“YOU CAN LEARN a lot about people through the different genres and mediums of artwork they are drawn to,” says interior stylist Claire Delmar, who worked with design practice Alexander & Co to select pieces that would sit within Palm Beach House, the holiday home of a family with two young children. “We went on a wonderful journey together making sure their personalities and interests were at the forefront of the art selection.”
The clients engaged Alexander & Co to transform a rundown 1980s Tuscan-style villa into an open and elegant home with a French minimalist aesthetic. “They were enchanted by the charm and character of grand Parisian apartments,” says principal architect Jeremy Bull. “Parisian architect Joseph Dirand was a major inspiration, along with Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt, whose work is more textural with history and patina.”
A material palette of solid oak, Carrara marble, aged brass and stucco render counterbalance the home’s grand European formality, softening it to better suit the waterfront location. The subdued interior palette evokes a tranquil home-away-from-home atmosphere, while custom-designed handmade light fittings, bathroom vanities and metalwork express the rich craftsmanship the clients desired. “They wanted their house to be exceptional,” Jeremy says.
This textured and thoroughly modern French style provided the backdrop for the art. Claire selected paintings and photographs specifically to reflect the family’s youthfulness, optimism and passion for handcraftsmanship, with a black-and-white theme derived from the architecture.
In the living room, Julian Meagher’s A White Spot in the Sky and Ruben Ireland’s The Mound II feature on either side of the fireplace. “The clients love entertaining, so we considered fun elements for this space. They had previously purchased a work of Julian’s for their family home and [already] knew they loved being surrounded by his work,” Claire says. Julian’s process involves the delicate application of oils – treating them as if they were watercolours – to create a washed appearance. The tone-on-tone effect of white frames on white walls contributes to the calmness of the space.
Nicholas Harding’s Study of Lynne is a graphic addition to the study. “Portraiture is a strong element and gives a space an identity,” says Claire. Ceramics in a series of organic shapes and softly curved furniture provide a gentle foil to Harding’s bold art.
A black-and-white figurative drawing by Noah Taylor sits in the guest bedroom, its strong lines and frame complementing the black steel door frames. Noah’s drawings remain untitled to allow the viewer to create their own narrative of what each work represents.
The four-poster bed in the master bedroom provides a secondary frame for a contemplative artwork by Juli Balla. The photographer is known for playing with saturated and faded colour, influenced by vintage cinema and street photography. “Juli captures a mood that is a kind of still life, but with people,” Claire explains. “The client was immediately drawn to this female figure and her sense of style.” Linen with muted tones complements the blue and grey colour palette and reflective nature of the work.
Although the styles and mediums of the chosen pieces may vary, at the end of the day they all fit perfectly with the family’s character – “young, sophisticated and obsessed with craftsmanship,” according to Jeremy.