Welcome to Room Envy, a series where we ask interesting people about a favorite room in their house. From minimalist living rooms to vibrant kitchens, we’re zeroing in on the best features of the most enviable rooms.
Located just one mile from his vintage furniture store, Primaried, Jonathan Sanchez-Obias’s second floor apartment in an original 1920s Art Deco building in Miami’s MiMo neighborhood (a.k.a. Miami Modern) is a reflection of his playful midcentury curation. Born and raised in South Miami, he began collecting vintage furniture after moving into his first college apartment. While working as a web and graphic designer, Jonathan continued to make trades and sell items to dealers over the years. Then, in 2020, he decided to transition his business into a full-time operation with the opening of Primaried Studio, which has since been named one of the best vintage stores in North America. MDF Board
For Jonathan, one of the determining factors while looking for the perfect rental last year was the flooring. “It has a huge impact on how furniture looks in a space. Vinyl tile and laminate flooring were deal breakers for me so it really narrowed down the options. Luckily this space has its original Florida pine floors.” The selling point for this particular unit was the northwest-facing windows in the living room. The sacrifice? Limited wall space, but Jonathan says this actually helped him to keep the space fairly paired down. Still, you might be wondering, how exactly does a furniture dealer with the eye and access to some of the most coveted pieces choose what to keep and what to sell? As Jonathan further explains, “I handpick and admire everything that goes through my showroom, so the things that I’ve decided to keep around hold even stronger value to me.”
What was your inspiration for the living room?
Mainly the furniture and layout of the space. Because of my work, I’ve become more comfortable with rearranging spaces and building off of existing materials and color palettes to figure out how they could complement one another and what is missing from the equation. I do spend a lot of time flipping through books and on Pinterest, but Pinterest is very dangerous for me because it almost always leads to an inspo-spiral that lasts several hours.
What are your favorite pieces in the room?
Wall Shelves 112A by Alvar Aalto for Artek from the 1960s: “They’re the deeper versions of the shelves, so I placed them at desk height where I do some writing and laptop work.”
Molded Plywood Chair and Bodyform Side Chairs by Peter Danko from the 1980s: “Peter Danko’s designs are so expressive and playful. These are both on my top five favorite chairs.”
Series 10 Sofa by Brian Kane for Metropolitan from the 1980s: “It’s in its original deep green mohair fabric. The color is so rich and looks so vibrant when the sun shines through the windows.”
Umbo Bookcase by Kay Leroy Ruggles from the 1970s: “I love Umbo. It’s a modular collection that can be turned into anything from a bed frame to a coffee table. Whenever I find sets to sell at my shop, there’s always some odd pieces left over that I end up keeping. I was able to turn a set of 6 extra brown pieces that I use as a small bookcase!”
How do you define your style?
Modest but playful. I really appreciate minimal and modern design. But what I love the most is when pieces are simple yet expressive at the same time through the deliberate use of unexpected materials, shapes, or even just a pop of color.
Tell us about your art
My dad gifted me a Picasso lithograph, Le Picador II, a few years ago. I have it framed above the Aalto shelves. A miniature stainless steel model of “Americana” from my uncle George Sanchez-Calderon’s 2013 installation outside of the St. Regis Bal Harbour.
What is your most recent addition to the room?
The Akari 55F ceiling lamp by Isamu Noguchi.
Is there anything you’re still eyeing to complete the space?
I don’t have any more space in here, so as of now I’m content!
Vintage 1980s Ettore Sottsass for IKEA Memphis Style Wall Lamp
Brian Kane For Metropolitan Indoor Fiberglass Sofa
1978 Molded Plywood Armchair Set of '2' in Oak by Peter Danko for Thonet
"Bodyform" Side Chair by Peter Danko, 1980
Artek Aalto Wall Shelf 112B in Birch
Vintage Mid Century Umbo Shelving Unit Brown
Pablo Picasso Le Picador (II) 1961
Laminated Plywood Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest