A Contemporary Palm Beach Abode Filled with Modern Furnishings

Details

Contemporary White Living Room Area with Modern Details

Bold artwork and sculptures modernize the corner of this South Florida home's living room.

Contemporary White Entry with Bold Artwork

In this South Florida home's contemporary entry, guests are greeted by bold accents and accessories.

Contemporary Cream Living Room with Custom Graphic Sofa

One section of the L-shaped living room includes a custom sofa by designer Vance Burke, redressed with Schumacher’s silk ikat, and a pair of custom chairs wearing a gray Perennials textile from David Sutherland in Los Angeles. The white ottoman, also designed by Burke, is covered in Edelman Leather cowhide and provides extra seating when needed. A vintage Byzantine mosaic holds court above the sofa.

Contemporary Cream Living Room Seating Area

Elsewhere in the living room, Designers Guild chenille, from Osborne & Little in Los Angeles, dresses Burke’s custom chairs, which boast pillows in Dessin Fournir fabric from Kneedler Fauchère, also in Los Angeles. Treasure Coast Trim put in new sliders to allow in natural light. Janus et Cie furniture sits poolside

Contemporary Cream Living Room with Custom Graphic Sofa

One section of the L-shaped living room includes a custom sofa by designer Vance Burke, redressed with Schumacher’s silk ikat, and a pair of custom chairs wearing a gray Perennials textile from David Sutherland in Los Angeles. The white ottoman, also designed by Burke, is covered in Edelman Leather cowhide and provides extra seating when needed. A vintage Byzantine mosaic holds court above the sofa.

Contemporary Cream Study with Custom Sofa

In the study, a custom sofa gets comfortable alongside a 1930s French straw marquetry coffee table with a gilded-bronze base. Above the custom table and chairs is a painting by Claes Oldenburg and a Jean Royere sconce that Burke acquired in Paris. A Calvin Fabrics textile, from Thomas Lavin in Los Angeles, fashions the draperies.

Contemporary White Dining Room with Custom Table

The dining room is anchored by a custom Burke-designed table and chairs. The console is a vintage 1930s Jules Leleu design with a lacquered top by Katsu Hamanaka; it was acquired through Alan Moss in New York and serves as a foil for a painting by Robert Goodnough and a red stool by Murray’s Iron Works. Another David Weeks Studio chandelier further modernizes the space.

Contemporary Cream Kitchen with Seating Area

Interior Designer Vance Burke’s design is also about textures, seen in the kitchen backsplash from Hagan Flynn in Los Angeles as well as the limestone fireplace. The kitchen countertops are by Caesarstone; the barstools are by A. Rudin and feature a custom wood finish and Edelman Leather hide. The stainless steel of the Sub-Zero refrigerator contrasts with the rift-cut white-oak cabinetry.

Contemporary White Living Room with Grand Piano

A circa-1929 Steinway & Sons grand piano awaits its player in the living room beside an artwork by Alexander Calder and floating shelves holding some of the client’s antiques. The chandelier by David Weeks Studio is one of several placed in common areas for a unifying modern feel.

Contemporary Pale Blue Master Bedroom with Custom Barrel Chair

In the master bedroom, a custom barrel chair and ottoman in Larsen silk form a cozy spot for repose; behind them is a vintage 1940s French gilded-bronze floor lamp by Raymond Subes. Artworks are by Francisco Zúñiga, Bele Bachem and Robert Henri.

Contemporary Pale Blue Master Suite with Custom Bed

The master suite includes a custom bed lined with a Rogers & Goffigon linen-velvet on an overdyed patchwork Turkish kilim rug, with vintage Venini bedside lamps from Donzella in New York. A vintage 1940s chair, also from Donzella, is upholstered with a Donghia fabric and pulls up to an antique desk attributed to Fornasetti. Artworks are by Zúñiga, above the bed, and Claude Venard, above the desk.

Although homeowner Carol Cohen has lived in a variety of high-end residences throughout New York and Florida, including the renowned Two Swans Farm in Wellington with its extensive equestrian stables, none of them has felt truly like a home until it has been “Vance-ified,” as she calls it: envisioned from top to bottom by longtime friend and collaborator Vance Burke. She initially met and worked with the Los Angeles-based designer nearly 20 years (and about five projects) ago, and “from that first project to this one, we have just clicked,” she says. “You know when somebody’s really original. That’s Vance for me.”

After her husband’s passing, Cohen was ready to downsize but not to walk away from a lifetime of collecting art and furniture or from her love of all things equestrian. So she decided to relocate with her teenage daughter, Rebecca, to the Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club in order to be near her horses. A contemporary house built in the 1990s, with its high ceilings and alluring pool, stood out to her among the Tuscan and Spanish-looking architecture, and Burke’s firm went to work to bring the interiors into the 21st century. “Carol and I have a certain kind of shorthand, having worked together for so long,” Burke says. “What’s unique about the relationship is every single time it’s a completely different look in a different location.”

While an array of larger windows and skylights were added to the house to bring in natural light, Cohen and Burke set about selecting furniture and art from her collection. Cohen had saved her belongings from the larger homes and rented a warehouse where everything could be unpacked so that she and Burke could wander through, almost like a personal museum. Although Cohen said she now leans toward contemporary design, she and Burke chose for her new home modern furnishings as well as classic pieces by French furniture designers such as Jean Royere and Felix Agostini. Also added to the mix were a selection of artworks by such masters as Alexander Calder and Claes Oldenburg, and antiquities from China, Egypt and Italy. “When we started editing down, we were able to plug in pieces that not only fit physically but also create a collection that tells a story about her past and is cohesive at the same time,” Burke says. “Yes, it’s eclectic, but there’s an evolution of her sensibility and mine.”

Despite the furniture and art’s pedigree, or perhaps in part because of it, the intent was to create a series of intimate, casual spaces for gathering, no matter the situation. “We deflated the formality,” Burke explains. “There’s no sense of trying to create something that is formal and informal. Realistically, everyone wants to feel good whether they’re wearing jeans and by themselves or having a cocktail party with many guests.” Bold textures and colors give the house a subtle sense of youthful exuberance.

The first challenge was how to configure an L-shaped living room, which Burke and co-designer Todd Peter made into a number of different seating areas. Near the kitchen and the floor-to-ceiling glass terrace doors, for instance, a quartet of burnt orange Burke-designed custom chairs wraps a custom coffee table upholstered in white cowhide that can double as extra seating. In an adjacent sitting area, a sofa reupholstered in a boldly patterned fabric sits beside a 1929 Steinway & Sons grand piano with a pair of custom-designed club chairs.

At the same time, the designers unified these seating areas, as well as the combined and open living, kitchen and dining areas, with modern elements, seen in strikingly angular chandeliers, and with textures. “We like to create a vocabulary of materials and use it throughout the house in different ways,” Burke explains. “I find it creates a sense of environment.” Distressed white-oak floors from before the redesign were retained and paired with darker kitchen cabinetry in a similar wire-brushed treatment, and the nearby fireplace was clad in chiseled limestone.

In the master bedroom, “Carol really wanted a touch of color and softness, which we achieved with a soft shade of celadon,” Peter says. “Overall it’s serene and restful.” A custom bed and an Italian glass chandelier give way to a mirrored chest of drawers and a vintage desk attributed to Fornasetti.

“I call it my little jewel,” Cohen says of the house. “I’m as happy in this home as anywhere, and in many ways happier. And people love it. You go in, and you’re transformed. That’s what Vance is able to do. The homes are really comfortable. I can’t ever imagine doing a home without him. Once you’ve been Vance-ified, there’s no turning back.”

— Brian Libby

More from Luxe...