Serena Williams

Tennis star Serena Williams’ modern beach home just outside Miami exudes sleek, contemporary energy that comes from large open spaces, clean lines, and minimal ornamentation. Despite its minimalist décor, the house is filled with Williams’ personality in every corner. The design, which Williams created with the help of her sister and former teammate Venus Williams, who runs V Starr Design, is filled with qualities and unique details that belie its clean-lined exterior. Williams tells Architectural Digest how she accomplishes this distinct, unique feel in the home she shares with her husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter. When she bought it, its Spanish Mediterranean architecture required a complete overhaul to fit Williams’ more modern tastes.

The home was gutted and adapted to a more contemporary feel over three years, with large 28-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling windows, a modern pool, an extensive wine cellar, and a sauna. While there are many expectations for a home this size, including things like a formal living room and a media-entertainment room, Williams chose to throw out those expectations and make the spaces more in line with what she wanted to use them for, which included an art gallery instead of a living room and a karaoke room instead of a home cinema. Whatever the size and décor scheme of your home, you too can incorporate some of Williams’ style to bring an individualized and personal feel to your spaces.

Focus on the arts

transparent piano

Serena Williams’ Florida home is filled with craftwork, including a front room art gallery filled with paintings, sculptures, and mixed media art. It also boasts a stunning transparent piano and a stash of electric guitars in the media-karaoke room. Adding so many artistic elements makes for a personalized area, gives the home’s modern interior a gallery feel, and fosters creative energy that permeates every room and every inch of space.

While not everyone has room for an entire art gallery or performance space in their home, consider ways you can create the same energy by incorporating art pieces you love and tools, equipment, and supplies to fill you with creative possibilities. Try a small collection of instruments you want to learn how to play. Or a small display of art in a room by one or various artists. This may be as simple as creating a great gallery wall in your space, via Emily Henderson. Not only will you enjoy it while home alone, but your room will hold great interest for your guests as they peruse your collection and enjoy your efforts.

Room for your passions

karaoke room

One of Serena Williams’ chief passions, outside of tennis, is karaoke. The athlete has an entire room devoted to the performance, complete with a neon sign emblazoned on the wall with the name of her karaoke performance alter-ego Serenade. Guests can take advantage of a well-stocked bar, nearby instruments, lush velvet seats, and a big screen TV that allows the space to double as an entertainment room when no one is singing.

One of the critical things to think about in your home is your passions and how your space can best serve them. If it’s cooking, a well-appointed and functional kitchen is a must-have. If you love to read, consider adding a home library and reading nook. If gardening is your jam, add an attractive outdoor work area or greenhouse to indulge your passion. Your spaces and the things in them should greatly reflect what you like to spend your time doing. According to Boston Apartments, even a tiny space, like a corner devoted to hobbies, is enough to carve out an area that reflects what you love.

Flexible spaces

art gallery

When designing her space, Serena Williams tells Architectural Digest that instead of a formal living room she would never use, she opted for a space that displays her extensive art collection. Its presence makes an immediate impact upon entering her home, but doesn’t exude the formalness of a traditional living room that would be sitting unused most of the time.

With many modern homes designed with formal living rooms in addition to the more intimate family or multi-use spaces, this is a great way to adapt that extra room to your needs and spend more time in it. As it’s often the first space guests encounter, it can also be functional. Consider housing collections and artwork there to their best advantage, or create a library or study in which you will want to spend time reading and working. No rule says you have to use it as a living room.

Personalized touches

trophy case

Serena Williams’ elegant trophy room features two large facing banks of shelves holding nearly two decades of memorabilia and awards. Her more intimate office space down the hall is lined with blown-up covers of her appearances on the cover of Vogue and Vanity Fair. These personal touches are essential in a house, particularly one with such an austere modern and minimalistic feel. They save the space from feeling cold and impersonal while being aesthetically beautiful.

While we’re not all tennis stars with loads of trophies, find ways that you can add personal touches to your space, whatever the décor. This might be a small gallery wall of photos, souvenirs, or a display case with your trophies, diplomas, and awards, via Top Inspired. Collections and souvenirs shouldn’t be hidden in a drawer but shown off to their best advantage. While Miami’s beachfront is undoubtedly filled with modern, luxury homes, perhaps, only Williams’ contains her collection of awards and memorabilia from her career. Find ways to make your home unique, whatever the scale of your collection.

Unexpected elements

bookshelf door

Serena Williams tells Architectural Digest that she most relishes the unexpected touches in her home. These include 3D textured wallpaper in the hallway, a bright neon sign in the karaoke room, and a chair made out of stuffed Elmos in the gallery. This secret bookshelf door into another room is as quirky and novel as the abstract and surrealistic art that decorates the space, and it also adds a functional nook to her book collection. Not only does Williams’ living room function as a gallery, but the rest of her home, even its more functional spaces, hosts several elements that make each room a work of art.

Find ways in your home where you can incorporate unexpected things in otherwise traditional spaces. This may mean introducing stunning colors, textures, or unique accents like neon signs and dynamic, bold art. A great strategy is to begin thinking about your room and what one might expect to find there and then choose anything but the common elements.