A Home with a Modern Art Makeover


Born Again in Palm Beach

Beloved art and furnishings discover new life as a Palm Beach house undergoes a modern transformation.

For the interiors, “We wanted to keep the whole house real soft and let their art and accessories and interesting pieces of furniture stand out,” interior designer
Rod Mickley says.

Moorish Mother of Pearl Mirror with Red Accents

Mickley and the wife also did a lot of shopping. “She has a great eye and knows what she wants,” he adds. “Each piece was lovingly handpicked. It wasn’t, ‘Find me a coffee table.’ Every piece had to be blessed.” 

A Moorish-style mother-of-pearl mirror from
Jalan Jalan Collection is one of several decorative pieces that help enliven a sleek contemporary interior from one side of the living room. The custom console from Holly Hunt features a top by Gregorius Pineo and shelters a Christian Liaigre bench.

Large Arched Windows with Pops of Red in the Living Room

Great Plains draperies, fabricated by Draperies of Palm Beach, add elegance to the living room, which also includes a reupholstered Holly Hunt sofa with accent pillows in Christopher Farr Cloth’s Ravenna fabric, a Christian Liaigre coffee table, a Holly Hunt daybed clad in Baron Leather hide, and wood-framed lounge chairs also from Holly Hunt. A Patterson Flynn Martin rug grounds the setting.

Art and Custom Shelving Feature in Gray Living Room

Clean-lined interior details such as subtle wall paneling and white-painted ceiling beams and classical moldings are common throughout. The artwork also adds pops of color, seen in the yellow and orange tones in the Fonseca painting above the living room replace and a vibrant collection of Robert Kuo ceramic pieces on the living room coffee table and shelves. 

An oil-on-canvas painting by
Caio Fonseca from Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco hangs over the living room fireplace, beside the owners’ collection of Robert Kuo vases on a custom bookshelf. The clients’ existing lounge chairs were reupholstered by K & F European Upholstery using Great Plains fabric.

Lime-Washed Wooden Cabinetry with Marble Island

The interior of the house is defined by a simple yet elegant gray-and-light-toned color palette, particularly seen in the creamy marble floors extending throughout and the cabinetry treated with a lime wash that appears in the kitchen as well as in shelving for the living room and bar. “Everything kind of flows,” Mickley says of the surfaces. “We didn’t frequently change materials, which would distract you from what’s happening.” 

The kitchen showcases lime-washed cabinetry by Lucia International and
Sub-Zero and Thermador appliances from House of Appliances. The marble-clad island and Silestone quartz countertops were fabricated by Pacific Stone and Tile; the Dornbracht faucet is from Next Plumbing Supply. Dennis Miller Associates stools wear Holly Hunt Leather’s Stingray hide. The Hennen Solo light fixture is by David Weeks Studio.

Dining Room Filled with Incredible Art and Red Chairs

Indeed, the homeowners possessed a first-rate art collection and were downsizing from two houses to one, which meant there was much to repurpose. “What’s happening” is a showcase for that art collection—a variety of the owners’ paintings, photography and ceramics, including works by masters such as Alexander Calder (a watercolor painting in the living room and mobile sculptures throughout) and Richard Serra (a five-panel painting in the dining room), as well as acclaimed contemporary artists the likes of Caio Fonseca, Donald Baechler and Marilyn Minter. The owners regularly attend art fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach as well as galleries in New York and Miami to augment their collection. “Part of the task was really to let the architecture be calm and quiet so the art could be properly displayed,” says Moor, who worked with project architect Austin Dingwall on the architecture. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the homeowners’ love of fine art and sculpture, the interiors also make ample use of dramatically shaped lighting fixtures, such as a Lindsey Adelman chandelier over the dining room table with a variety of clear and opaque glass orbs. “To me that’s a sculpture. That was the first piece we bought for the house,” the wife says. “I had to have that.” 

The architect framed the window with a decorative panel that lends a more streamlined nod to the home’s Mediterranean origins. BDDW’s dining table and chairs gather below a Lindsey Adelman chandelier. Jiun Ho’s buffet from Michael Taylor Designs perches beneath a photograph by Christopher Beane, and the Richard Serra paintings on the opposite wall join an Abigail Simpson sculpture from Ralph Pucci International.

A Cozy Family Room to Unwind and Relax

The family room provides a cozier place to relax, with the sofa’s cushion reupholstered in Great Plains fabric and Jiun Ho chairs from Michael Taylor Designs. They rest atop a Stark rug along with a Caste coffee table from Holly Hunt. Christian Liaigre floor lamps flank the sofa and a Ron Ehrlich painting from Stephen Haller Gallery in New York.

Covered Loggia with Orange Accessory Pops

It wouldn’t be a Florida house, however, without outdoor spaces, and this home includes a large covered loggia just off the family room that gives way to the pool area. Outside, working with builder Paul Wittmann, Moor kept the Mediterranean style but streamlined its form to be more of a modern interpretation than a neo-historic caricature.

The covered loggia off of the family room includes
Janus et Cie’s Tosca seating and Chrysanthemum drum table in Marigold. Newly appointed curved brackets line the overhang beyond. The loggia opens onto the remodeled pool and lawn terrace.

Classic Florida Exterior with Lap Pool, Palm Trees, and Lounge Area

Landscape architect Warren McCormick reduced the width of the pool in order to provide a more comfortable proportion while still allowing for lap swimming, which resulted in the expansion of the lawn court. New plantings join preserved palm trees and small local plants to create a monochromatic look of greenery that supports the owners’ request for simplicity. But just as the artwork adds a punctuation of color inside, the fruit trees and raised herb garden provide color in the yard (not to mention fragrance and good eats). 

McCormick shortened the width of the pool but maintained its length for lap swimming, thanks to
Royal Palm Pools. Aiello Landscape preserved choice plantings, and new decking by Palm Beach Cast Stone creates the hardscape. Janus et Cie chaises sit under an umbrella by Santa Barbara Designs. French doors are by Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork, installed by Palm Beach Window & Door.

Sitting Room with a Bold Ambiance

A sitting room off the master bedroom enjoys a bolder ambience. The owners’ existing Elizabeth Garouste chair from Ralph Pucci International and a Roche Bobois sofa were both re-covered in velvet by Kirkby Design; they join a Holly Hunt table on a rug from Jalan Jalan Collection. The Marilyn Minter photograph was acquired through Baldwin Gallery in Colorado, and the Cloud shelf system is from BDDW.

Superb Silver Powder Room with Chandelier and Dark Cabinets

The powder room, featuring the homeowners’ chandelier from Wyeth in New York and a vintage mother-of-pearl mirror, boasts Alison Berger Cylinder sconces from Holly Hunt and a Phillip Jeffries hemp wallcovering. A Duravit sink from Next Plumbing Supply pops against the wood of the vanity by Lucia International.

Master Bedroom with Fluffy Chair and Rose Art

The master bedroom includes Gregorius Pineo’s four-poster bed from Holly Hunt, Cassina’s 836 Tre Pezzi chair in Mongolian wool, a Doris Leslie Blau rug, and a bronze bench designed by Ingrid Donat that the owners purchased at Barry Friedman Ltd. in New York; cushions were reupholstered in Création Baumann fabric from Jeffrey Michaels. The Tusk table is by Baker, and the bedside table is from BDDW. A silk screen by Donald Baechler adds a dash of color.

When designer Rod Mickley and architect Peter Moor were hired to renovate a Mediterranean-style house in Palm Beach, they knew it would require a total interior transformation. “It was an overly ornate Mediterranean, almost gratuitous,” Moor remembers. “Both the interior and exterior were a little bit overdone.” 

Not only was the four-bedroom house’s interior too kitsch for its new owners, with its cherub-and grapevine-painted ceilings, but the ceilings themselves were also disjointed: some too high for a room, others too low. In fact, Moor and Mickley’s clients had wrestled with whether the house—which was in an ideal location—could be salvaged to suit their tastes and needs at all. Soon, though, the design team went to work on what has become an architectural and stylistic metamorphosis. 

There is also an artfulness to the furnishings and their textures, seen in the white Mongolian wool-covered chair or sculptural bronze bench in the master bedroom, a decorative Moorish-style mirror in the living room, and an ebonized-wood top and patinated bronze base for the family room coffee table. Though the homeowners prefer modern and contemporary design, there is a combination of both that and traditional furnishings, such as the master bedroom’s classic oak-and-iron four-poster bed that’s streamlined enough to seem of today. 

If the original house left something to be desired, today the results are breathtaking, with the elegant furnishings of a design studio and the art collection of a museum. Yet it’s also a house that feels calming and, most of all, like home. “When I walked in the house for the first time with the realtor, I immediately walked out,” the wife recalls. “But Peter made sense of the architecture, and Rod spent so much time with me looking at furniture and fabric samples. Now it’s where I want it to be.”

Brian Libby