Nina Johnson-Milewski and Daniel Milewski were looking for an old house in Miami with its character still intact. “We didn’t mind putting in the work,” says Nina, owner of Nina Johnson Gallery in Little Haiti. After a year’s search and a tip from her mother (Nina grew up 40 minutes away), they found this five-bedroom 1928 Craftsman-style cottage in Shorecrest that sat on a full acre of land (rare in Miami) and was originally built by a man who had 13 children. The couple didn’t touch the house structurally, but they did a number on it inside and out. They painted the exterior lush shades of guacamole and ripe avocado. Nina explains, “We tested out some darker colors, but they were too heat-absorbent. And plus, once the foliage grows, the house will sort of just disappear into the land.”
The house is equally colorful inside, where the focal point is the living room, anchored by a large Chesterfield sofa that’s covered with cushions from Guatemala and a side table designed by Katie Stout, one of the artists Johnson represents. (She works with young furniture designers like Stout and Emmett Moore, in addition to more established artists like Jonas Mekas and Betty Woodman). “Our lives are filled with artists and their wildest projects and ambitions,” Nina says. “There is no separation between what is art and what is life for me.” As for Daniel, an artist, musician, and songwriter who also works as a professional cabinetmaker, his handiwork is everywhere: from the cabinet-bed he designed for the laundry room (which doubles as the nanny’s room) to the record credenza in the living room. The one part of the property the couple significantly reworked was the pool area. “It was so overdone,” Nina says. “When we moved in, there were mosaics inspired by the movie Titanic.”
*This article appears in the April 17, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.