“This is the opposite of glam,” says Rhode Island-based designer Kate Jackson of the interiors she curated for longtime clients in the equestrian community of Wellington, Florida. “It’s warm, lived-in, elegant and down-to-earth.” Jackson had worked with this empty-nester couple, an investor and his wife from North Carolina, on six other projects, developing a “sixth sense of trust and friendship,” she says.
That familiarity meant Jackson knew there would be certain givens, which are so second-nature by now that she rattles them off without even thinking: “pairing rich textures with a neutral palette, time-honored materials, an artful mix of antique and modern elements, and dramatic juxtapositions of scale against white walls.”
The homeowners’ Florida lifestyle differs substantially from that in North Carolina, adds Jackson, so the house had to function differently, too. Here, her clients “are mostly in sneakers, shorts and T-shirts or in riding gear, and there are five rescue dogs jumping on the furniture." And their life is more social, including hosting occasional large events and fundraisers.
“We kept things more normally scaled so there would be plenty of room to gather and circulate and appreciate the architecture,” she says. To improve the exterior circulation as well, the team removed the existing pool from the middle of the lawn space and shifted it back toward the edge where it was better positioned for entertaining.
The house is unquestionably tasteful. By scaling back its built-to-impress aspirations, the mood is relaxed and comfortable. A dose of glamour, after all, is just a short ride east to Palm Beach.
–Jorge S. Arango