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Color Play

Key West edge and Miami modernism inform the prismatic design work of Debra Yates and Benjamin Burle.

Mother Debra Yates and son Benjamin Burle at their new design studio in Midtown

City for Display: 

Yin and yang, masculine and feminine, wisdom and innovation, native plants and corrugated metal, and the absence of color hit with bold-hued blocks are just some of the ideas offered by the design studio of Debra Yates and Benjamin Burle. With offices in Key West and now Miami, the mother-and-son team has quickly established a reputation for fluidly uniting interiors, exteriors and gardens, from top to bottom, to create harmony for the eyes and the spirit.

From the hues employed to the textures, lighting and even music, all the elements in a Yates/Burle project are carefully curated to express their creators’ trademark subtropical modernist aesthetic. “We believe in bold and modern spaces,” says Yates, who’s also an established abstract expressionist painter. “This is not the business to call on if you want chintz.”

This approach has served them well. Together, the two have transformed myriad residences and hotels from drab to daring, many in Key West, but their recent Midtown studio opening signals their intent to significantly spike Miami’s cityscape. “There’s so much here that could be better,” adds Yates. “We’re looking forward to doing just that.”

Although on the same page when it comes to aesthetics, Burle does admit certain differences in opinion do arise at times. “We do have different takes in certain instances,” he says, before quickly adding, “but it’s more like a wider range of ideas.”

Said ideas are currently finding their way to a two-story modern abode in Key West’s historic district as well as an oceanfront residence in Miami Beach, which means they’ll continue traveling between the southernmost point and the Magic City... and coloring the road with their bright style along the way.

Yates and Burle’s Hots
Native trees, biking in Old Town Key West,, Venice Biennale, Philippe Starck

Yates and Burle’s Nots
Hedges, clutter, bad lighting, red mulch, beige