I have been insanely lucky this year in finding myself in amazing destinations at the same time of incredible showhouses and art exhibitions. There is nothing better than seeing the talents of other creatives to expand one’s owns minds and stimulate new ways of imaginative thinking. The Kips Bay showhouse is the like the Oscars for our interior design profession. For the first time in 45 years, the organization did a Palm Beach iteration of the showhouse which supports the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. The Honorary Show House Chair is Bunny Williams and the Design Chairs are Ellie Cullman and Pauline Pitt.
Villa Belmonte is the home of this year’s showhouse in the El Cid neighborhood. The 1920s Meditteranean Revival house is the perfect backdrop for 20 insanely creative designers to showcase their talents. I was delighted to see so many favorite designers as well as beloved old and new design friends participate in this year’s first Palm Beach showhouse. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of an annual design event. Click HERE to get tickets before the house closes on December 19. Enjoy the tour….
Dining Room: Amanda Lindroth
Painted in the most quintessential Palm Beach colors — pink and green, of course — Amanda Lindroth’s dining room takes its cue from the “Orchid Houses” (or “Slat Houses”) traditionally used by Florida’s grand households and hotels to grow and display the delicate flowers all year round. Trellis from Accents of France adorns the walls, while Phillip Jeffries silver tea paper (below the chair rail) “adds a little sparkle,” says Lindroth. The high-low mix of furnishings (like the dramatic Liz O’Brien plaster chandelier paired with Ikea wicker chairs) enhance the “found” look of the room. “We wanted it to have an aged patina, like we just had to dust it off, add a crisp white tablecloth and some new orchids,” Lindroth explains.
Vestibule: Ellen Kavanaugh Interiors
Designer Ellen Kavanaugh describes her eclectic foyer as “Old Florida meets Emilio Pucci in the 1960s,” combining rustic Southern touches (unpainted bamboo, straw hats, a taxidermy deer head) with vibrant colors, midcentury lighting and a banquette inspired by Gio Ponti. The most notable element, though, is the tropical decoupage covering the walls, which Kavanaugh designed in collaboration with artist Phillip Estlund. The bright pinks and blues of the flowers are echoed in the fabrics, trim and paint used in the seating nook. “I wanted something that would make people smile and feel energized and excited,” says Kavanaugh. “A show house gives you the opportunity to have a lot of fun!”
Breakfast Room: Christopher Maya (Christopher Maya Associates, Inc.)
New York-based designer Christopher Maya put his own spin on trelliage in the Moroccan-inspired breakfast room, which also features a dramatic upholstered ceiling, custom bookcases and lacquered walls. “When you have a small room like this you can be a little more adventurous,” says Maya, who chose elements of white plaster — the lantern, table and chairs — as foils to the glossy, saturated green and orange hues. “I was thinking of the people who live in this house as people who travel a lot, perhaps through North Africa or Europe, and are certainly very worldly,” Maya explains of the tent-like room’s far-flung influence. “It seems like a fun place to start your day.”
Kitchen: Matthew Quinn (Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio)
Afraid of mixing metals? With its brushed gold Kohler faucets, brass light fixtures, polished pewter-trimmed range hood and stainless steel Viking appliances, Matthew Quinn’s “Palm Beach glam” kitchen will inspire you to take the plunge. Other standouts include the jewel-like La Cornue range (in Quinn’s own custom-designed “Quintessential Teal” — it’s his favorite color, he says) and matching Pyrolave lava stone island extension. The countertops, by Cambria in the Annicca Matte finish, are white quartz with gold flecks that pick up on the room’s metallic theme. Instead of doing a wood ceiling, Quinn opted to use a pendant light fixture from Natasha Baradaran that throws a graphic pattern when lit. “It does the same sort of thing as a wood ceiling, but it’s more glamorous,” says Quinn.
Family Room: Philip Gorrivan (Philip Gorrivan Design)
“I wanted the story to be more about modern luxury than classic Palm Beach,” explains Philip Gorrivan of his “soggiorno,” or day living room. Gorrivan chose a mix of unexpected textures (the sofas are covered in cashmere from Gorrivan’s own collection for Baker, while faux fur stools flank a console table) to go with the more traditional canvas and sea grass. “Everyone associates tropical with linens and cottons, but I think there’s a place for wool fabrics, they’re soft and tactile and luxurious,” he says. The walls are covered in hand-painted tropical canvas panels from MJ Atelier in Los Angeles, while the ceiling fixture, a midcentury find, evokes palm fronds. “It’s the kind of room where you’d curl up on the sofa barefoot in your bathrobe in the morning and read the paper,” Gorrivan says. “I actually almost fell asleep sitting in one of the chairs!”
Living Room: Susan Zises Green
Neutral walls (painted in Chalk White from Benjamin Moore, one of the show house’s sponsors) provide the canvas for a colorful living room designed by Susan Zises Green. “To me using white walls was ‘new’ again … there is a freshness about it,” she explains. “While the predominant colors in the room are indigo, light blue, white, purple and lavender, I also added some pillows in Benjamin Moore’s Caliente which is their color of the year 2018.” The flat weave rug adds to the room’s Anglo-Indian sensibility, while custom-made white plaster palm trees (which can also be purchased through Green’s firm) bring the outdoors in.
Stairhall: Michael Cox and Mary Foley (foley&cox)
The Yves Klein blue of Michael Cox and Mary Foley’s stairhall provides an immediate punch, but it isn’t the only standout element. Inspired by “Isabella Stewart Gardener in Marrakech,” the design duo added a canvas flower installation by an artist named Ben Langford and a bubble-like light fixture from Apparatus. The bench picks up on the flowers’ bright fuchsia petals.
Laundry Room: Michael Cox and Mary Foley (foley&cox)
Foley and Cox turned the laundry room into a retreat for pets, nicknamed the “Den Domestique.” “Wanted it to be a little jewel,” says Foley of the bright pink and orange color scheme. (The custom wallcovering comes from Holland and Sherry, while the sink and fixtures are Kohler.) The designers asked their Instagram followers to send pictures of their own favorite pets, which ended up as part of an art installation on the wall. The opposite wall features prints of another beloved animal: Babar the elephant.
Corridor: Michael Cox and Mary Foley (foley&cox)
Moving into the hallway, Foley and Cox used another standout wallcovering — a Holland & Sherry raffia custom-painted with bold blue and white brushstrokes — to add whimsy to a more traditional shell mirror and black bamboo bookcase. “The room has reflections of Palm Beach with the shells and bamboo, but it’s a little more unexpected,” Foley says.
Library: Stephen Mooney
Stephen Mooney, a Palm Beach native, took on the house’s library, combining prints in warm colors to create an inviting den
Junior Bathroom: Chris Drake (Bierly-Drake Associates)
Chris Drake of Bierly-Drake Associates turned to the queen of chic, Coco Chanel, when designing the house’s junior bath. The black papered walls, console and toilet (Kohler’s high-tech Numi model) are offset by mirrored paneling and gold accents
Master Library: Caroline Rafferty Interiors
F0r the master library, Caroline Rafferty infused classic Floridian flair with a global eccentricity inspired by the Ottoman Empire. The Rug Company’s new Thistle Gold rug, designed by Vivienne Westwood, adds high-fashion flair.
Master Sitting Room: Lisa Erdmann (Lisa Erdmann & Associates)
Bright yellow (Benjamin Moore’s Sunbean 328 in Aura Matte) plays nicely with punchy pastels and pop art in Lisa Erdmann’s sunny sitting room
Study: Austin Handler and Jennifer Mabley (Mabley Handler Interior Design)
Austin Handler and Jennifer Mabley’s study soothes the mind in tones of blue and grey
Master Bedroom: Robert Brown Interior Design
Antiques meet contemporary art in the master bedroom, designed by Atlanta-based Robert Brown.
Bedroom Suite: Roric Tobin for Bradfield and Tobin
The bedroom suite transports visitors to Italy in the swinging ’60s with a lucite bed frame, bold pops of turquoise and graphic shapes.
Powder Room: Michael Stornello and Tom Konopiots (Vincere, Ltd.)
Trendy pale pink goes extra luxe in Michael Stornello and Tom Konopiots’ powder room, featuring a hand-painted de Gournay wall covering on silver gilded silk.
Stair Tower: Sara McCann, Jenna Conte and Ashley Warren (McCann Design Group)
The whimsical stair tower from Sara McCann, Jenna Conte and Ashley Warren of McCann Design Group pulls in Florida’s lush greenery and blue skies, while grasscloth walls add texture.
Garden & Loggia: Fernando Wong (Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design)
“With any project, I like to say that the architecture is the picture and the landscape the frame,” says Fernando Wong, who used Villa Belmonte’s 1920s Mediterranean aesthetic to help guide his garden design. The seating area is outfitted with Brown Jordan furniture, sculptures and rugs from The Rug Company’s Perennials collection (launching 2018). “The use of traditionally indoor elements like rugs and art create a cohesive design that offers visitors a glimpse at what they can expect inside,” explains Wong, adding, “To me, outdoor living is the ultimate luxury.”
*Professional images and text via House Beautiful. Candid shots by me.
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