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Finding the right house for U of M’s Dean of Architecture

June 30, 2015

P R O P E R T Y   S E A R C H

R E S T I V O – H E C H T M A N    T E A M

Finding the right house for any buyer can be (and often is) challenging …   This  one was unquestionably a challenge,  but worth every single minute.   It took almost a year to find.   And truly, it was such an honor and such a joy (not to mention, quite the education) to get to work with the incoming University of Miami’s Dean of Architecture, Rodolphe el Khoury … Here is a photo of the house,  found in the archives of Coral Gables … a treasured sliver of Miami.   This one-of-a-kind cottage was the perfect ‘find’ for U of M’s Dean of Architecture. 1513_Siena_Ave_photo_c1949 After scouring new construction & high-rises in Brickell… lofts downtown… cottages, bungalows in South Miami, Coral Gables  and Coconut Grove…  modern architectural masterpieces which spanned much of Miami …(and after numerous serious purchase options)  I  had the sneaking suspicion that this house just might be ‘the right one’….   And it was.    It’s a piece of Miami … with  history …  impeccably updated … superbly renovated …  with  taste and finishes that go beyond “refined”.   And each and every update preserved the innate beauty of the home’s original construction.  The search itself was quite the education – and one I’ll cherish! “Exquisite Spanish Italianate Mediterranean design” is how it was described.  And as far as location, it’s a stone’s throw from UM’s main campus.


It could easily have been the type of renovation project Chip and Joanna Gaines might have have taken on,  transforming and restoring this home on  HGTV for their series “Fixer Upper”.  This house was actually restored to perfection by it’s previous owners  – and no, it wasn’t part of any HGTV renovation .  But the quality and beauty of it reminded me of Joanna Gaines’ phenomenal restoration projects. The detail work and moldings which created the arches over the fireplace in this home were hand-done by the seller, and the cabinet doors hiding alcoves on either side of the fireplace were taken from an antique piece of furniture, and repurposed.


When this cottage came on the market, even before we were able to see it in person, my gut feeling was that it could well be  ‘the one’ !  ….  1513 Siena Avenue …  Built in 1928,  this Coral Gables house has been called  “Il Piccolo Castello”.   And when it came on the market, it needed nothing other than landscaping.   New impact windows and doors had already been installed.  The original solid wood flooring had been beautifully refurbished.  The home had two tastefully updated baths, a fireplace (intriguing focal point as well as a statement piece),  a stunningly redone white-toned gourmet kitchen (unquestionably the heart of the home) … high ceilings … majestic, original interior doors….  and extraordinary finishes…  Everything was painstakingly restored with an incredibly refined hand  …. AND, it was located within a stone’s throw of campus and the school of architecture ….  They say  it’s merely a matter of finding the right buyer for each house … and the right home for each buyer…..   Well, this was (and is) the perfect home for this buyer.


The old photo above comes from the archives of Coral Gables City Hall,  courtesy of UM’s architectural historian, Professor Richard John.  It was taken in about 1949…  and sent to the buyer while we were negotiating his purchase.  The home is still  recognizable from the  exterior …  and on the inside it is truly magnificent and perfect in every way .

Looking to buy, sell or relocate?  We would be honored to help you make your next move.

Contact the Restivo Hechtman Real Estate Team at EWM Realty Int’l    …   Vicki Restivo 305 793-1365  and Alexandra Hechtman 305 632-0164  RestivoMiami@gmail.com. This post was written and published with the permission of the new owner ….

Blog & Website: www.MiamiRealEstateCafe.com


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