In Palm Beach County, within a small community across from the ocean, a Massachusetts couple found their ideal getaway home. Capped with a shiplap roof, the white Bermuda Colonial-style house boasts beamed, double-height ceilings and a cottage feel. Enticingly, the L-shaped structure wraps around the backyard, affording indoor-outdoor living, beautiful views and wonderful opportunities for entertaining privately, which the owners fully intended to embrace.
Although their plan is to eventually live in South Florida full time, the couple wanted to enjoy the property now, with their large extended family. The house, however—mostly beige inside—required some personalized attention. “We really wanted to amp it up a little bit and make it bright, lively and more of what people imagine when they go to Florida,” says interior designer Kristen Rivoli. “You want it to feel relaxing.”
This would be Rivoli’s first project in the region and the third she would complete for these clients, including their main residence. “Their home in Boston is definitely traditional and filled with antiques and oil paintings,” she says. Whereas the couple’s primary house is quiet and neutral, here the interior designer aimed to push them out of their typical style with a little flair for a fresher and more transitional look. Her approach: View their aesthetic through the lens of an Old Florida residence for a design that is classic and timeless.
The owners agreed. They desired a relaxed, informal vibe for the vacation property, with more patterns than they normally favor. This, Rivoli says, “gave us a great opportunity here to really be playful with the colors.” To balance the clients’ traditional leanings with a Florida bent, she introduced classical furnishings in bright tones, such as a thin yellow-and-white stripe on the living area sofa, which rests on a patterned yellow rug. In a similar move, the interior designer paired vintage pieces with more modern ones, like the living area’s Parsons-style coffee table countering rattan armchairs holding blue- and-white cushions. The formerly dark pantry, too, was given a playful runner and lighter cabinets. “We painted them what we call our ‘Palm Beach Pink’ color,” Rivoli says. “Now it’s a very bright and cheery hallway.”
The bedrooms in particular are amped with pattern and color. In a guest space, a red-orange wallcovering is a balanced backdrop for unexpected doses of vibrant green, seen on a pair of beds with patterned upholstered frames and in the abstract botanical scene of an oversize graphic painting occupying a wall. “We pushed the wife out of her comfort zone a little bit with the art,” Rivoli says. “It really makes that a memorable space.” The wife loves coral, which the interior designer infused in the main bedroom on the draperies and wrapping the four-poster bed. She hung an Old Floridian-style lamp from the double-height ceiling for a dash of quirkiness, while ceramic lamps add an old-world aura atop vintage wood bedside tables that have a bamboo detail. “They’re so well made,” Rivoli says of vintage pieces. “Many of them are so solid, and that’s why they’ve lasted so long.”
Many of the home’s furnishings and fabrics, like the family room’s sofa and tasseled ottomans, are indoor-outdoor, giving the residence a casual elegance amid its framed artwork and gold sconces. “We wanted it to feel like if the clients had a dressed-up occasion, the house supported that,” Rivoli says. “But if they had bathing suits on and sandy feet, they’re not going to worry about sitting there.”
That strategy comes in handy for guests coming from the property’s outdoor space, where the owners refinished the pool and installed a hot tub. Landscape designer Nelson Logal conceived a minimalist look for the previously overcrowded grounds, removing more than 20 trees, including Alexandra palms and overgrown magnolias. This made room for plantings such as flowering yellow thryallis, red Jatropha and climbing hibiscus next to the outdoor fireplace to add touches of color amid the greenery. “It’s a retreat for the owners just to relax,” Logal says. “It’s a hideaway.” In the front, fragrant gardenias and a new path of palm trees lead to the door—where, Rivoli expects, her busy clients leave their stress behind before entering. “What I really hope is that when you walk in, you’re going to take this deep breath and feel instant relaxation and melting away,” she says.