A Contemporary Palm Beach Home with a British Colonial Feel


Contemporary Pink Bedroom with Bed Canopy

Open and bright, the master suite is private and resplendent. The main feature is a custom bed with a headboard in Quadrille fabric matching the overhead canopy and window shades. Swinging-arm wall lamps by Visual Comfort & Co., with custom shades, offer light along with a pair of Aerin table lamps, all from Hive. French doors open to the pool.

Contemporary White Hallway with Round Pendant Lights

A newly reconfigured hallway provides a revealing view of the master bath, where a freestanding Waterworks tub and a vintage chandelier enjoy a garden view through custom-colored Quadrille draperies. Vaughan pendants light the way as wood flooring from Absolute Hardwood Flooring flows underfoot.

Contemporary Neutral Loggia with Grid Wall

Opening off the living and family rooms, and with close proximity to the pool, the protected loggia is a comfortable gathering place. The gray tones utilized inside are reflected in outdoor furnishings by McKinnon and Harris, all from Hive. A gray grid that matches the home’s shutters functions as a living wall. Ceramic garden stools by Made Goods serve as cocktail tables; the light fixtures are by The Urban Electric Co.

Contemporary White Kitchen with Coral Pendants

Reconfigured to better relate to the family room and improve functionality, the kitchen now boasts a custom cabinet and island system by Image Fine Woodworking & Design, topped with Calacatta Gold countertops fabricated by Haifa General. The pendants are by The Urban Electric Co. and feature custom coral-colored drum shades.

Contemporary White Dining Room with Coral Dining Chairs

The dining room includes a Hickory Chair table paired with formal coral-hued head chairs and lattice-back side chairs, all from Hive. Along with designer Donna Morris, McCann enlisted a decorative artist, Marc Beauregard, to hand-paint the surrounding walls with a replica of a palm leaf motif taken from vintage wallpaper.

Contemporary White Family Room with Red and White Furniture

A visual connection was created between the home’s formerly segregated kitchen and family room, as well as a causal corner breakfast nook, via color-coordinated furnishings. Shipley rattan chairs by McGuire, in a custom-colored Home Couture fabric, join Verellen sofas and a custom tufted ottoman in Romo fabric. The Hickory Chair seating in the nook, from Hive, wear an ikat in coral-and-white by Schumacher.

Contemporary Cream Living Room with Custom Blue Coffee Table

A custom coffee table in the living room provided color inspiration for Lee Jofa’s drapery fabric and tribal accent pillows. The sofas are from designer Sara McCann’s shop, Hive Home, Gift & Garden. A Slim Aarons photograph poses above the fireplace, adjacent to a Carvers’ Guild mirror and a Kindel Furniture Company chest, both from Hive.

Contemporary White Front Elevation with Gray Shutters

An installation of Medjool palms frames, and adds a sense of glamour, to the home’s newly terraced approach. Coral limestone steps, lush hedges and a manicured octagonal patch of grass foster a contemporary feel. The entry door is by Hartman Windows & Doors.

Contemporary Blue Library with Lacquered Walls

As a departure, yet keeping with the same level of chic as the rest of the house, the designers instead chose blue as the star for the more formal living room and the husband’s library; the latter is a modern, Florida-inspired take on the lacquered library Albert Hadley designed for legendary philanthropist Brooke Astor.

Contemporary White Rear Elevation with Gray Accents

To match the home’s newly refined exterior, landscape architect Keith Williams gave the backyard a cleaner, more organized look. McKinnon and Harris chaises sit poolside; the lawn area was inset with pavers leading to the pool stairs. The gardenscape, installed by Lopez Group, features a green, white, light pink, gray and silver color palette inspired by the owners. The pool was refinished by Royal Palm Pools.

The journey of transforming an undistinguished Palm Beach house into the startling beauty that exists today began with the vision of its Toronto- based owners, who saw beyond the outdated exterior and minimal landscaping. “The owners are very style-conscious, with a true love of architecture and interior design,” says Wayne Swadron, brought down from Toronto to oversee the architectural design program in light of his long-standing relationship with the clients. This included reconfiguring the kitchen-family room connection, as well as the master bedroom, library and a powder room. “They’re always re-envisioning their environment,” adds Swadron. “We listened to their ideas and found a direction they could move toward.”

Although the home’s exterior features remained essentially intact, including the stucco finish and shuttered windows (now painted white and deep gray, respectively), and the concrete tile roof, others, such as the entry door surround and transom, were re-concepted. The interior was a different story altogether. All agreed that the space had good bones, but aspects of the layout were awkward and the articulation and finishes left much to be desired. “It was a complete gut renovation of the finishes, the flooring, casings, base and crown moldings, the kitchen, and bathroom plumbing fixtures,” explains designer Sara McCann, who, along with fellow designer Donna Morris, complemented Swadron’s interior architectural detailing of millwork and cabinetry with decorative finishes, fixtures and furnishings. “We tried to interpret the owners’ vision and added our professional guidance and execution.”

With the direction of opening up the house, especially the ground floor, Swadron created better flow between the family room and kitchen through redesigning and reconfiguring the cabinetry and central island. Conversely, he created a greater distinction between other areas. An awkward opening between the main entry hall and an inner stairway, for instance, was closed off to create a more formal sense of entry. “The changes modernized the house and gave it a more transitional feel,” notes builder Timothy R. Benitz.

McCann and Morris’ direction was largely informed by the owners’ intended Florida lifestyle and tastes. “They have a very sophisticated city home in Toronto,” says McCann. “This was to be a true getaway—light, bright and comfortable, with nothing too fragile since they have two young children. We leaned toward a British Colonial feel, but taken up a notch to make it more contemporary and chic.” Beginning with the newly opened kitchen and family room area, the concept was first addressed via a carefully balanced color palette. Coral pendants pop amidst honed-and-mitered Calacatta Gold countertops. Twin sofas at 110 inches long are offset by a tufted ottoman in Chelsea Gray and flowing taupe draperies, and chairs with coral fringe infuse playfulness to the space.

The coloration continues into the dining room and the master suite, where a pale conch shell-colored valance behind the bed stands out against a backdrop of pale
pink walls and accentuates the quiet nature of the adjoining seating area. “We played with texture to lend some interest,” McCann says. “It created a retreat for the owners.” The elimination of tight corridors gave the suite a bright, spacious feel and enabled the design of a new ensuite bath complete with a pair of playful, customized his-and-hers vanities flanking the entry. A custom-patterned mosaic floor defines the space and pulls it together at the same time. As a departure, yet keeping with the same level of chic as the rest of the house, the designers instead chose blue as the star for the more formal living room and the husband’s library; the latter is a modern, Florida- inspired take on the lacquered library Albert Hadley designed for legendary philanthropist Brooke Astor.

Hand-in-hand with the architectural and interiors work came the significant redesign of the home’s surrounding landscape. Out front, landscape designer Keith L. Williams, with the help of project manager Cory Meyer, created a sense of grand arrival, replacing a circular drive and forming an elevated garden entrance featuring a set of striking 35-five-foot-tall Medjool palm trees that pack a punch. In the backyard, Williams removed paving from around the existing pool and created a more contemporary garden, play area and lawn. “The pool seems to float in the grass,” he says. A protected loggia, which McCann and Morris outfitted with handsome outdoor furniture and a living orchid wall, provides space for outdoor gatherings and entertaining.

The team more than achieved their goal of breathing new life into the house and its surrounds. “We took what was a home of wonderful proportion but poor interior configuration and made it relevant and current,” says Swadron. “Going into the old house and stepping into the new house are completely different experiences.”

McCann is thrilled with the result, as well. “Wayne provided a fabulous space to work with,” she says. “The flow from one area to the next is terrific and there’s a nice surprise in every room—a standout detail or something that makes it really fun and adds to the overall feel. Typically, I have one favorite room from a project. Here, I like them all. It’s a happy house.”

—Linda Hayes