Nature Knows Best
Colors from the surrounding environment create a sense of calm in this Manalapan manse.
Jack Fhillips, Jack Fhillips Design, Inc., West Palm Beach, FL
Robert Brantley, Delray Beach, FL
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“Don’t focus on the curtains … look out the window. That’s what will dictate your color palette,” says interior designer Jack Fhillips, who often uses blue as a neutral. And naturally, he’s anything but neutral about it. “In this house, it is the color of the water that you see,” he says. “Every door and every window opens to a view of the water.”
What he calls a “very classic and clean contemporary,” this 4,500-square-foot house on Point Manalapan near Palm Beach, Fla., is one of his all-time favorites. “I brought the color of the water inside and I always add my basic beiges, vanillas and white to manifest serenity,” Fhillips says.
Step inside, where walls of white set the tone for a Jacobean-style motif. The designer’s introduction of a contemporary, classic and traditional mix offers just the right masculine scale desired by the homeowner — a young and successful single gentleman.
A gallery-like setting shapes the foyer hall, where a serpentine stairway embraces a trio of “Totems” by sculptor Louise Nevelson. In the foyer, a Jacobean trestle table and Victorian armchairs announce the main living areas. Because the foyer flows directly into the living room, which opens to the family room, Fhillips considered the entire space as one, stepping down the formality progressively for a true sense of harmony. To that end, the foyer — the most formal of the spaces — couldn’t jar by being over the top. Fhillips used Romo’s crisp ivory linen from Kravet on the armchairs and a fun, contemporary mirror from his namesake collection to lighten the space grounded by a creamy sisal area rug.
Nearby, a small intimate alcove off the living room works perfectly as a formal dining room. “Everything here is top-notch,” Fhillips says. The custom table from Holly Hunt is crafted in walnut with a scroll-like volute base, while classic Queen Anne chairs are fashioned with the designer’s own trademark handles. “I love pulls on the back of upholstered dining chairs,” the designer says. Another of his favorites wraps the walls: Ralph Lauren’s “Pritchett” pattern in blue and white from the Shirting Stripe collection.
Pattern as an element sets the tone in the family room. “This is where it gets really exciting,” Fhillips says. “This area is for lounging and enjoying the panoramic water views wherever you sit.” Since the foyer, living room and family room are a straight shot, the singular spaces had to encompass the color scheme, pattern and flow as a whole. “I had to work my way down, without a shock in any one space,” he says. “The family room had to be livable and light.” To create a sense of informality, printed fabrics rather than solids wrap the lounge chairs, while a light plaid fashions the sofa. Gauzy linen sheers pull open to bring the outside in.
Back outside, it’s all about the water. Even the landscape is secondary, pristine without flowering plants. On the loggia, Century’s outdoor furnishings form waterside social groupings. “Just look at that pool and the Intracoastal,” he says. “Whatever is outside, you must bring those colors inside. Nature should be the focus.”