A relaxed approach to contemporary coastal style brings a sense of ease to this Palm Beach estate.
Cocktail dresses and formally arranged table settings are one way to throw a party, but sometimes entertaining is about inviting your guests to kick their feet up on the ottoman, throwing open the French doors to welcome in the breeze, and sharing wine and conversation while you chop vegetables at the kitchen island.That laidback—yet still elegant—approach to entertaining is exactly what interior designer Jennifer Knowles envisioned when she outfitted the interiors of this waterfront Florida home built by Malasky Homes. “Palm Beach has very classic leanings, and the people here love to entertain,” Knowles says. “We wanted to be in keeping with that classic approach while bridging the gap between casual and formal.” The inviting atmosphere begins at the front entrance, where guests are greeted by a “welcoming arms” staircase, a hallmark of the Bermudan architectural style that defines the home’s exterior. Inside, lengthy rooms, such as the 32-foot-long formal living room, are divided into intimate groupings to facilitate conversation. Generous windows, French doors, and balconies offer remarkable views of the Intracoastal Waterway on three sides and welcome the Florida sunshine into every room. “The entire house truly is awash in light,” Knowles says. “It doesn’t matter what time of day you’re there.” Rich millwork details and intricate ceiling treatments draw the eye upward to visually expand relatively low ceilings, a height requirement set by Palm Beach’s architectural review board. In fact, the first-floor ceilings top off at just a little under 10 feet, but exquisite millwork—such as the Art Deco-inspired pattern on the living room ceiling—stretches the visual height of rooms. Though the details are elaborate, Knowles achieved a crisp, clean look by painting each ceiling white. Walnut herringbone floors and tailored furnishings reinforce the home’s classic sensibility, while dashes of modern flair, supplied by abstract art and polished-nickel accents, prevent the home from feeling too traditional. “Mixing contemporary touches with classic lines keeps it fresh and timeless,” Knowles says. The result is a home that effortlessly toggles between black-tie events and impromptu gatherings with friends. “You’re sitting on the sofa looking out to the pool, then beyond to the water and the beautiful boats,” Knowles says. “You put your feet up on the upholstered ottoman and you just don’t want to leave.
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