In Miami

The First Couple of Stonegate: Sasha and Gordon Stula

Sasha and Gordon Stula in their Coral Gables home. Sasha’s blouse and skirt by Just Bee Queen, pendant and rings by Sevan Bicakci at Miami Design District, boots by Hermès; Gordon’s shirt and pants by Tom Ford and jacket by Theory at Neiman Marcus Coral Gables. Photograph by Nick Garcia.
Sasha and Gordon Stula in their Coral Gables home. Sasha’s blouse and skirt by Just Bee Queen, pendant and rings by Sevan Bicakci at Miami Design District, boots by Hermès; Gordon’s shirt and pants by Tom Ford and jacket by Theory at Neiman Marcus Coral Gables. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

You never know where you will meet your other half. For Sasha and Gordon Stula, that place happened to be a hair salon in Moscow. Sasha’s friends ran an outpost of the world-famous TONI&GUY Salon, and she stopped by for a party they were hosting at the shop. Gordon, who was in town on business for his cosmetics-distribution company, had ducked in for a trim of his voluminous hair.

With a smirk from ear to ear, Gordon recalls now the moment “she walked in wearing an evening gown and sat next to me. We started chatting. The rest is history.”

Fifteen years of marriage and four sons later, the Stulas look back on it all with pride and joy from the plush, white-linen couches in their living room. The comfortable room — like each one in their sprawling, nearly 12,000-square-foot home — is tastefully dotted with items the family has accumulated on its travels and is bathed in loads of natural light. A montage of contemporary works by Cuban artist Kcho prompts conversation, and everywhere you look you see modern luxuries living harmoniously among historic beauty.

Gordon Stula in his home's living room, which is bathed in natural light and features extra-high ceilings. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

A Unique Sense of Place at Stonegate Manor

The Stulas’ home, Stonegate Manor, is tucked within the gated Stonegate community in Coral Gables’ exclusive Ponce/Davis neighborhood. Built in 1923 for Oliver Sollitt, a retired Chicago building contractor and legislator, the home is unique for its elaborate coral-rock facade, which completely envelopes the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom manse.

Miami-Dade County designated it a historic site in 1981, and the home’s former owners completely renovated it at the turn of the 21st century. Famed Miami architect Charles Pawley handled the face-lift, staying true to the home’s original design. Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea crafted the property’s lush greenery, soaring palms and protective hedges.

Sasha and Gordon Stula's Coral Gables home is featured in the cover story of INDULGE's 2018 Home & Away issue. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

A Family That Invests in Family Time

When the Stulas moved there from Brickell Key almost nine years ago, they were less interested in the home’s size or historical significance than in proximity to good schools for their boys. The family makes the most of its time together — Sasha and Gordon and their 16-, 10-, 9- and 7-year-olds — by taking cross-country road trips or just staying local. Nothing makes them happier than catching a movie or going to the beach on Fisher Island. Sasha said they love ambling around Wynwood for the “simply enjoyable” experiences of walking, people-watching, grabbing a coffee. They also love Marky’s Gourmet Market off of Biscayne Boulevard, rummaging through the refrigerated shelves of epicurean delicacies.

This couple is as unpretentious as they come. They’re the kind who quietly donate to charities, not the the kind who yearn to be photographed at every black-tie gala. Yes, they vacation in the Hamptons. But they’re likely to arrive there in an RV (OK, a very nice RV) that they’ve driven from Gordon’s childhood home in Milwaukee.

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Sasha’s coat by Dries van Noten at Neiman Marcus Coral Gables, jewelry by Girls Dream, boots by Dr. Martens; Gordon’s shirt and jacket by Etro at Neiman Marcus Coral Gables, watch by Ikepod by Marc Newson. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

From Kiev to Coral Gables

They take pride in the small things in life that they consider to be luxuries: throwing a football with their boys in their meticulously manicured front yard, or hosting a BBQ for a select group of friends who are like family. While Gordon frequently travels internationally for business, when he’s home he volunteers as an assistant football coach at his sons’ school.

Gordon has long considered Miami his home, and he persuaded Sasha, who is from Kiev, to live here with him. At Stonegate Manor, their shared interests in travel, family heirlooms and global art are apparent in the home’s show-stopping interiors, which Sasha designed.

The state-of-the-art chef's kitchen is Sasha Stula's favorite part of her home. She wears a jumpsuit by Just Bee Queen, necklace by Girls Dream, shoes by Topshop. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

She put her personal touches on everything from the home gym to — her absolute favorite — the professional-grade, state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen. It’s where the Stula clan has shared countless family meals, holiday feasts and homework sessions. Sasha has lent her eye for design to close friends who have pleaded with her to work on their homes and offices. “I was self-taught, but they trusted me,” she said. 

Gordon’s sweater by Tom Ford at Neiman Marcus Coral Gables. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

Classic Design with Modern Touches

Besides her design work, Sasha also curates her husband’s wardrobe, preferring the Italian men’s shop Artigiano located near Merrick Park and bespoke clothier Seize sur Vingt in New York City. A similar local-meets-international aesthetic permeates Sasha’s closets.

Jacket by Just Bee Queen, dress by Derek Lam at Neiman Marcus Coral Gables, earrings by Fl-o-wen, rings by Sevan Bicakci at Miami Design District. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

“My mother was my fashion inspiration,” Sasha said. “I was raised in Soviet times, when there was a lack of possibility, but she was always creative. She was classy and stylish. I was also inspired by Vienna and the time that I lived there before I met Gordon.” That explains her fondness for jewelry from Girls Dreams, a luxury boutique in Vienna. She also shops vintage whenever possible, and lately she’s been supporting Just Bee Queen, a collection of up-cycled pieces by Cuban-born, Miami-raised founder Maria Strauss. “I love her one-of-a-kind deconstructed clothes,” Sasha said.

Gordon credits Sasha for wearing many hats yet still having a sense of humor that’s necessary in a household full of boys. They both acknowledge that laughter and good communication are vital to keeping life in perspective. “When we lie in bed and talk, it clears any slates,” she said.

Agreeing with this, Gordon goes back to complimenting his wife, then he attempts to define her overall style. He lands on a description that also fits their extraordinary Stonegate Manor, the home they’ve made and filled as partners: “a blend of classic and modern mixed comfortably together.”

Stonegate Manor. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

Editorial Credits

Words by Erin Michelle Newberg

Photography by Nick Garcia

Photography Assistance by Ricardo Mestre

Wardrobe and Styling by Elysze Held

Styling Assistance by Dani Parets, Samantha Torres and Elisa Ramirez

Hair and Makeup by Gustavo Berroeta

INDULGE_Cover_1Gordon and Sasha Stula on the cover of INDULGE's 2018 Home & Away issue. Photograph by Nick Garcia. Gordon and Sasha Stula on the cover of INDULGE’s 2018 Home & Away issue. INDULGE

Related: More great content from INDULGE’s 2018 Home & Away issue