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Composite of photos of new house by United Architects in Coconut Grove, Miami

Project 9


This client had virtually stolen the land for almost nothing. Because of this, he was able to spend a substantial amount of money on the actual house. He wanted a house over 4,000 on a 50' x 100' lot. 

​He had actually bought this corner lot from his next-door neighbor who had a large lot and was willing to sell for cash.  He negotiated a great deal because as part of the sale, my client had to add some items, i.e, the sidewalk, that the city required to approve the plat for the new lot created.

​Normally, a small lot can be a problem, but not here in the city of Miami.  Unlike Coral Gables, the City of Miami has very generous zoning and the property had water and sewer.  The house we designed, inspired by many of the early Merrick Coral Gables houses, is over 4,000 square feet.  The side setback is creatively used to accommodate the pool, which sits between the house and the coral rock wall on Tigertail Avenue in Coconut Grove.  The style is commonly known as "Mediterranean" architecture.  This is a more modern, cleaner version than what is typically seen in Miami.

​George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables, had his architects travel throughout the Mediterranean and copy the details of many buildings which were then incorporated into Coral Gables.   This style is very popular throughout Miami.  As Miami architects, we understood the style the client wanted.

The house contains a two-story living room, a family room, a formal dining room, a guest room and bathroom, a powder room, and a laundry room downstairs.  The kitchen and breakfast areas, also downstairs, overlook the pool.  The upstairs has the master bedroom suite which contains a walk-in closet, the master bedroom and bath, and a study.  In addition, there are two other bedrooms and baths upstairs.  The master bedroom has a balcony overlooking the pool and the front bedroom has a balcony overlooking the street. 

The lot had a beautiful, mature tree, so we had to work the design around the tree.  Since it was a corner lot, we had to adapt the existing coral rock wall to accommodate the visibility triangle that is required at all corner locations in the city of Miami.

One of our concerns was having an appropriate entrance which was not overpowered by the double car garage.  As you can see in the photos, the garage has two doors so that the garage does not overwhelm the entry.  It has a more human scale.


As is necessary in all projects in Miami, we coordinated with our subconsultants, the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers.  We followed the permitting process so that we were sure the project was permitted.

Often, potential clients do not understand the planning and building process in Miami, but due to the high winds encountered by structures in Miami during a hurricane, all buildings plans must contain structural drawings with structural calculations submitted to the building department for approval.  The building departments also require plans for the architecture, plumbing, the air-conditioning, and electrical requirements of a house.  In other areas of the country, people go directly to a general contractor to build a house, here they really need to go to an architect first because the general contractor almost always will ask, "Do you have plans yet?"  Nobody in Miami will give you a firm price for a house until the plans are done and approved. 

Some architects are very lackadaisical during the permitting process.  They leave everything to the expedited.  We are not.  We are proactive, pushing the project along.  Because of this, you will get your plans faster and be able to start building sooner.

As you can see from the photos, the project is a very beautiful addition to this neighborhood.  The client was very happy with the results.

If you have a new house you want to design and build, call me, Maria Luisa Castellanos, architect, LEED AP, to begin the discussion on my cell at 305-439-7898.


Corner view of new house by United Architects
Front facade of new house by United Architects


Details of stairs
Column detail at landing on 2nd Floor

If you would like a new house designed, call Maria Luisa Castellanos, the principal of the firm, on her cell at 305-439-7898, or email at

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