Opp-en Spaces – Chad Oppenheim



Designing the interior for a Colorado vacation home finds inspiration in a Japanese idea of perfect imperfection.

Miami architect and interior designer Chad Oppenheim is a frequent “go to” for the writers of the Home section of the New York Times. Just this past May, a house he built in the Bahamas at Harbour Island was a featured story. The same New York Times writer, Elaine Louie, visited Oppenheim’s second home in Aspen, Colo., for an On Location article in 2012.

These are Oppenheim’s second homes. Whether he’s designing a place that is not a primary residence for himself or he’s selecting interiors for a client, he says he takes a different approach.

Pg64_FIM_InteriorsChadOppenheim_1.2“Because I’m an architect, too, I believe that every project should speak of its place and of its location. Working on houses all over the world allows me to really capture the essence of place. It happens in the architecture, but also in every detail of the interiors.”

When he designed his second home in Aspen, Colo., a home built in 1971, which he purchased in 2008, Oppenheim was drawn to the complete contradiction that the environment offered in opposition to his home in Miami.

“The Aspen chalet has 300-year-old local wood that has been used on the inside and the outside — everything there is a bit more rustic and textured versus our home here which is essential and refined.” Oppenheim says the house was inspired by the Japanese idea of “wabi-sabi” meaning “art of the imperfect.”


The Oppenheims’ (his wife, Ilona and two children, Hendrix and Liloo), second home contains objects that Chad says wouldn’t fit in with the feel of their Miami Beach house.

“Your second home is a place to escape. It’s a place where things you have gathered from your travels remind you of vacations and leisure time. The objects inside our Aspen home are a bit more carefree.”

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