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KEVIN GRAY’S PENTHOUSE

Kevin Gray, an interior designer whose work has taken him abroad for most of the last two decades, wanted a place where he could settle in and stay put—at least much of the time. He could have chosen New York or Paris as home, but he found his spot in a one-bedroom penthouse in a Miami Beach bayfront building.

“The apartment itself is just a box,” admits Gray, who often moves walls and reshapes spaces for clients. But the box worked fine for his purposes. Instead of taking his “envelope” for granted, Gray turned walls and floors into architectural elements. He removed carpeting to expose a “great 1960s concrete” floor, then sealed and polished it to a high, almost mirror-like sheen. He padded one wall with chenille, covered another in travertine, and yet another in 1970s cork squares. Even the ubiquitous Florida wall of glass is sculptural, with “very Jetsons” drapes of a loose-woven cotton macramé pattern Gray bought 30 years ago.

Much, but not all, of his furniture comes from the post-World War II decades, the ’50s to the ’70s. “My clients always want to know, ‘Does this go with that?'” says Gray, who selects pieces for beauty and utility. “But I like to mix everything up.”

In the living room, he turned two daybeds into a sofa cantilevered from a wall that’s faced in 18-inch squares of honed travertine. An ornate red-lacquered 19th-century Chinese chair (in “as found” condition, since Gray decided “to leave the 20 layers of Diana Vreeland red paint on it”) offers a surprising counterpoint to the assemblage of sleek modern furniture and 1940s René Drouet cross stools from France. The coffee table’s round glass top sits on a propeller-like base (from Senzatempo, a Miami Beach store that specializes in mid-century pieces).

WRITTEN BY BETH DUNLOP FOR METROPOLITAN HOME

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