The Stairwell Fix

How One Designer Made Use of the Below-Stairwell Space

By James Broida

February 2020

Maritza Capiro is an interior designer based in Coral Gables who has designed spaces here in South Florida and in major cities across the country. She also had the special, hands-on experience of completely refurbishing – as in gutting to the struts – her own home on Sarto Avenue in the Gables. She also added 2,000-square feet of space, including adding a second story to part of the house and a two-car garage. “It was a double lot, so I also added a pool,” says the designer, who holds a double master’s from FIU, in Interior Design and Interior Architecture.

For Capiro, rebuilding her home was a kind of return to her roots. She originally graduated college with a degree in business, became a general contractor, and with her husband would buy and remodel homes “almost as a hobby.” As an interior designer, “I don’t function as a general contractor, but what I am able to bring to the table is to be a project manager.”

That is exactly what she did with her own home, solving a variety of problems, including what to do with the space beneath the stairs for the new second floor. “This was a whole new area to the home, and became the entrance to the home, which had basically been a cottage. I wanted this to be a multi-purpose area, and to add sorely lacking storage space.”

What Capiro created was a storage cabinet area (behind the white panels), a temp-controlled mini wine vault and a built in wine rack. She used a single slab of marble to surface the area, accenting the wall with two back-lit shelves for liquor bottles. “I decided not to do a wet bar, because the kitchen was in such close proximity. The marble top just created surface space, and it’s good to have that space to put things.”