After Surviving Devastating Physical Injuries, Furniture Dealer Paul Adams Relaunches Espacio

Tall and strapping, Paul Adams was a social fixture in Miami, often spotted at SoHo House and on the beach after he launched his Espacio showroom in the Design District in 2013. Born in London to a Brazilian mother and English father, Adams is a global citizen: Sometimes home feels like London and sometimes Ibiza, but he’s spent the balance of the last decade in South Florida, first in Miami and now in Fort Lauderdale, where he uses his home, part of a multiunit compound he purchased last year, as a gallery space.

“I came to Miami and saw the Design District and saw how it was booming and at the time I was traveling a lot to Italy,” he recalls. “My first sales position was global sales manager for my family-run metal sales agency, later becoming president of the company after the passing of my father. I would go to Northern Italy, to Milan, and see all the designs. I got the idea of bringing some European design to Miami.”

For a while, he made a go of it, selling to high-end clients both locally and internationally. Espacio gained recognition through numerous events, showcases and press coverage; it was featured in the Louis Vuitton guide to Miami and Danish Rum magazine guide to Miami, among other publications.

But as the Design District transitioned from a predominately furniture destination to a luxury shopping mecca (dotted with Bulgari, Cartier, Gucci and Hermès), rents became out of reach for many design houses, including Espacio. So Adams closed up shop in 2016 and took his show on the road—to Spain, scoring some major commissions, outfitting the restaurant at the JW Marriott Marco Island and workshare spaces and amenities in the Willis Tower in Chicago. He also worked with designer Virginia Sanchez on Madrid’s Casa Decor furniture fair.

But Adams’ life and career came to a standstill in 2017 when he almost lost his life after a violent domestic confrontation. It’s been a long road, and though he’s regained his strength and muscular build, the physical and emotional scars remain. “I was in a wheelchair for almost a year,” he says. “I was in physiotherapy for almost two years. When I started walking again, I traveled back to London and I refused to use the underground. I walked all over London—I think I did 20 miles in one day. I spend most of the day walking, but I accomplished a lot. Cycling helped a lot as well.”

Act Two of Espacio in South Florida came in fall 2019. “And then, unfortunately, we were hit by COVID-19 and everything shut down, and now I’m starting again for the third time,” he says. His relationship with De La Espada is his anchor; the Portuguese design house, heavily influenced by the arts and crafts movement, was founded in 1993 by Luis De Oliveira and Fatima De La Espada. Given the hot real estate market, Adams believes it’s the right moment for the brand, which features pieces by Jason Miller, Matthew Hilton and Nichetto: “More people are investing in longer-lasting pieces, heirlooms to pass to their children,” he says.

“We aim to target the residential market and its designers during the boom while serving our existing client base of designers that predominately design commercial spaces such as hotels and restaurants,” Adams says. “Our product catalog showcases handpicked and customizable designer pieces that are meticulously crafted, using a range of sustainable quality woods, raw materials and fabrics. The design process is as important as the product at Espacio.”

Adams is seeing more client requests than ever before for customized pieces. “I am assuming they are clients who see something they like and are set on it, not wanting to consider their designers’ suggestions for alternatives,” he says. “Now with the knowledge and contacts I have gained from visiting factories in Europe, I am able to work with factories and able to offer such customization when possible. I see the South Florida market continuing to boom, and as people settle in new homes, demand will match.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.