Brett Sugerman and Giselle Loor founded b+g design inc, a South Florida-based interior design firm, in 2006, with a mission to design interiors that were both innovative and functional.
Now married, Loor, 43, and Sugerman, 53, met in 2001 while working at a design firm. They now collaborate on high-end residential and commercial projects, in Florida, California, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Utah and Mexico.
They’ve worked on several apartments at the St. Regis in Bal Harbour and at the Ritz- Carlton in Miami and are currently designing the lobbies and a model townhome at Giralda Place, a building set to open in Coral Gables in early 2018. The model townhome, the building’s largest, will also showcase the duo’s contemporary furniture line.
We caught up with Mr. Sugerman and Ms. Loor to talk about why functionality matters more than space, why they love a well-designed kitchen, and much more.
Mansion Global: Describe your dream property.
Giselle Loor: Other than adding a couple of spaces in our home, we’re living in our dream. It’s on the water. It’s not too big—just a one-story home that’s light and bright. We recently converted our garage into a home theater, which we adore.
We also have beautiful outdoor space and we’re adding an outdoor kitchen space.
I would probably add another room as an exercise room, but other than that, it’s perfect.
Brett Sugerman: I’d love if we could put our house at the top of a mountain on a lake.
MG: Do you have a real estate property that got away?
GL: So many. I wish I’d bought a lot more property when I was younger, period.
BS: Hindsight is 20-20. We were very involved in the St. Regis Bal Harbour project, and it would have been great to get in on the ground floor. Waterfront in South Florida is hard to make a mistake on.
MG: What does luxury mean to you?
GL: Closet space, and a lot of storage space. A lot of designers don’t think about how people really live, especially when they’re often going from a house to a condo and have a lot of stuff. We pride ourselves on designing spaces with lots of storage space.
BS: Luxury is about what works for your lifestyle and what enhances it. People think of luxurious materials, and lots of space, but sometimes space is misplaced. There can be a misappropriation of luxury. Luxury is simply what makes you happy, and makes you feel like you’re in the right place.
G: What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?
BS: Downtown Coral Gables. Our project, The Giralda, is one of the ones that’s starting to explode. People are looking for places where amenities are at your fingertips, where you can walk to restaurants and shops. You’re seeing more of that even in suburban areas. You’re also seeing a lot of development in Doral. We’ve run out of waterfront areas here in Florida.
MG: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?
BS: There’s all this cross-branding, with luxury brands like Porsche and Aston Martin crossing over into real estate. It’s not surprising as much as new and interesting. It makes a lot of sense.
MG: Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?
GL: Anywhere by the water with amazing views, and views of the mountains especially.
BS: We have a prospective client looking to develop a home on Lake Como, and it’s beautiful.
GL: Monaco, too.
BS: We’re seeing really exclusive projects in remote places, too.
GL: Sustainable living communities are fascinating to me. As much as we talk about luxury, people are going back to the basics of farming and solar paneling.
BS: Piece of mind is the greatest luxury in today’s climate.
MG: What’s your favorite part of your home?
BS: We recently converted our garage into a home theater. I resisted it for a while, but my wife’s better judgment won over. Before that, it was our covered patio outside next to a dock. We call our theater the black hole, now, cause there’s a strong gravitational pull there.
MG: What best describes the theme to your home and why?
GL: We wanted it to feel peaceful and tranquil. For this house we did mostly white. We wanted clean lines, wood floors. We made the windows larger, which brings in a lot of natural light. To me, it feels like we’re living in a cloud. The open floorplan makes it feel larger than its 3,000 square feet.
BS: It’s contemporary with a little bit of a rustic feel, thanks to its proportions. It’s very airy and simple and open, with a lot of beautiful detail. We’re fortunate to have some beautiful artwork, too.
MG: What’s the most valuable thing in your home?
BS: Our kids, our dog and our love for each other. Other than that, we have some significant pieces of artwork, including a beautiful resin sculpture from Frederick Eversley and a Robert Indiana sculpture of the number 9.
MG: What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?
GL: Well-designed kitchens. Even when people don’t cook, people congregate around the kitchen. We’ve been at huge mansions, and people still are in the kitchen.
BS: The kitchen is smack dab in the middle of our house. People are always around our island. An up-to-date kitchen that feels like a living room is what people want nowadays.
GL: I’m also a big fan of integrated appliances.
BS: Efficient space is becoming important. In a lot of mansions, you have these big rooms that no one uses.
GL: It’s true. A lot of our clients are now doing without living rooms, and just doing a family room and a large kitchen. That’s something that’s particular to the U.S.
MG: What’s your best piece of real estate advice?
GL: When it comes to the interiors, don’t go for trendy. Go for clean lines and classic materials, they’re timeless. If you go with something trendy, you need to update it more.
MG: What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?
BS: The weather—global warming and rising tides.
GL: We’ve had clients who were coming here from Canada, and decided not to because of the current political climate.
MG: If you had a choice of living in a new development or a prime resale property, which would you choose and why?
GL: A brand new development, because of how they’re constructed for weather and for hurricanes. The requirements are becoming stricter. You never know what’s going on in an older property until you start opening up walls. That’s what we did.
BS: In new construction, we can customize exactly how we want, assuming you buy in the pre-construction phase. There are also just so many technological advantages.
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