In a home where an art collection includes works from such big names as Mel Bochner, Jean Dubuffet and Takashi Murakami, the term “artists in residence” takes on a whole new meaning. Employing vibrant colors, bold messages and graphic lines, the artists more than reside—they influence. And designer Allison Paladino took creative cues from these works for the interiors and fashioned a dynamic design that not only complements the art but also stands on its own.
The owners were looking for a vacation home in South Florida where they could visit with their two grown sons and spend quality family time together. They also wanted a sun-drenched space to showcase their powerhouse collection of contemporary art, which, in addition to those mentioned above, includes Damien Hirst’s butterflies seen in the entry and an Andy Warhol in one of the hallways. “Coming in with this art collection,” says Paladino, “they needed natural light, tall ceilings and room for the art to breathe.”
When the clients spotted a Mediterranean-style house—designed by architect Scott Disher, of Architectural Studio, and built by Marc Julien—they immediately fell in love with its light and proportions. With vaulted coffered ceilings; expansive windows; long, high hallways and even a niche perfect for their Dubuffet, the house couldn’t be more accommodating, while classical architectural elements add elegance and visual interest. “The arches keep in theme with the Mediterranean style, whether it’s the radius bay window or the entry,” says Julien. All it needed, architecturally, were guest rooms for the owners’ sons. To remedy this, Julien and Disher added on two mini master bedrooms—identical rooms on top of one another—built onto the east side of the house. Paladino designed the interior architectural details and specified finishes for the new bedrooms, guest bathrooms and added stairway.
For the interiors, Paladino and her senior designer and junior partner, Zita Rudd, emphasized family and comfort. “I saw their old house and understood their need to be comfortable,” says Paladino. So, furnishings are kept cozy and casual with clean lines and a neutral palette incorporating pops of blue that play off the nearby artwork. In the living room, for instance, a pair of shimmering royal blue velvet club chairs mingles with the Yves Klein torso in cobalt blue—known in the art world, of course, as International Klein Blue, an electric shade the artist created and patented in 1960. A portrait by Alex Katz offers a direct contrast—its orange hue lying across from that IKB in the color wheel. In addition, Paladino was thrilled that a Donghia sectional she’d been admiring would fit perfectly in this space, as it was large enough to give the substantial sofa some air. “The fact that I could float it in the room was important for a piece like this,” she says of its sculptural form. “It’s a perfect complement to the art yet it’s also edgy.”
In the more casual family room, which opens up to the kitchen and breakfast nook, a plush chenille-covered Sir Martin sofa—from Paladino’s E.J. Victor collection—anchors the space. Thanks to its canted back and strong silhouette, this sofa is also ideal for floating in a room, and the oversize leather ottoman not only begs for the husband’s feet but those of the whole family, as well. Classical elements in the form of a Greek key-patterned rug adds texture underfoot with its wool composition. “It’s a multilevel rug, so it has a lot of depth,” Paladino says. “The three-dimensional quality gives it an architectural feeling.” The same can also be said for Paladino’s custom rug in the living room.
Adjacent to the family room, the breakfast nook is an extension of its laid-back feel—views of the pool certainly help keep it airy and light. Two curved open-back benches and a couple of side chairs clad in a fun zebra print encircle a glass-top table, their upholstery continuing the blue palette found throughout the house. Cascading industrial lights bring warmth to the rounded cove.
The nearby dining room, however, is a distinct counterpoint for more formal occasions. Soft parchment-colored walls, sheer draperies and a sparkling chandelier complement the graphic simplicity of the large-scale works by Ted Stamm and Georges Noël. Even the chairs are sculptural, with their sinuous curves and tufted backs.
The palette of cream and blue continues in the spacious master suite, where the design is intentionally softer. Here, navy is a quieter accent, and small details—the cream headboard, a tufted bench, pretty handle pulls—are what Paladino calls “transitional twists” that lend a more feminine feel.
If a cozy gallery sounds like an oxymoron, Paladino proves otherwise. Now, when the family of four comes together for some quality time, the mood is relaxed and easy, and art can be appreciated from all corners of the home.