There’s been soooo much travel and “life” that has happened this summer that I’m not really sure where to begin with resuming my normal blog post. I’ll start by telling you why and updating you all on our move out of Casa Wynwood, the venue in Miami where Boyd and I mentored designers and creatives of all types. Then, later I’ll share why one of us made two trips to Europe this summer and in the midst of everything my daughter Macy graduated and got married in North Georgia. Oh! And then, there’s a new art deco Miami condo that we’ve purchased and still can’t move into. Trust me when I say, there’s a lot that’s happened and most of it entertaining enough to read. 

Of course, with the new condo, I see the need to design every piece of furniture, cabinetry, fabric, and tile, so that part should make for some interesting and fun posts! Before I start with a new design, let’s talk about the now old design, the one that is no longer with us – Casa Wynwood.

Leaving Our Las Vegas Strip Designer Condo

Quickly, to catch everyone up to the point of Casa Wynwood and how we got there, let me explain the “how” and “why”. In May of 2015, Boyd and I packed up our things and vacated our twenty-second floor Vegas condo located on The Vegas Strip overlooking the SLS and the Stratosphere. Leaving behind our luxurious bedroom, complete with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Stratosphere, we were looking for a new adventure. The adventure we got! You know that saying, “Be careful what you ask for!” It’s true. Be careful what you ask for.  Forgive the less than perfect iPhone 3 photos but I want you all to see this view that we had when laying in our Vegas condo bed….

Jason WU

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1812734968549&type=1&l=af9318ca30

Las-Vegas-Apartment-Therapy-Stratosphere

Las-Vegas-Apartment-Therapy-White-Upholstered-Bed

Hello Wynwood Arts District, Miami! Hello Wynwood Lab & Casa Wynwood!

This had been our first home together as husband and wife. We were excited to embark on a new journey in Miami, Florida with lots of support behind us. From ELLE DECOR magazine to over 30 well renowned global brands and some startup brands that had never entered the Americas, we had an idea. The business was an unintentional instant success before we even knew we had a business. When I first mentioned “Wynwood Lab” which was the first name that came to mind when I thought of the concept to a handful of the exhibitors at the 2015 Architectural Design Show in New York City, the loved it. The very next day, people started asking me about “Wynwood Lab”. When the first couple of people said, “we want to know more about your Wynwood Lab concept”, I thought, “who named it Wynwood Lab?” When the second and third person mentioned “Wynwood Lab” I knew we would be fulfilling a need. 

Our concept came easy for us, it was something we had already unintentionally began in our Vegas abode. We would have a nice place, where people wanted to be. In Vegas, this worked until we realized that our tiny condo would hold at most 60 people packed in like sardines. Boyd and I both thrive on helping other brands, people, and businesses. He was staying on the phone way past his time in the office trying to help people. I was doing the same. 

Casa Wynwood, Mentorship Program

Together we decided we would create a mentorship program for designers, architects, builders and the brands that serve them. Instead of meeting in a typical coffee shop or even our condo, we wanted to open a commutative space that would be a concoction of the best of the best products and manufacturers that designers use along with space for them to meet with their clients for coffee and presentations or just work before five or hangout thereafter. The Wynwood Miami venue could also be rented by the supporting brand sponsors or mentor members to host public and private events. Each sponsor would have the opportunity to host and connect with our American Institute of Architects (AIA) and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and other members through events where designers and architects could also obtain their Continuing Education Units (CEU) or credits. Even Decorating Den Interiors designers popped down during their national leadership meeting. 

About Designer & Architect CEU Credits

Each designer and architect needs a specific number of unit credits per year to maintain their status with ASID and AIA. Think of this like your hairdresser or massage therapist is required to go to classes where they learn new techniques so that you have the best-looking hair or get the best message, but with architects and designers what they learn affects every space we enter. It’s so important that by law each building must be planned by at minimum by an architect or engineer and most of those firms hire interior designers and landscape architects to take care of the parts that won’t affect a building’s structure. Boyd and I also saw a way for designers, architects, other artists and creatives that service them to connect to create better projects with original art and handmade furnishings too.

Designing Casa Wynwood

In April 2015, we rented an empty warehouse in the middle of the Wynwood Arts District, a past Miami ghetto going through gentrification. Thanks to Tony Goldman’s vision and his company Goldman Properties, Wynwood was on the rise to becoming an artistic haven. Mr. Goldman was most notable for his artistic, real estate developments. He was instrumental in the development of Miami Beach, Florida, New York City’s SoHo district and 13th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But Wynwood Arts District was different. Everywhere you turn, there were beautiful wall paintings on the sides of warehouses. Entrances to buildings were purposely hard to find. 

Christi-Tasker-Wynwood-Miami-Blogger-Interior-Designer

Boyd and I knew the neighborhood would be a great one. When we leased what would become our new business and Casa it looked like this…

Casa-Wynwood, Miami, Before, Interior

Yep! Plain and boring. People thought we were off our rockers. And by some regard we were. There were no windows, no doors, and no natural light in the space. Only concrete cinder block walls, concrete floor, and fluorescent lights on the ceiling.

Agreed, this looks like the same photo as the last, but it’s not. Notice the scale in the floor; this is where shipment palettes were weighed for the clothing and textiles that were once manufactured in the building.

Casa-Wynwood, Before, Interior, Design

The back of the newly leased space was filled with debris and home to the neighborhood wild cats and overgrown mango trees. 

Casa-Wynwood, Secret, Garden, Before

Casa-Wynwood-Secret-Garden-Before-2

By December 3, 2015, just after the 6pm invitation time, after the last KOHLER faucet was installed, with the help of Beverly Hills design group, Erinn V. Design Group,  we opened the doors of Casa Wynwood to more than 600 waiting Art Basel VIP (Very Important People) guests to the first party sponsored by ELLE DECOR. Thankfully, they all waited in the December Miami 70 degree heat 🙂 Upon their entry, they were amazed that the once fashion manufacturing warehouse had been converted to a 7500-square foot home, garden, and art gallery.

When the visitors first arrived, this is the Red Gate, designed by Nick Alain that they entered through before approaching the Secret Garden, designed by landscape architect and artist David Font….

Casa-Wynwood-Founders, Christi, Boyd, Tasker

Photo Credit: Miami Herald

Maicol Diaz, Casa Wynwood, Artist

Photo Credit: Maicol Diaz – The initial artists for Wynwood Lab included (Left to Right) Mateus Bailon, Miguel Paredes, B. Pila, Dr. Steven Swancoat, Mateus Goulart, By Flower Child aka. Gabrielle Noelle, and landscape architect David Font, Winner of Season 1 – Brother vs. Brother Property Brothers. Not pictured: Erinn Valencich aka. Erinn V., the original space planner & decorator.

Photo Credit: Blueprint 22 | @Blueprint22

Not only was it a fully functioning home, but one with an Italian Superiore Tecnogas gas range and all integrated appliances and the coolest bathroom you’ve ever seen.

Photo Credit: Blueprint 22 | @Blueprint22

Tecnogas-Superiore, Range, Casa, Wynwood

Photo Credit: Blueprint 22 | @Blueprint22

In Casa Wynwood, we wanted to show how wall art could transition for interiors so that artists could diversify. Our PuTTin’ OuT digital media marketing team found wall artist Mateus Bailon and we invited him to work with us on a design for the bedroom; this was his first proposal and it quickly became everyone’s favorite space.

Mateus Bailon, Casa, Wynwood-Wall-Artist, Graffiti, Interior, Design

Photo Credit: Tom Clark Photography

The Original Casa Wynwood Venue Closes Due to Skyrocketing Miami Real Estate Prices

In late February 2018, Boyd and I got a notice that our Casa Wynwood lease was not being renewed and that the landlord wanted us to move the business out as soon as possible. Our lease expired at the end of May and we had both private and corporate events booked until the end of April. As you can imagine, calling a bride to tell her that her wedding venue was closing a month or two before her BIG day? What about calling off an entire film production?  While we were disappointed to learn that real estate prices in Miami’s Wynwood Art District had exceeded the reasonable costs of operating a service business, it was not fair to cause harm to those that we were servicing. The lease amount increased by more than 700% so absorbing the additional rent was not an option. At the time we invested in Casa Wynwood, we trusted the landholder and thought we were safe for at least another 5-7 years thanks to our enormous bill for tenant improvements. Nonetheless, we were not given the option to renew. 

Wynwood Arts District Pre-2015

It was hard to believe how quickly real estate prices had risen but the evidence of change was all around. When we first moved into Wynwood, there were evident signs of the old Miami ghetto. No one in their right mind wanted to be there after dark. There are stop signs that cars still didn’t even slow down for because they were once in fear of being shot and robbed. Cars parked street side was guaranteed to be broken into. What am I saying? Even cars behind gates and fences too. Our good friend, once a neighbor, and one of the first Wynwood Lab artists, Nick Alain saw me carrying my purse and told me not to carry anything of value in Wynwood. He was right! Come to find out…there were purse robberies ALL THE TIME! I took his advice and began carrying money or credit cards in my pocket.

Casa Wynwood Mentorship Program Reaches Global Audience

Considering Casa Wynwood was also a mentorship program where Boyd and I mentored people from Miami and abroad, learning that we had lost our lease was a tough reality.  Members would no longer be able to utilize Casa Wynwood as a home. Out of town designers, photographers, and artists would often schedule shoots or events in Miami and instead of having to time checking into a hotel, they could quickly drop their bags and go to their events or meetings. This convenience would change and while members were disappointed, they were grateful that the mentorship program would continue. We hosted Bombay Artisan Series for Bombay Sapphire and over 30 artists in the Miami region alone! 

Photos compliments of Bombay Sapphire

Starting with Italian manufacturers in February, we began taking the mentorship and consulting advice on the road. Our first stop was in the heel of the boot of Italy, we began advising manufacturers of all sizes principles and best business on entering the United States which keeps them from repeating the same mistakes that other businesses have in the past which can quickly burn through even a large amount of cash.

Wynwood Concrete Is Cut And Dust Flies

After we returned from Italy, we and several mentees were working in Casa Wynwood, and suddenly we all begin experiencing headaches. It took a few minutes until we realized that all of us began to have the same symptoms at the same time. Minutes later, we realized we were surrounded by a cloud of airborne crystalline silica dust (aka. airborne concrete dust). The landlord had decided it was a good idea to start renovating the vacant spaces next door to Casa Wynwood. We could hear the noisy saws cutting something, little did we know it was concrete. When I could barely see the person who was working in front of me, I walked over to the kitchen for a glass of water. That’s when I saw the Cosentino countertops were covered in a sheet of greyish white dust.  Our cleaning helper began to notice the areas that he had cleaned an hour earlier were covered in concrete dust. At that point, we begin immediately vacating The Casa and canceling all appointments, events, and showings out of health concerns for our guest and ourselves.

Concrete Dust Damaged Casa Wynwood Inventory

Every millimeter of Casa Wynwood sponsored furnishings was covered in white dust – from the 50+ yards of white linen draperies to very expensive upholstered furniture. Every nook and cranny of appliances, computers, on valuable art, fashion wardrobes set up for shoots, on the interiors of the cabinets, even the suctioned drawers was covered in dust. There was nowhere the lightweight, the toxic white powdery dust didn’t reach. The moral of this paragraph: Stay away from crystalline silica dust (aka. cut concrete dust) and if you or anyone you know is a construction worker, they definitely need to wear a mask! I can tell you first hand, that this stuff causes major health problems. We’re praying that we do not develop lung cancer from the exposure.

Casa Wynwood Closed

For a little over two weeks, for the safety of Casa Wynwood mentees and patrons, we took OSHA’s website advice and stayed at what is now our favorite Brickell hotel – SLS Hotel Residences. Each day that passed, we woke thinking that tomorrow would be the day that we could safely reopen for business and move back into Casa Wynwood.  Even after six or seven cleanings, COIT recovery services, we were still finding dust when we packed up to move out in late May. And to date, when I go to grab things out of storage, I have to clean dust out of the crevices. 

How To See Photos of My Final Design Installation Casa Wynwood

Needless to say, we are glad to be out of hazard’s way. As of May 31, we have permanently moved out and found a new condo for ourselves, but we have yet to locate a perfect property for Casa Wynwood. We’ll keep you posted when we do. More photos and videos of Casa Wynwood will be coming out in an awesome national magazine at the end of this year if all goes well in the editing department. I will keep you all posted as to which magazine here on P.S. This Rocks. If you want to know more about Miami real estate, and Wynwood specifically – click here to read the Miami Herald article.

 Travel Journey While Our Art Deco Brickell Condo Under Renovation

In June, flew back and forth between Miami and Atlanta, until we closed on our art deco Miami Brickell condo located just next to the Rickenbacker Causeway, aka. the bridge to Key Biscayne. We took up home base in my dad and bonus mom’s bunker so that we could help Macy with the last minute wedding details and be close to Miami while we waited to close. In July, we hopped the pond to Paris, France for business and spent the 4th of July there. After Paris, we spent about three weeks visiting both Boyd’s mum and my mom in Largs, Scotland, just north of Glasgow.

Brickell Miami Condo Renovation Designer

Life Happened: College Graduation, Wedding, Funeral

About 2 weeks after returning from Scotland and two days before Macy’s wedding, Boyd got word that his father, John Greig Tasker had passed away. The Monday after Macy’s Saturday wedding, Boyd flew to Guatemala City, Guatemala to speak at the Visual Merchandising Conference. I was on standby not knowing if I would take my flight to Dallas to visit clients or departing back to Glasgow airport for my father-in-laws funeral. Needless to say, after 9 hours of just trying to leave Atlanta and the back and forth of trying to book, rebook, and make a flight in time for Thursday’s arrangements that were 5 hours ahead of our time zone, I realize it wasn’t possible but I did learn even more than I knew from American Airlines. Fortunately, Boyd made it into Glasgow just hours before his father’s funeral. 

Now, onto brighter occasions! Are you ready?

First, Macy is a far better speaker than her mother – listen to her monumental President of her class speech and see Macy’s graduation and RN pinning ceremony. 

Second, see all of Macy’s wedding day photos and videos – click here. 

How To Get Our Blog Post First

Be sure to subscribe to be updated on weekly blog posts and our Italy, France, Scotland, and other travel photos along with room inspiration from some of the best designers in the world! 

In Closing

P.S. Pardon the long couldn’t begin writing without first updating our loyal friends and readers of all of life’s happenings and explain that you are still on our minds. We have just had a lot to deal with.

Fortunately, Boyd and I are both back in Miami working on our condo renovation. We don’t know if Macy and Alex will finish their house in Georgia or if we’ll finish our 800 square foot condo first. So far they are winning and my dad frequently reminds me of it. Subscribe to our blog posts by filling in your details on one of our postcards to receive email notices when we post new blog posts. Our Instagram feed and Facebook page will both contain behind the scenes information. Don’t worry, we may have to start P.S. This Sucks if things don’t make a turn around – instead we’ll just show the good, bad, and the ugly right here! 

Thank you all for your continued support, good wishes, and prayers.

 

Christi Tasker
Christi Tasker Christi is a fashion-forward, globetrotting, social media marketing queen who is passionate about helping businesses reach their goals and dreams. She’s an innovator and creator who thinks that “the runner-up in the first place loser.” Earning her reputation for exceptional service by always delivering more than expected for her clients is the core of Christi’s nature.

China

Come experience an intoxicating blend of ancient culture and modern chaos! China is a country that’s experiencing explosive growth in virtually all areas of life, from business to art to entertainment. Let us be your guide to one of the world’s most powerful and most populous nations.

Read More About China

Los Angeles

The star power of Hollywood is just one of the things that makes this city great. Incredible history, amazing architecture, and impeccable interior design have also put it on just about everyone’s must-see list. From studio backlots to Rodeo Drive to Highway 1, we’ll be your eyes and ears here!

Read More About Los Angeles

New York

A city of unparalleled energy, the Big Apple is powered by leading companies, world-renowned chefs, and trendsetters of all kinds. It’s also home to 50 shades of black and gray fashion, all in an incredibly creative five-square-mile area. We’ve got the scoop on some of the city’s coolest hidden hangouts.

Read More About New York

Miami

Travel to the most beautiful coastline in the U.S.A. and tap on the Caribbean’s door, soak your appetite for art + food in immense Latin American flavor, and call Havana home; welcome to our home city of Miami and the soaring South Beach vibes. Click to find our local hangouts from Wynwood and throughout South Florida.

Read More About Miami

Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas — other than what we share with you! As part-time locals in Sin City, we know all the celebrity hangouts and secret hideaways. Before you head to Lost Wages (oops – Las Vegas), get insights that will help you have an exceptional experience.

Read More About Las Vegas

Dominican Republic

Home to incredible beaches, pristine coastline, and lavish private resorts, the “DR” is an unrivaled and unspoiled destination. Whether you’re a thrill seeker looking for your next outdoor adventure or just want to kick back in paradise, we can share insights from our many visits to this gorgeous getaway.

Read More About Dominican Republic

Dallas

Go Big or Go Home! Some impressive estates can be found in the Dallas area, but there are also some can’t-miss locations that buck the “bigger is better” trend. We know all of the best shopping, dining, and vacation destinations in The Lone Star State, and we’ll share our secrets.

Read More About Dallas

Scotland

Only one of us here actually understands Gaelic, but we’ve all traveled to this enchanting land. Put on your kilt, pull up your knickers, grab your walking stick, and come along as we tell you where to find the coolest castles, best pubs, and most spectacular scenery.

Read More About Scotland

Paris

The City of Lights is calling your name! Whether you’re interested in great wine, outstanding cuisine, breathtaking art, groundbreaking fashion, or sensational shopping, Paris is your place. Join us for a stroll down the Champs Élysées, a trip up the Eiffel Tower, or a creepy tour through the Catacombs.

Read More About Paris

London

God Save the Queen and please pass the bubble and squeak! From our home aboard in Dulwich Village, we’ve spent countless hours touring London’s storied streets and exploring the best of the UK. From iconic points of interest to hidden gems, we’ll cover everything that makes this city so fascinating.

Read More About London

Atlanta

Christi was born in Georgia and is a card-carrying member of G.R.I.T.S (Girls Raised In The South)! Today the state attracts everyone from business tycoons to Hollywood stars with its deep-fried cuisine, fresh hot biscuits, and southern hospitality. We’ve got the details for you.

Read More About Atlanta

Tell us a little about you – are you a working designer or are you interested in learning about the design?

I’m a designer I’m interested in design

See more rockin people places and fashion from around the world!