March 5, 2015

Michael Dawkins' New York Home and Showroom

Michael Dawkins leads a double life with apartments in both Miami Beach and Manhattan. Both display his signature style of inviting upholstery, quirky antiques, and a trove of great paintings and photography

by Michael Dawkins


When your business is based in two cities and you divide your time almost equally between them, you clearly need two homes. That's the case with designer Michael Dawkins, who owns a glamorous multi-level showroom in Manhattan and one in Miami's Design District. Both his homes more than fill the bill.

Dawkins' Manhattan nest, a 2,500-square-foot, two-bedroom, three-bath co-op in a prewar building in Midtown is darkly dramatic, yet quietly refined, filled with inviting seating and beautiful objects. Most importantly for him, it's just a few blocks from Central Park. "I can't imagine living without a park in the city," he says. His Miami Beach dwelling, in a modern high rise at the tip of South Beach, is also near the green space of South Point Park. The 3,000-square-foot apartment has two bedrooms, an office, and three baths. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in sun-dappled light as well as dramatic waterside views.

One of Dawkins' unusual objects enlivens a hallway in the Manhattan apartment

Both homes are filled with furniture that's mostly of Dawkins' own design. Into that framework he has mixed antiques, great art, and a whimsical assortment of objects, everything from an old English trolley stop sign to a vintage mold for aviation glasses.

In Manhattan, the walls are painted a color he describes as espresso bark; all the upholstery is dressed in Verellen's Chintz Arabica, even the master bedroom bed. At the bedroom windows, Chintz Arabica curtains are edged with eight-inch white linen for a softer feeling.

The light palette in Miami provides a strong contrast to the dark one in New York. But while the colors are different, Dawkins uses many of the same pieces. One of the few brand name items is a Ralph Lauren bed. "I couldn't resist the worn leather," he says.

While living in two places plays havoc with his social life-he never knows when he'll be called to solve a problem in the city he's not—Dawkins is happy. "It suits me," he says. "I like to work a lot. It plays to my free spirit."