Sandra Diaz-Velasco And EOLO A&I Design Break Barriers In Penthouse Renovation

Sandra Diaz

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Sandra Diaz-Velasco, Principal Architect of EOLO A&I Design, tackles a nearly impossible penthouse renovation with stunning results.

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 1Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

Gazing out the window of her client’s Sunny Isles Beach penthouse, architect Sandra Diaz-Velasco of EOLO A&I Design, immediately recognized the challenges she and her team would face. Despite the sweeping views of the sand and city, the space seemed enclosed and dark. The ceilings felt too low, almost like the unit was an afterthought when the original developer topped off the skyscraper. And then there is the geometry. Due to the curvature of the building’s structure, the layout was poorly defined and there was no sense of continuity throughout the rooms.

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 6Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

Yes, this would be a major challenge. But fortunately for Diaz-Velasco, she had a solid relationship with her clients from Ohio and the couple blessed the architect’s ambitious plans to execute a total gut intervention of the space. Including a full interior architectural redesign and renovation, she would leave no inch of the penthouse untouched by her talent, including building custom structures to mold and stretch the space within the existing skeleton. And that is exactly what she has developed a reputation for in Miami and beyond—a talent for crafting structures and spaces using a holistic approach and what she calls “emotion-driven design dialect.”

Diaz-Velasco began her career in Colombia, her home country. After relocating to Miami, she worked with Taylor & Taylor Partnership in Miami Beach, further developing her versatile background in architecture, interior design, art and product design. Since 2008, Diaz-Velasco has run her own firm, EOLO A&I Design, where teamwork and artistry are paramount values of her practice. The firm’s philosophy is based on respecting the client’s needs and dreams and doing so in a way that is creative, surprising and cutting-edge.

“We had to overcome these challenges through innovation, integration, preservation, and communication,” says Diaz-Velasco. “The owners trusted us to approach the project in a contemporary style.”

Building on a relationship she had with the couple, Diaz-Velasco approached the project with next-level dedication and an acute attention to detail. “This relationship helped with the inspiration for the design and that’s what made this project so special,” she says.

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 3Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

To gain foundational inspiration for the demolition and then the grand rebuild, the team reviewed personal pictures of the couple’s everyday life including a striking photo of their granddaughter and a horse. “That’s how we kicked off the color palette for this project,” says Diaz-Velasco, who talks about a fervent adoration of her own grandfather’s passion for detail, craftsmanship and artistic expression. As a young girl growing up in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, she would spend hours watching her grandfather carve wood, everything from dining room tables and beds to intricate living room sets. “He was so talented,” says Diaz-Velasco. “And that’s where my own inspiration began.”

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 4Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

Tapping into her childhood memories and the personal relationship she had with her clients, Diaz-Velasco and her team began the rigorous process of transformation with the mantra, “we communicate emotions with a holistic approach.”

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 2Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

Beginning with the heart of the home, the team moved and redesigned the layout of the kitchen, redistributing the space to allow for a more expansive living area. They custom-designed an island table to allow for the couple to entertain guests in the kitchen, as well as a new dining room and cozy breakfast nook. They built a custom bar to frame the entrance, also encouraging ample entertaining and evoking a sense of hospitality, an important point for the clients. Transforming an old office that was adjacent to the kitchen, the team built a new bedroom, which created more space for the couple to host family.

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 5Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

In a hallway, Diaz-Velasco commissioned a sculpture and added a chandelier to serve as an artistic welcoming piece. Completely transforming the main bedroom from top to bottom, the team re-proportioned the suite to create an office with living room access. They custom-designed all woodwork and millwork, including new wood paneling and privacy doors. Building a spa suite with vanity, freestanding tub and steam shower, they combined the original closet and bathroom into one large space. “By removing the original closet wall, a window now floods the area with natural light,” says Diaz-Velasco. “And the wall treatment around the window echoes the ocean view.” She then fully automated the penthouse with smart technology for lights, drapes and audio, giving it that much needed modern approach.

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 8Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello

After the big reveal, the clients were overjoyed. “It felt like a great accomplishment,” says Diaz-Velasco. “Not only were they amazed by the outcome, but I was also really proud of my team for going above and beyond. Thinking outside the box has its advantages.”

eolo A&I Design Feb2021 7Photo Credit: Kris Tamburello


  • Type: Penthouse
  • Location: Sunny Isles Beach
  • Interior Architecture & Design: Sandra Diaz-Velasco, EOLO A&I Design,
  • Construction: Sanandres Construction,


  • AHT Global Lifestyle Technology: Smart technology installation,
  • Anima Domus: Bed in Bedroom 1 (African Art),
  • Belt: Custom Metal Screens at Living TV Built-in bedroom screen to the bath and Master Bath Chandelier,
  • CFA Design Group: Flower arrangements and greenery? Yes throughout,
  • Clima Home: All balcony, Lounge chair, Loveseat, Chairs, tables, and exterior planters,
  • Consentino: Kitchen Countertops, Living room Gabana Marble Accent Wall, bathroom vanities, Master Bathroom, Vanity Island and Toilet Room,
  • Delta Light: Architectural Lighting throughout,
  • Gloster: Round area rugs,
  • Modloft: Bedroom 1 (African Art) Lounge Chair,
  • Morada Haute Furniture Boutique: Guest Bedroom, Custom built-in design by Eolo Design and executed by Morada. All Living room, dining chairs, breakfast room table and chairs, barstools, Master bedroom nightstands,
  • Ornare: Kitchen Cabinets, closets, and vanities throughout,
  • Qom Wood Design: Master Bedroom wood paneling and headboard,
  • The Rug Company: Living room and Master Bedroom,
  • The Wallpaper Station: Wallpaper throughout,
  • Twill & Texture: Wallcoverings throughout,

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