We’re back with a new guest tastemaker for some quick-fire questions and a mini-curation of some fab Chairish finds!
This week, we are joined by San Juan and Miami-based interior designer Juliette Calaf of Juliette Calaf Interiors. A native of Puerto Rico, Juliette studied advertising and interior design in the States. She and her husband moved back to Puerto Rico in 2000 when she began designing commercial and residential spaces for family and friends. Through word of mouth, her business grew, becoming the go-to interior design firm in San Juan. With 20 years of experience in her back pocket, she expanded her business to southern Florida where she opened a second office in Miami. Working in two different countries, Juliette’s firm is busy, efficient, and accessible.
Throughout her designs, Juliette prioritizes breezy, livable interiors with casual curation—a product of the airy and tropical environments of San Juan and Miami. She layers collected treasures—both new and old—to create free and easy spaces.
Read on to learn about Juliette’s personal collections, and why she thinks the San Juan and Miami interior design aesthetic have so much in common.
How would you describe the quintessential San Juan interior aesthetic? How about Miami?
San Juan and Miami interiors are very similar in style. They both integrate the indoors and outdoors seamlessly through airy spaces and lots of open views of lush green tropical and ocean landscapes. Homes feel organic and textural with nods to natural elements, while incorporating vibrant pops of color. Natural wood is also a key element throughout. The homes always feel well curated as clients value and treasure art and other collectibles, but they still maintain an easy, livable feel.
What is the most memorable career moment you’ve had so far?
As a designer, there are so many memorable moments. The unveiling of each and every project during install and seeing how all of the months of preparation come to life is my absolute favorite. It feels like I’m unwrapping a beautiful gift every time and I am always ecstatic about the result. The best part is that I get to have this experience over and over with each and every project we complete.
What is the most outstanding design element you’ve ever incorporated into a space?
One of my favorite vintage pieces we incorporated in a client’s home was a Curtis Jeré wall sculpture. Our client had inherited several important Mid-Century pieces and this sculpture really brought everything together.
What is the coolest vintage piece in your house?
My vintage Vogue magazines are an all-time favorite! I have been collecting them for years. I have a total of 5 now and each is in perfect pristine condition. The full editions are lovingly framed as an art piece. They are from 1936, 1937, and 1938—back when artists illustrated the covers and all of the pages. Such an art form. They hang in my bedroom where I can wake up and see them every day.
Do you collect anything?
Wow, it is so hard to pick just one thing. I am a collector to the core. I collect art and sculpture—a home without them just never feels complete. Coffee table books on design never fail and I have a ton! I am constantly referencing them for projects or just because. I also collect vintage jewelry—one of my favorites is a necklace by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel that I bought in Paris. All my vintage necklaces hang on a vintage wooden saint sculpture that I got from an old church in Mexico. And don’t get me started on silver and fine china! I absolutely love throwing dinner parties and I use everything—mix and match. Oh, I also love my WWI leather trunk inscribed with the soldiers initials!
Collecting makes me happy. It fills my soul. It makes my home what it is and shows who I am and where I have been—it’s a visual representation of my history. This is something I incorporate in all of my designs. At the end of the day, personal history is what breathes life to the vintage pieces.