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April 3, 2014

The living room

Longtime Miami residents Anthony Askowitz and his wife, Lisa, love to visit local art exhibitions and galleries and dig up unusual finds. “Art and sculpture bring color and energy into a house,” said Askowitz, a real estate broker with ReMax. “We also feel it’s important to support artists close to home.” The couple cast their net wide, snapping up what they like and then figuring out where to put it. Case in point: their living room, where works range from early Romero Britto to late middle-school art class. A painting by a 14-year-old girl, which the couple unearthed at the St. Stephen’s Art & Craft Show, takes pride of place above the mantle—a fact they proudly point out to visitors.

The couple’s love for the unexpected is matched by their eclectic décor. “We like things to be comfortable yet intriguing,” said Askowitz. With the help of interior designer Robin Escalante, they ditched the room’s plain white backdrop. Instead, they painted walls in shades of deep red and pale moss green. Next, after bringing in a neutral-toned sofa and slipper chairs, they enlivened the palette by adding an armchair and pillows upholstered in a madcap print. The pattern references the colors on the walls to establish a pleasing harmony. At the same time, a soft rug with a pattern of fluid, continuous loops strikes a cozy, organic note.

Setting the tone in this room was key, since it’s a central hub with sightlines to the rest of the house. The space also needed to accommodate a pair of beloved objects: a statue of a Buddha (a gift from Anthony’s late grandfather) and Lisa’s piano, which she inherited from her grandmother. The family uses it often, so music resounds through the house. “But I think my favorite aspect of the room, what makes it really special, are the Britto paintings,” Askowitz admitted. “It’s a series based on the three muses, Charm, Grace and Beauty. We have three daughters and they joke about which of them is which!”

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