“The house didn’t seem like Florida to me,” says Joseph Kremer. “It was a little too neutral.” Asked by his longtime clients to revamp their newly-acquired Neo-Georgian, the New York-based designer knew he wanted to make it match up with its Palm Beach surroundings and imbue it with a sense of place. To find inspiration, Kremer looked outside and discovered it in the sparkling hues of the swimming pool.
Kremer devised “a progression of aquas and turquoises like the water in Florida,” he says, and took advantage of the home’s axial plan, using the colors to create a subtle rhythm and lead the eye out toward the pool and garden. In the foyer, the first hints of the watery shades appear in the consoles—decorated with vintage Murano glass pieces—set against the brilliant white of the hand-troweled walls. Beyond lies the living room, where he flipped the palette, opting for white on the furnishings and a brilliant aqua lacquered on the walls. “It has a depth and a richness,” notes Kremer. “The wham of color and the quality of the finish is quite luscious.” With the adjacent loggia, the designer opted again for white walls, this time choosing a silk-screened grass cloth that lends a shimmery touch. The color “softens the pool beyond and makes a nice transition from the living room,” he points out.
Besides the thoughtful use of color, the interiors bear the mark of a seasoned professional down to the smallest details. Kremer custom-designed many of the furnishings, including the foyer’s lacquered-linen consoles with their nifty midcentury vibe, not to mention the showstopping chrome-and-lacquer console in the dining room. Fabrics even benefited from his hand. There’s an ikat on a living room chair “that was specially woven for us in Uzbekistan,” he says, while the space’s draperies have an added key-pattern border in the first panel. Throughout, there are surprising touches such as the juxtaposing of more traditional Georgian-style cabinets and tables with elements that bring in splashes of gold and silver along with works from the clients’ contemporary art collection.
The home’s bones were solid, but Kremer knew it needed a more architectonic presence to line up with the other interior developments. He called on architect Richard Sammons, whose dab hand with classicism suited the project to a T. “They know detailing,” Kremer says of the firm. In the dining room, for example, Sammons and his team added a fireplace and extensive paneling. However, “We didn’t want it to look like plan B, but to flow,” says Kremer, so the additions are seamless and in keeping with the original tone of the house. To execute those changes and the rest of the program, builder Paul Luc Courchene came aboard. The clients and the designer “knew what they wanted and were able to articulate it, so we could create a one-of-a-kind, beautiful home,” he says.
Outside, much of landscape designer Mario Nievera’s brief involved connecting the exterior spaces with interiors (Kremer had focused substantial energy on orienting views to the outside). Revisiting this, a property he had designed for previous owners, offered Nievera the chance to add an entirely new garden on the house’s south side and grade a lawn there, bringing it in line with other elements. Nievera even carried Kremer’s interior palette outside as he fulfilled the clients’ request for plenty of flowering plants, gracing the property with white hibiscus, blue plumbago and bougainvillea. “The clients gave us carte blanche,” he says. “They were enthusiastic about the opportunities and possibilities.”
And thanks to the home’s environment, the possibilities set quite the scene. “Their New York apartment is more modern, neutral and dressier, and the Southampton one is more casual,” says Kremer, in keeping with their locations. In contrast, the Palm Beach residence is “all about the light, the colors and the climate—what makes spending time in Florida so special.”