The Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach has long signaled rest and relaxation for designer Cindy Galvin, who enjoyed visiting the area as a child and more recently during the winters with her husband, Chris. After many years of renting a variety of houses and even a posh hotel suite, the couple finally committed to a Palm Beach condo with spectacular views of the water and downtown West Palm Beach to serve as their winter getaway. Once the unit’s renovation was complete, the couple’s luck struck once again when the neighboring apartment went on the market. “We needed extra bedrooms for our boys when they visit and office space for Chris,” Galvin explains. So, the couple jumped at the opportunity to buy it and started the whole process again with the intention of creating a “his” space to complement “her” adjacent unit.
Just as she did in their residence next door, Galvin started from the ground up, working with architect Thomas Kirchhoff and builder Frank Kujan to tweak the interior floor plans for both function and flow. “We stripped everything out completely,” explains Kujan, who began by demolishing the original four-inch-thick decorative concrete block walls that divided the interior’s layout. Then, he implemented Kirchhoff’s plans to eliminate an awkward hallway off the entry, and reconfigure space to allow for larger bathrooms. “I wish every project was like this one,” Kujan says. “When you walk through, you feel great about the results.”
The apartment’s tone is set in the front entry, which is defined by a faux bois wallcovering and furnished with an antique mahogany campaign chest flanked by a pair of midcentury modern chairs that Galvin gilded and recovered in a graphic seat fabric. A pair of pastoral prints depicting ducks soaring peacefully over the water, which once hung in their primary residence, add a familiar touch. “Our library in our home in Illinois is paneled in pine, and we have all of our bird prints in there, so I brought that feeling down south with us,” Galvin explains. “When I see our beloved artwork in a new place, everything appears brand-new.” Inspired by the colors in the painting, not to mention the ubiquitous water views, a blue grass-cloth wallcovering in the great room makes a vibrant, textural backdrop for the furniture grouping, which includes a pair of plush sofas, and modern wing chairs covered in striking patterned fabrics.
To address an unsightly structural header over the balcony doors, Galvin used mirrors to create the illusion that the ceiling extends beyond the unit’s walls. “It looks like one giant window,” says Galvin, of the ingenious design trick, which she repeated in the office. Paying homage to the pecky cypress walls in her late grandmother’s Miami home, Galvin coffered the ceiling in the living area, and also added tongue-and-groove paneling to the ceiling in the adjacent open dining area. The wood detail highlights a custom banquette covered in a blue-and-white fabric with a stylized rope motif that extends along the entire wall. “It’s a very warm, neutral wood that pairs very well with other colors,” says Galvin, who used similar ceiling treatments in the neighboring unit. “I didn’t want it to feel like you were traveling to a different suburb when you went next door.”
Although unconnected, the neighboring units feel as if they are part of one cohesive space. In both, the dated kitchens have been replaced with spacious white custom cabinetry and ice-blue marble countertops and backsplashes. And the bathrooms have likewise been enlarged and enhanced with the addition of dramatic marble slabs, and more specifically, in the master bathroom, a striking blue-and-gray marble was applied in a herringbone pattern. The palette is repeated in the adjacent bedroom, which is adorned with white wall-to-wall carpeting and a white wallcovering with a blue-trellis pattern.
The interior direction takes on a softer tone in the second bedroom that serves as Chris’s office, where a blue-and-white fabric wallcovering creates a sophisticated backdrop for a tailored sofa and chair around a pair of lacquered cocktail tables. From his luxurious pen shell-covered desk, Chris can see the boats docked in the harbor outside the window. So, it’s no surprise, Galvin says, that some of his clients find excuses to travel there for meetings. “It feels like you’re in the south of France,” says the designer.
At the end of a long workday, Galvin’s phone will often buzz with a text from Chris, inviting her to join him at his place for a sunset happy hour on the balcony. “He likes to have a cocktail and watch the sunset from the terrace,” Galvin explains. “This his and hers thing is working out great!”