February 23, 2014



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As the dateline on this blog is Palm Beach, I thought I should share an insiders view of this fabled enclave.  
It's always fun to hear people describe Palm Beach - the art, theater, music, food, shopping, beaches - and, of course, the ridiculously wealthy residents. Yes, there's a shit-load of money here; each street is identified by the Hedge-fund manager, aged movie star or exiled empress who lives on it.  
Then, you hear each sub-sect's impression of the town...  
"It's too WASP'y, it's too Jewish, it's too tatty, it's too flashy" and so on.

For Example
This is what the average American thinks of as Palm Beach
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This is what most young people think of as Palm Beach
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This is what really old people think of as Palm Beach
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This is what the WASP's think of as Palm Beach
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This is what the Jews think of as Palm Beach
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This is what the gays think of as Palm Beach
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This is what straight people think of as Palm Beach
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This is what the Latino's think of as Palm Beach
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This is what Europeans think of as Palm Beach
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This is what West Coast people think of as Palm Beach
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This is what dogs think of as Palm Beach
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This is what the nouveau riche think of as Palm Beach
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This is what the Mid-westerners think of Palm Beach
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This is how Down-and-out Duchesses think of Palm Beach
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This is what I think of as Palm Beach...
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Yes, there are definitely Palm Beach 'Team Colors!'
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Truly, Palm Beach is the ultimate melting pot of America.
With it's diversity, Palm Beach has some of the most extraordinary interiors you could ever imagine - which explains why the most brilliant stars in the interior design world have homes here, it's the perfect place for an aesthete to repair and be inspired!

For Example....
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(Source: Part-time resident and designer, Celery Kemble)
This courtyard is not unusual in Palm Beach, in fact it's typical.  Privacy, lushness and "tropical elegance" are the rule

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Campion Platt)
So many people think there's no contemporary in Palm Beach, which is dead wrong...there's lots, but its good, quiet and architectural - not like Miami Beach - schizophrenic and flashy.

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Kelly Klein)
Could you just freekin' die?  
I'm sure you assumed this was Laguna or Montauk, right? 
Nope, right here in Palm Beach!

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Larry Laslo)
An early 20th century "Bermuda style" bungalow is twisted into a groovy, up-dated look - with no formality - just an easy, breezy feeling.

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Michael Formica) 
One of the great interpreters of 20th century design renovated a mid-century condominium and made it feel 'period appropriate' whilst making it feel fresh - and super cool. 

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(Source: Resident and designer Jennifer Garrigues)
This is the former home of John Kluge, where I'd been a guest many times. The feeling was very low-key and yet quite elegant, like an "old-world" plantation.

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(Source: Seasonal Resident and designer, Tom Samet)
An eclectic melange of found objects and period antiques mixed with modest and precious textiles provides a sophisticated "life-well-lived" feeling.

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Jonathan Adler)
New Jersey cul-de-sac meets Hollywood glam....and it works!
I think most of the mid-century modern furniture sold in major urban ateliers is from grandma's old Palm Beach place...

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(Source: Part-time resident and designer, James Michael Howard)
Palm Beach's glorious old Mediterranean architecture is often overshadowed by arrivistes hideous interpretations of Iberian Royalty, but not here; this inviting, low-key, comfortable room blends European style with tropical elegance into one smart look.

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(Source: Resident and designer, Joseph Paul Davis)
When I first moved to the area I had to have the "Palm Beach look."  Which for me was a melange of antiques from my Washington home, but lightened-up with pastel pink and white linen upholstery. The zebra and coral are common denominators in most PB interiors. 
I have since redecorated....
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(But that's another story)

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Bruce Bierman)
Bierman deftly blended early 20th century furnishings with 19th century artworks - giving the feeling of a swanky London flat along the Thames instead of a Palm Beach penthouse overlooking the Atlantic.  

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(Source: Seasonal resident and designer, Geoffrey Bradfield)
Clearly, Art Deco and other extraordinary periods have usurped rattan and white-painted wicker in Palm Beach. 
In PB its either "fun" or it's "elegant."

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(Source: Seasonal resident and fashion designer, Lisa Perry)
How much fun is this???
It feels easy-breezy and yet the 'modern masters' art elevates it to the stratosphere!

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(Source: Part time resident and designer Aerin Lauder)
Her grandmother (Estee Lauder) had this grand home on the ocean for decades and now the new Lauder generation has redone it quite simply (with Thad Hayes help) to an old-Florida look with deco antique rattan and bright blue and white porcelains.
"Old Palm Beach" becomes the "New Palm Beach"

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(Source: Resident and designer Scott Snyder)
The local carriage trade loves Scott Snyder for his "Old Palm Beach" style.  Always right on the money with perfect traditional taste.

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(Source: Resident and designer Allison Paladino)
Cool color is often a keynote in most Florida interiors. 
Happily the British Colonial taste has usurped the over-used Mediterranean.  Palm trees, rattan and tropical accents make seasonal residents feel like their in their Palm Beach home, not the East Hampton one...

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(Source: Part time resident and designer Brooke Aitken)
With an over-abundance of sunny days providing super clear light,   pale, bleached interiors are very effective for implying restfulness and calm.

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(Source: Seasonal residents and designers, Aman-Carson)
The Pompeian Villa is a practical style for here, it's elegant, classical and timeless with the deep loggias and peristyles for getting out of the sun yet still being outdoors.

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(Source: Resident and designer, Lars Bolander)
European designs work quite well in Palm Beach as we have many international residents, and most Palm Beacher's are very  well-traveled too, so incorporating European designs and elements only seems de rigueur 


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(Source: David Kleinberg)
A typical loggia, but done quite well - with restraint. 
Notice the cypress ceiling, articulated arches and coral-stone floor - ubiquitous in PB, but always chic!

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(Source: Aman-Carson)
A typical Palm Beach "Regency" gets a contemporary makeover. 
The room is well-designed and kept simple to allow the art collection to take precedence. 

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(Source: Marshall Watson)
In this handsome room the antiques are blended seamlessly with a pale palette making the room feel 'smart' and updated.

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(Source: Robin Weiss)
This bright interior would look a bit garish in Greenwich or Kansas City, but here in Palm Beach, it's spot on.

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(Source: Unknown)
I love this simple, yet stylish loggia. The Indian folding screen on the wall implies an exotic feel whilst the trees and green upholstery blur the lines between the garden and loggia. The tan tones recede and simplify the ensemble.

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(Source: Thomas Britt)
In this ocean side condominium Thomas Britt has carefully mixed various periods and styles of furniture with a 'happy' palette; the result is a light, restful and elegant room. 
Definitely not Bubbie's old condo...

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(Source: Mario Buatta)
Buatta's layered look is popular with Septuagenarians. It's dependable, pretty and livable. His use of floral chintz's with pops of color works especially well in the tropics.

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(Source: Estee Lauder's family home by Thad Hayes)
Estee's old traditional dining room got toned down, pared back and enjoys a hot new palette - gray and white!  Not your typical PB colors, but as you can see - it's chic as shit!

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(Source: Mario Buatta)
Another pastel mash-up demonstrates Buatta's mastery of color for the tropics. Seaside nuances, florals and lots of details are what PB is about.

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(Source: James Michael Howard)
A successful mix of high-tone English Regency antiques in a semi-formal room, but notice the tone is successfully brought down with slipcovers, cotton carpets and sepia-toned tropical wall murals. 

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(Source: Unknown)
PB residents usually have a good design budget, so there's a lot of custom painting, murals and faux-finishes - not usually the garish kind, but handsome appropriate ones. The bad faux marble and leopard-lounge crap is left to the arrivistes and their McMansions.

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(Source: Nancy Morton)
If you're a 3rd-gen Palm Beacher, this is probably your look!
An old, super-comfy mixture of antiques, and not-so-antique pieces. 
A room unaffected by trends is always a successful room! 

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(Source: Meg Braff)
This may look like granny's pergola - but you know you want it!

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(Source: David Kleinberg)
The new PB look is about clean and transitional, blending traditional with contemporary - the old-timers resist, but it's here and it's awesome!

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(Source: House Beautiful)
This is the 'formulaic' condo scheme for PB rental apartments. 
Monochromatic, shell prints, bourgeois blue, cheap tables, etc., etc. Pretty, but lacking in personality or originality. 

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(Source: Joseph Paul Davis)
I recently 'flipped' this 1928 Spanish Revival house. After removing all of the phony Mediterranean style "improvements" I articulated the mouldings in 'espresso' to match the dark floors; the white walls kept the house bright. The furnishings were modern with some ethnic pieces to create interest. 
Proof that "less is more"

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(Source: 3rd Strand)
Indoor-outdoor living is a part of Florida life. Palm Beach has the best weather in ALL of Florida, we're almost always in the upper 70's in the winter. Many houses didn't have heating at all until they introduced central air in the 70's.

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(Source: Miles Redd)
Fantasy is also a part of Palm Beach, leave all your troubles and stress with your snow-suit up north and surrender to a blissful "dream state-of-mind." 
Imagine - lunch in a tented room, swimming in a Moroccan garden, throwing down a few mojitos in an Japanese tea house, getting laid on a mega-yacht...it's all possible here....

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(Source: John Stefanidis)
The lost city of Atlantis has nothing on Palm Beach! 
We must have more coral and shells in our homes than the entire Ionian Sea!

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(Source: John Stefanidis)
One of my favorite rooms, it absolutely typifies Palm Beach design!
Natural light, soft colors, natural textures, airiness, strong materials and an indoor-outdoor feeling. 
A casually elegant lifestyle!

You Can Do It, I'm Here To Help!

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