Toronto’s Sebastien and Sheila Centner Take On Beach Living in Miami
As founder of Eatertainment Events & Catering, Sebastien Centner’s job takes him around the globe. Whether it be searching for the newest in entertaining and culinary trends to bring to his award-winning events, drawing inspiration for he and his wife Sheila’s TV appearances and their new entertaining website launching this winter, this Toronto power couple is always on the move. This is why when it comes time for Sebastien and Sheila to relax and recharge, they chose somewhere close to home.
Sebastien and Sheila Centner share with us why they chose Miami, and how it fits perfectly with their love of entertaining!
For Sheila and I, choosing Miami Beach was a pretty simple decision.
We have been visiting Miami for over two decades, and what we love most about the city is its variety of offerings. During busy times like Art Basel, we like to do the over-the-top dining and late-night party circuits, which always end with dancing at Baioli, Bagatelle or Kiki on the River. On other weekends, we’re happy to have some down time relaxing on the beach, playing tennis at Flamingo park, or going for a casual bite on Lincoln Road. Whatever the mood, Miami Beach always has what we need.
Back when we started considering buying a vacation property our oldest son Colsen was in his second year at University of Miami, and it looked like his younger brother Logan may want to do the same. Realizing that we would be spending a lot of time in Miami in the coming years, we thought the timing was perfect to invest in real estate that also fits well into our entertaining lifestyle.
My family has owned property in Miami since I was a child, and while they preferred high-rise living, Sheila and I always wanted to find a little spot with tons of charm that we could truly transform into our own. We were looking to create an LA style crash-pad, that was more about the character of the space versus your typical luxury condominium.
We focused on smaller art-deco buildings that, while being full of character, also proved much more challenging to find the right fit. Most of the art-deco residential buildings on the beach were either fantastic inside but on properties that left a lot to be desired, or on a stunning property but lacking the interior space we wanted. Finally, after exhausting almost every avenue, our amazing real estate agent Miltiadis Kastanis of Douglas Elliman found the Metropolis.
Metropolis was the perfect property; it has three buildings, each housing four apartments split between two stories. Luckily for us, a unit had just come up for sale on the second floor. With gorgeous views overlooking both the courtyard and Michigan Avenue, we fell in love with the potential for the unit immediately. Not to mention it’s less than a block from Lincoln Road, one of our favourite walking, shopping and dining areas in Miami Beach.
While I was humming and hawing over the decision, it was Sheila who took one look at me and said, “If not now, then when?”. While we knew the renovation would be extensive, we pounced and, about six months later, had our LA crash pad in Miami Beach!
Our design for the apartment focused on having an open concept with great flow. In Miami we mostly host cocktail parties with light snacks, so we decided to forgo some of the more traditional dining environments to allow us to accommodate more people while entertaining.
Sheila and I have a very specific aesthetic that combines minimalism with unique touches of colour that makes a space contemporary while also being warm and comfortable. We especially love selecting art that has a special meaning to us. Our collection in Miami ranges from oil on wood by Toronto artist Joel Loblaw, to vibrant photography by Australian photographer Danielle Cross. We’ve even included some sculptures by Hörl and Caliber Collection, along with a few black and whites that I’ve taken of Sheila over the years. Each piece has a unique story behind how it came to be in our collection.
Since the apartment itself is only 1,100 sq. ft, reconfiguring some of the walls gave us the open space we so desperately wanted. We also separated the bedrooms at either ends of the floor plan to provide more privacy when we have visitors.
Some other little things we thought of while we were renovating the space: When you enter the apartment, we converted the previous entry closet into an open console that we sunk into the wall. We can hide all our electronics in the base cabinet for a clean, contemporary look, providing lots of surface area that we used mostly to display art. When we entertain large groups, this space can double as a self-serve bar with glasses, a wine bucket and trays of snacks.
Right above the console we placed a TV, but since we rarely have the TV on when guests are over – unless the Miami Hurricanes are playing – we opted to go with a Samsung Frame TV that dims and displays art when not in use.
Small ‘poufs’, effectively little round stools, were added to the living room area for additional seating that can easily be tucked away when not in use.
We kept the guest bathroom right off the main space instead of putting it in the second bedroom so when we entertain, our guests don’t have to walk through a bedroom to access the bathroom.
The kitchen opens up to the rest of the apartment and we added a banquette as an extension of the cabinetry for extra seating that also creates the perfect little nook for catching up on emails. When we entertain, we often use the round table to present crudités or a charcuterie board as it’s close to the kitchen and easy to replenish.
Lighting throughout the apartment is controlled by individual, dimmable switches so we can adjust the atmosphere depending on the time of day. Our Sonos music system is setup in three zones so volume can be easily regulated across the apartment.
There’s nothing worse than having to blast a speaker in one room just to get the volume right in another!
In case you can’t tell from our Instagram, we love capturing moments and, while everything these days is digital, a friend of ours gifted us a Fuji Instax camera that we use to take mini Polaroids of our guests that are kept in an acrylic box on the coffee table. Looking through the pictures always puts a smile on our faces as we remember all the great memories we’ve made in Miami Beach.
Whether we are in Miami or Toronto, we love to entertain and fill our homes with people laughing and having a good time. So, when we first embarked on our Miami project, we knew that a big part of enjoying our time there would be sharing it with friends and family alike. As we say in Toronto – and now Miami – our door only opens inward, so if you’re ever in Miami please don’t hesitate to drop in for a glass rosé!