight 

Captain Barrington Irving will discuss his historic achievement.

New Restaurants and Additions Wanted for Hallandale Beach Event Series

The lineup is part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which has raised over $37 million for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at FIU.

Barbie-Themed Homeware and Merchandise Pop-up Event Coming to Cityplace Doral

It will allow fans to glimpse the iconic doll’s world in a unique and exciting way.

Inaugural Reserve Cup Coming to Miami

Reserve Padel CEO Wayne Boich and Miami Heat Superstar Jimmy Butler are hosting the event.