Palm Beach Bliss Abounds in Historic Mansion

A renovation transforms a historic island mansion into a sophisticated showplace

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A new-to-Palm-Beach family fell in love with a neglected, 1930s-era residence built by local architecture icon John L. Volk and decided to give it some tender loving care. To realize their vision, they hired interior designer Scott Sanders and architect Harold Smith to take this diamond in the rough and polish it into a bright island gem, perfect for entertaining family and friends.

“Today, so many people are moving to Palm Beach,” Sanders said. “They’re buying old houses and restoring them, and to me that is wonderful because the architecture here is so incredible. This particular house had not been renovated since a partial update in the late 1990s, and we wanted to be able to integrate modern elements like an open kitchen, game room, wine room, and coffee bar into something that was landmarked and had fixed square footage.”

The homeowners knew what they wanted from the start, Smith said, because they had previously restored an historic home in New Jersey. The key was to maintain the integrity of the 11,000-square-foot home’s shape, while opening up some of the smaller rooms into grander, more welcoming spaces.

The home had deep potential, a fact that was titillating to both Sanders and Smith. It had a formal hallway with checkerboard marble floors that Smith planned to extend into (and beyond) the perpendicular hallway that ran east to west. There was a grand staircase, plenty of windows to let in the South Florida sunlight, and intricately crafted doors, paneled walls, and finishes. You could envision the bevy of craftsmen at work. You could see Sanders infusing the rooms with the cool, curated American style that he developed at Ralph Lauren. And, you could imagine how open things would feel once Smith got done restructuring the interior.

But first, there was restoration work to do. The foundation was sagging, and the roofs were leaking. Smith and his team tackled the structural repairs and electrical work first before they could even begin to reconfigure the rooms. When that work was complete, he and his teams went about opening up the spaces, and repairing and restoring some of the home’s old features. And Sanders launched into designing soothing, comfortable interiors.

“From the beginning, everyone involved was on the same page,” Sanders said. “They wanted to create something beautiful. There were incredible craftsmen there, building doorways that had 120 pieces of wood. They were so proud of what they were creating, and it’s very satisfying to be a part of a project like this where everyone is so proud of what they do and working really, really hard to do it.”

Because the owners wanted to be in the home by a specific deadline, time was of the essence. Smith said his project manager, Angie Lehman, made that possible. The entire project took about a year to complete, after crews received their approvals from the Town of Palm Beach, and the Landmark Preservation Commission, Smith said. The project had six phases, so there were gradual reveals of the work being done, giving the homeowners the chance to fall in love with each stage of the process.

“My favorite part of all of this was working with clients who had a vision and wanted an excellent product at the end of the day,” Smith said. “Working with people is what I enjoy most on any project. But there was also tremendous satisfaction in seeing these ideas come to fruition. We took an old house that was in really poor shape, and brought it back to life.”

Story Credits: 

Interior Design by Scott Sanders, Scott Sanders LLC, Palm Beach, FL

Stylist Sean Mellyn, New York, NY

Architecture by Harold Smith, Smith & Moore Architects Inc., West Palm Beach, FL

Builder John Rogers, Rogers General Contracting Corp., West Palm Beach, FL

Landscape Architecture by Fernando Wong, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design, West Palm Beach, FL

Photography by Nickolas Sargent, West Palm Beach, FL

Text by Paige Bowers

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources

Dining Room

Dining table – Paul M Jones, John Boone, D&D Building, New York, NY

Dining chairs – McLain Wiesand, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Fabric – Jerry Pair Leather, Romo, D&D Building, New York, NY

Buffet – John Lyle, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Accent chairs – Vintage, Dragonette, 1stDibs

Pendants – Scott Sanders LLC, Carlos De La Puente, New York, NY

Sconces and urn – Vintage, Carlos De La Puente, New York, NY

Mirror –Vintage, John Salibello, New York, NY

Draperies – Great Plains, Holly Hunt, D&D Building, New York, NY

Area rug – Sacco Carpet, New York, NY

Formal Living Room

Sofa – Demiurge, Interior Arts Building, New York, NY

Fabric – Gracie Point, Holland & Sherry, D&D Building, New York, NY

Pillows – La Regence Inc., New York, NY

Fabric – Scalamandre, D&D Building, New York, NY

Armchair – Holly Hunt, D&D Building, New York, NY

Wicker chair – Kaare Clint, CJ Peters, Interior Arts Building, New York, NY

Cocktail table – Paul M Jones, John Boone, D&D Building, New York, NY

End tables – Gerald Ferretti, HM Luther, New York, NY

Lamps – Vintage, Hickment Fine Arts, London, UK

Club chairs – Harvey Probber, CJ Peters, Interior Arts Building, New York, NY

Ottoman – O Henry House, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Floor tamp – Vintage, Neo Studio,West Palm Beach, FL

Chandelier – Remains, New York, NY

Area rug – Stark Carpet, D&D Building, New York, NY

Lounge Area

Lounge and side chair – Bright Group, 200 Lex, New York, NY

Fabric – Hermes, Dedar, D&D Building, New York, NY

White accent chair – Karl Springer, Glen Leroux Antiques, Westport, CT

Cocktail table – David Iatesta, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

B/W artwork – Dusseldorf IV and X, Candida Hofer, Sean Kelly, New York, NY

Sculpture – Vintage, Judy Frankel Antiques, Troy, MI

Royal Blue Bedroom

Canopy bed – Serena & Lily, Palm Beach, FL

Pillows – Brunschwig & Fils, D&D Building, New York, NY

Nightstands – Bamboo & Rattan, West Palm Beach, FL

Table lamps – Christopher Spitzmiller, Mecox, West Palm Beach, FL

Occasional chair and lounge – Serena & Lily, Palm Beach, FL

Ottoman – O Henry House, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Wicker chair – Bielecky Brothers, D&D Building, New York, NY

Parson table – C Bell, West Palm Beach, FL

Blue artwork – Stroke Drawings, Agnus Barley, Sears Payton Gallery, New York, NY

Abstract artwork – Lousiana Edition, Alexander Calder, Findlay Gallery, Palm Beach, FL

Area rug – Patterson Flynn Martin, D&D Building, New York, NY

Guest Suite Vignette 

Chest –William Sonoma Home, New York, NY

Chair – Karl Kemp Antiques, New York, NY

Fabric – Kravet, D&D Building, New York, NY

Artwork – Cover Page From a Suite of Lithographs “L’Ubu”, 1975, Joan Miró, Patricia’s Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL

Light Blue Bedroom Sitting Area

Love seats – Lona, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Curved chair – Iliad, New York, NY

Fabric – Kravet, D&D Building, New York, NY

Occasional chair – Lona, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Fabric – Scalamandre, D&D Building, New York, NY

Cocktail table – The Lacquer Company, KRB, New York, NY

Side table – Ironies, John Rosselli, D&D Building, New York, NY

Artwork on wall – Spring Tree, Didier Massard, Julie Saul Gallery, New York, NY

Chandelier – Carlos De La Puente, New York, NY

Area rug – Stark Carpet, D&D Building, New York, NY

Back Exterior 

Outdoor furniture – McKinnon & Harris, New York, NY

Fabric – Maria Flora, Hines & Company, D&D Building, New York, NY

Umbrellas – Santa Barbara Umbrella’s, Walter’s Wicker, D&D Building, New York, NY

Wall lanterns – Remains, New York, NY

Game Room

Custom seating – Scott Sanders LLC, Palm Beach, FL

Fabricated by Roger’s General Contracting, West Palm Beach, FL

Pillows – Ralph Lauren, D&D Building, New York, NY

Pool, Foosball and Air Hockey tables – Blatt Billiards, New York, NY

Lighting – Carlos De La Puente, New York, NY

Flooring custom designed by Scott Sanders LLC, New York, NY

Fabricated by Master Terrazzo, Levittown, PA

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