A LANDMARK 1920's HOME IN PALM BEACH IS REDONE IN A GIDDY, GUTSY BLEND OF PAST AND PRESENT.
FROM THE OUTSIDE, the Palm Beach, Fla., house that Maxine Granovsky Gluskin shares with her husband, Ira Gluskin, is a throwback to the oceanfront enclave’s old-school opulence. Built in the 1920s by renowned American architect Addison Mizner, the landmark has a Mediterranean Revival style that perfectly preserves the glamour of an era when Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Astors f locked to the area for sun and fun. Inside, however, the transformation that took nearly two years to complete is an awe-inspiring blend of conservation and contemporary chutzpah. The couple, who have enjoyed living in Palm Beach for 13 years, were attracted to the home’s prime location along the ocean and its extensive grounds. “We first saw it at night with the garden softly lit and hurricane candles around the pool,” says Maxine. “It was very romantic.” The previous owners, however, had a very different aesthetic. The interiors were dark and in a style that felt too rooted in the past. “I wanted to give the house a much more updated, modern
Maxine Granovsky Gluskin stands under an Allegro Assai chandelier that brings contemporary verve to the loggia. Chandelier, Foscarini.
feel while still keeping the beautiful elements of the architecture and the design,” says Maxine.She interviewed five designers before committing to the New York firm Haynes-Roberts, whose partners were familiar with the nuances of Palm Beach style. More importantly, they instinctively understood how to translate Maxine’s vision, which she sums up as a certain “relaxed formality.” The renovation included recolouring the original cork and composite f loors in the living and dining rooms, enlisting an artisan to resurface the walls with Marmorino plaster, introducing light into rooms with bright white and barely-there shades and hunting for vintage furniture and accessories. No matter how major or minor the decision, Maxine was involved.“It’s Maxine’s amazing attitude and positivity that makes you say, ‘OK, let’s do this; let’s keep going,’” say the designers. And seizing on this confidence, they arrived at a unique spin on the glamour and grandeur inherent to the home’s history and setting. “There’s an urbanity to some of the pieces because you’re in a place where it’s about sophistication and elegance — the old Palm Beach,” say the designers. But, then, this is new Palm Beach. A slightly later mid-century inf luence — think 1960s and ’70s — comes through, particularly in the lighting, which expresses personality and modernity in equal measure. “It’s a
little more playful-chic, an almost Italian inspiration in terms of interiors,” say the designers. From Maxine’s perspective, the point was less about an aesthetic statement than enjoying a home that would feel at once family-friendly (their many grandkids visit often) and suited to their passion for contemporary art. “Everything, I think, is very carefully considered,” says Maxine.As the former president and current honorary chair of the Art Gallery of Ontario board of trustees, Maxine also drew on her considerable understanding and appreciation of art to establish an added layer of visual interest and storytelling within the house. Whereas some pieces were already part of their collection, others were acquired with the rooms in mind. A hot pink, silver and white sculpture by Ugo Rondinone lives on the landing, a text-based painting by Gary Simmons hangs in the dining room, a provocative Wolfgang Tillmans image is in the living room, and a Suzan Frecon painting adorns the front hall. Throughout, the house conveys a subtle yet impressive air of connoisseurship. Maxine feels the deference that comes with living in a house that’s nearly a century old that has withstood hurricanes and owners’ whims alike. “The house is really solid; you feel that as soon as you walk in,” she says. “It’s also nice to know that you’re the keeper of the house for a little while, and then it will pass on to someone else.” The next generation of storied sunseekers should be so lucky.