Known as Vita Serena, this remarkable 1920s Mediterranean Revival Palm Beach home parallels the intracoastal water way, allowing the reflection of water into almost every room. We decorated this landmark property for art collectors who wished to take in the fantastic views and display their art collection. Light, tropical, understated decoration was called for to allow the historic Venetian architecture to hold pride of place.
Marion Sims Wyeth, one of the principal architects twenty century Palm Beach, designed this house amongst other well-known commissions such as Mar-a-Lago, the Norton Museum of Art and Shangri La, Doris Duke’s house in Honolulu, Hawaii. Architect Gene Pendula and Jayne Design Studio worked to update the home for modern living while preserving the original architectural details. The house is featured in a video for the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach:
Our clients wanted a space to dine and entertain outdoors, so we worked with Pendula to design this loggia. The space allows for both a generous seating area and a place for dining. The details draw direct inspiration from Wyeth’s original designs.
The contemporary furnishings add contrast to the Spanish Revival architecture – the ceilings are a modern interpretation of historic Spanish (Iberian) ceilings. Ceiling skylights were specifically placed to allow daylight into the adjoining rooms.
The use of the mirror here is somewhat unexpected, adding to the indoor/outdoor feel of the loggia. It handsomely frames the changing water views in the famously luminous light of Palm Beach.
This original iron stair railing was restored, while the cypress ceiling and door were new additions to the home.
An arched opening to the dining room showcases the original fireplace and one of the scalloped sconces, which we reproduced from photographs of the originals found in an archival photograph of the house.
A 1920s iron chandelier anchors the space. The dining chairs were made by Howe and are covered in Fortuny fabric.
The spacious living room was designed for entertaining with many areas for seating. The original beamed ceiling features decorative corbels and retains its 1920s paint scheme which we helped to preserve. The wall sculpture is by Donald Judd.
The sunroom opens to a new pool and the intracoastal water way. The Banana-leaf game chairs are vintage Ralph Lauren. A Picasso vase sits on the coffee table, flanked by a pair of French modernist arm chairs.
The breakfast room mixes hard and soft materials with rattan dining chairs by Bielecky Brothers. We made a new zinc tabletop for our clients dining table. The room features another cypress ceiling of our design.
A nineteenth century sculpture of a dog keeps watch over the kitchen.
The Georgian looking glasses have unusual eglomise fames. We designed the custom console based on French art deco models. The decorative vases are Rosenthal.
We combined two small guest bedrooms and added an arched opening between the two, creating a private sitting room for the guest room. A French 1950s chair adds sculpture and lightness.
The principal bedroom has a Candida Hofer photograph above the bed. We designed the contemporary bed and the linen wrapped bedside tables. An antique Italian cassone sits at the foot of the bed and lends weightiness to an otherwise light simplicity.
The rich sitting room has both the old and new, with an eighteenth-century desk and Chinese flambe table lamp contrasted with a solid silk carpet and custom waterfall coffee table of our design. The walls are clad in a green-gold grass cloth complimented by the striped Jim Thompson silk pillows on the mid-century sofa.
Our work continued into the garden where we restored the garden gate and domed folly, which were original to the architecture.