The moment they saw the expansive, Plantation-style home, nestled within lush, mature trees on their house-hunting journey five years ago, Jose and Heide Dans were smitten. “It reminded us of a favorite house we’ve visited at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. We wanted a resort feel with large indoor and outdoor spaces for entertaining,” explains Jose. The 8,000-square-foot house, built in 2005, had great bones but desperately needed a modern revamp.
The dazzling upgrade began by replacing ubiquitous white marble floors with wide planks of ebonized, Brazilian walnut. “We loved the contrast of dark floors with white we’d seen in St. Tropez,” recalls Heide. Adding substantial crown moldings and tall baseboards was more in keeping with the home’s soaring ceilings and stately grandeur. “It was a beautiful, blank canvas,” she says about the elegant backdrop for their art collection.
“We are passionate about our Cuban roots and collect Cuban art,” says Jose about the works that surround them by Cuban master Cundo Bermúdez, Mijares, Tomás Sánchez, Milian, Kcho, Portocarrero and more. The family room centerpiece is a painting commissioned from artist Humberto Calzada. “We got to select our favorite things to depict the ocean and stained glass from Cuba,” says Heide.
A CONTEMPORARY TWIST
But after the remodeling, the couple, known for their definitive taste in fashion and lavish entertaining, had not found inspiration for the rest of the interior. It was a walk through the Miami Design District that would unexpectedly provide the springboard for the décor. “I saw it in the window at The Rug Company. A showstopper in brilliant, cobalt blue and white,” explains Jose. The hand-knotted Tibetan wool and silk masterpiece is a riff on ancient Chinese porcelain and was designed, not surprisingly, by Rodarte, the high-end fashion label. Like the house, the rug is a contemporary twist on the traditional.
Making bold, creative decisions is not foreign to Jose. He is the exuberant marketing innovator behind Wow Factor, the company he founded with Heide in 2005 as a premiere marketing and event production company, celebrating its 15th anniversary in May. In 2016 it evolved into WOW MKTG, the fastest-growing, full-service marketing agency in thestate of Florida, with clients including the Adrienne Arsht PerformingArts Center, UHealth, Maserati and the Marlins.
The celebrated couple is also well-known in philanthropic circles. They chair various fundraising galas each year and have inspired their family and company to give back to the community, together donating more than $3 million to major nonprofits in the markets that WOW MKTG serves. Prior to co-founding their company, Heide served as Associate Director for Alumni Events at her alma mater, Florida International University, where she produced fundraising events for capital campaigns for then-president Modesto Maidique.
The home, where an outdoor party for 200 is executed as breezily as a cozy dinner for eight, had to have a cleverly planned setting. “Every inch of the exterior is set up for entertaining,” confides Jose. “After so many years of event production it changed how we entertain at home. Our goal is to create a unique experience that’s completely memorable.”
“We knew we loved bright, bold colors, but needed courage to go down that path on a big scale,” explains Heide laughing.
So they tasked interior designer Vivian Mata with the project. “Vivian knows how to achieve an elegant, tropical feel because she designs a lot of homes in Cat Cay in the Bahamas,” adds Jose. Mata was a knowledgeable sounding board for ideas. With aplomb, they chose imported fabrics, upholstery and wall coverings, such as the richly textured grass cloth wallpaper throughout. Travel with their three children, whom they include in many decisions, plays a significant role, whether buying art or adding to the home’s ambience.
A stay at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris inspired them to have a custom fragrance created for their home, while a trip to Capri nailed down the décor for the outdoor dining area, replete with lemon trees and colorful mosaic tiles.
“When I’m home relaxing, away from the hustle and bustle of our hectic life, I feel like I’m at my own private resort with Old World charm and modern amenities,” Heide confesses. “I disconnect and enjoy what to me real life is all about, our family.”