Casual Elegance in Palm Beach


Casual Elegance in Palm Beach

Taking subtle inspirations from the nearby beach, a designer and homeowner create a tranquil environment in the town of Gulf Stream.

From New Hampshire to Florida

After two years of searching for a lakefront home in New Hampshire, and coming up dry, Ellen Hatton and her husband, Dean, took the natural next step. “We shifted our search to Southeast Florida,” says Hatton. “Our first weekend there, we saw this house and we both had the same reaction: ‘This is it!’”

The master suite is accessed by a grand spiral stair, which home builder Lippolis recalls as the only challenge he encountered during construction of the home. “Having design-build all in one office gives really good insight into a project and what goes into it,” he notes. “It makes for an efficient way to do a home for an owner.’ 

Blue Striped and White Formal Dining Room with Artwork and Chandelier

“Over the years, we developed a sense that things don’t necessarily have to match to work together,” homeowner Hatton notes. “We added antiques into almost every room. Having just enough contrast keeps it interesting, yet soft and inviting, without being too flamboyant.” The theme flows in the intimate dining room, where antique chairs pair with sculptural ones along with a table brought down from Connecticut. “I always try to add a little old into something,” says Green, who spent years in the antiques business and sourced some of the finds for Hatton from her collection. “There’s a charming history in old pieces.” 

The formal dining room includes a
Bausman & Company table, a Niermann Weeks chandelier, and chairs wearing Kravet Couture fabric. Phillip Jeffries’ wallcovering from Holly Hunt backs a painting by Bruno Zupan. Draperies are by, the rug is from J. Namnoun Oriental Rug Gallery in Connecticut, and the cabinet is by Michael Taylor Designs. An orchid from Floral Emporium brings the outside in.

Mostly White Living Room with Blue and Coral Accents

The layout of the house had infinite potential for Hatton’s friend and mentor Nancy Green, a designer based in Connecticut and Florida, to help Hatton hone her design skills, as she was in the midst of launching her own interior design company. “The rooms are clearly defined with white walls, crown moldings, coffered ceilings, and mahogany and limestone floors,” shares architect William Wietsma, who designed the home and also served as general contractor along with partner William J. Lippolis II. “It’s very understated. Nancy and Ellen loved this approach because they could go to town on each room, without having to worry about making a transition from one room to the next.” Though the palette remained neutral here, crisp whites and oceanic hues were incorporated into other key spaces to help connect them with outdoor areas and those brilliant waterway vistas. In the main living room, for instance, the pair installed blue sofas and patterned chairs, and mixed in a few antiques and coral accent pieces, as well.

Jan Showers sofa from David Sutherland and a Donghia daybed don Nancy Corzine fabrics from J Nelson in the living room. Donghia lounge chairs in coral-print fabric, again by Nancy Corzine, and wood-framed Kravet chairs complete the scene along with a Madeline Stuart coffee table from Jerry Pair and a Stark rug. Custom millwork by Clearview Cabinetry Services encases a Samsung television. The drapery fabric is by Schumacher.

Casual Dining Area with Yellow and Green Touches and Chandelier

To further enable group gatherings, a family room adjoining the kitchen was turned into an informal dining area featuring an oval trestle table paired with chairs from Hatton’s previous Connecticut kitchen. 

The casual dining area off the kitchen features a custom table by designer
Nancy Green and E.M. Soberon. Green also designed cabinetry—crafted by Focal Point Woodwork—to house Sub-Zero wine coolers. Samir Sammoun’s painting pops against a Phillip Jeffries wallpaper from Holly Hunt, which supports a neutral scheme along with a Stark rug. Artistic Frame chairs wear Schumacher fabrics. The chandelier is by Vaughan.

Wormy Walnut Wood Kitchen

Green and Hatton addressed the kitchen first, a room where Hatton and her husband could congregate with family and friends while they cooked, and which opened to an outdoor patio. “It was a great room,” Green says. “Light, bright and beautiful. And I thought they should center their life around it because of the water views.”

For the kitchen, the architect-builder team specified
Bremtown Cabinetry’s traditional-style beaded-inset cabinets, which were installed by Clearview Cabinetry Services. For contrast, the stand-alone bar is clad in a wormy walnut wood. The swivel barstools are by Caperton Collection and were acquired through Stephen Turner Showroom, and the Kravet window cornice is lined with Samuel & Sons trim.

Blue Wooden Kravet Study Detail

A detail of the husband’s study shows a Kravet sofa in Schumacher’s deep blue fabric, which gives the space a nautical feel. It joins Kravet’s Perry bench upholstered in an Edelman hide, a Kravet side table, a Vaughan table lamp from John Rosselli & Associates, and artwork by James Abbott McNeill Whistler from Galerie d’Orsay in Boston.

Pecky Cypress Wood Study Decked in Fabric

A departure from the crisp, blue-and-white color scheme of the home’s communal rooms, the study features a pecky cypress-wood ceiling and paneled walls by Coastal Woodwork. A Kyle Bunting rug from David Sutherland and draperies made using GP & J Baker fabric from Lee Jofa take the same color cues. An Artistic Frame chair pulls up to a Bausman & Company desk with a water view, and a Hyde Park club chair by Edward Ferrell and Lewis Mittman lends an extra cozy spot to curl up with a book.

Transformed Sun Room with Open Air and Furnishings

Green created a sun room in a space originally designated as a dining area. The sofa is covered in Duralee fabric, and the rattan chairs and ottoman are by Palecek, with the ottoman in a Peter Fasano print from John Rosselli & Associates. Cowtan & Tout. fabric fashions the window treatment, and mahogany flooring from C&M Wood Flooring Center runs underfoot. The landscape outside was installed by Land Designs by Steve.

Framed Artwork Master Bedroom with Green Accents

Set privately on an upper level, the couple’s master suite was given its own tropical Floridian feel. There, the designers fitted a decorative, four-poster bed with a mix of crisp white and ivory linens, and paired custom-size chairs with a green linen ottoman.

The master bedroom features a bed and bedside tables by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, Donghia bedside lamps and another Zupan painting. Custom Kravet sofas in Savel fabric hug a Caperton Collection ottoman from Stephen Turner Showroom in
Suzanne Kasler fabric for Lee Jofa. All rest on a Stark rug. The draperies are by Brunschwig & Fils.

Semi-Sheltered Belvedere with Chippendale-Style Railing and Shutters

From the street, the home appears more formal, with ficus hedges defining the exterior perimeter and magnolia trees framing the entrance of an auto court. On the water side, it’s the epitome of Caribbean design. “It’s classic symmetry, with wings spinning off the main space and traditional elements such as the belvedere with louvered shutters and Chippendale railings off the second-level loggia,” says Wietsma. The addition of a manicured lawn and palm trees around the pool by landscape architect Joe Peterson, of Peterson Design Professionals, softens the area, while bountiful bougainvillea bushes add a burst of color when they flower. 

Off the master bedroom, the semi-sheltered belvedere features a Chippendale-style railing and traditional louvered push-out shutters by
South Florida Aluminum. Brown Jordan chaises provide the perfect place to relax and watch the action in the swimming pool below and on the Intracoastal Waterway.

After two years of searching for a lakefront home in New Hampshire, and coming up dry, Ellen Hatton and her husband, Dean, took the natural next step. “We shifted our search to Southeast Florida,” says Hatton. “Our first weekend there, we saw this house and we both had the same reaction: ‘This is it!’” 

Set along the Intracoastal Waterway, in the small town of Gulf Stream not far from Palm Beach, the house was a bit different from the longtime family home the couple was leaving behind in Connecticut. “Our previous home was very traditional,” says Hatton. “This was more transitional, with Caribbean air and a bit of British style, and the attention to detail was evident—in the woodwork, the finishes and the landscape. We knew it was the one for us.” 

Acknowledging the coming together of the home’s interiors with its architecture, architect Wietsma notes, “When I first saw it finished, I was so taken by how beautiful it was.” In turn, Ellen shares, “I have to say it really exceeded my expectations. It was hard to leave our family home in Connecticut after 15 years. But I really grew to love working on this project, and the town of Gulf Stream is well-suited to us—so quaint and quiet yet close to the Delray Beach scene. Friends and family come down to visit us all the time, so it truly feels like home.” 

Linda Hayes