Step into a glamorous waterfront home in Palm Beach designed to look like a super yacht
Somewhere on the Florida coast, a sophisticated Palm Beach residence has a particularly compelling staging: a 6,000-square-foot waterfront location, paired with a façade reminiscent of an ultra-chic super yacht on dry land. . The international-style pied-à-terre – conceptualized and animated by architect and interior designer Gerard Beekman of Gramatan Architecture and Design and Livingston Builders – serves as a much-needed winter respite for a Chicago-based couple and their twin daughters, coming down on weekends from New York. “The house is a tribute to the wife’s globe-trotting grandparents who planned to build a glamorous home in San Francisco before the outbreak of World War II thwarted their plans,” Beekman said. “In a sentimental nod to their trip on the famous SS Normandie liner, the house is lowered on the water. The interior resembles the lounges and ceremonial rooms of a super yacht. In short, this is not your typical Palm Beach residence.
Although designed to function as a beach house, Le Rêve (as it was christened when completed) is far too stylish to be limited by such residential categories. “We don’t come here to be locked in a formal living or dining room,” says one of the owners, describing the airy, open-plan central space that serves as the heart of the home. “The idea is that you open the door and feel a sense of wonder when your eye is drawn directly to the water,” she continues. “So we really wanted to keep the room open and flowing. To that end, the ceilings rise to twelve feet high, while all of the furniture is oversized to complement the interior volume. Note an 11-foot-wide Troscan sofa that anchors the lounge area and a long personalized Christian Liaigre lacquered linen dining table. (The coordinating chairs were finished in a unique shade of midnight blue lacquer specially approved by Mr. Liaigre himself.)
To tone down some of the sophisticated finishes, Beekman incorporated natural materials through a navy rug, seagrass, and rattan and teak side tables customized by Bielecky Brothers. More formally, a Vladimir Kagan sofa in teal silk velvet lends an elegant sculptural element, while side tables by Jacques Jarrige offer cocktail perches and tubular steel chairs by Ralph Lauren emphasize the yacht theme. Much like the zero-rim outdoor pool that sparkles with iridescent golden tiles, the mirrored Great Room sculpture by Rob Wynne activates throughout the day and evening with the changing light.
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In particular, there is nothing foreign in the house. In their initial design research, the couple were drawn to spaces with very few materials, so Beekman limited the palette to stucco, glass, and teakwood (the cypress felt too much for the beach). Dark palm wood was used in the living room and study for its unusual and alluring grain pattern. “We were really determined to use the same materials over and over again, so your eye is fooled,” recalls the owner. “We didn’t want it to give the impression of imposing the landscape.
For more consistency, a teak ceiling is omnipresent in the common areas. (Teak floors with white ceilings are visible in all rooms.) Additionally, everything was designed for comfort and utility: the girls’ rooms were neutrally appointed like hotel suites for guests. from the outside, all opening windows slide completely into the wall (with motorized screens) for perfect indoor-outdoor living. More importantly for the avid racing car spouse, a door leads directly from the master suite to the garage, where his revolving collection of prized Porsches is located.
“It was such a privilege to have this opportunity to reimagine what my grandparents’ dream house was supposed to be in San Francisco,” recalls the owner. Perhaps the playful adage “Scatter my ashes in Bergdorfs” should be changed to “Scatter my ashes at The Dream! “