Artis­tic Ex­pres­sion

Décor - - Contents - Writer Ken Wysocky pho­tog­ra­pher Jes­sica Klewicki Glynn

White walls lend gallery style to a Florida home, putting art and stream­lined fur­nish­ings on dis­play.

An ab­sence of color in this Florida

home cre­ates sub­tle vis­ual drama as well as a sim­ple

yet stun­ning back­drop for art.

69 This photo: The tree-trunk-like pedestal and glass top on this kitchen ta­ble com­bine to cre­ate an un­likely ef­fect: both heft and airi­ness. The pen­dant light fix­ture of­fers a vis­ual an­chor to the room’s 18-foot-tall ceil­ing. Op­po­site: With its strong an­gu­lar lines, this cus­tom side­board re­flects the home­own­ers’ ar­dor for all things Art Deco. The mir­ror above it brings the out­doors in­side in an art­ful way. “I love to use indige­nous plants,” de­signer Krista Wat­ter­worth Al­ter­man says. “They’re ar­chi­tec­tural, artis­tic, and con­tem­po­rary in their own right.”

This photo: “The liv­ing room is the wow­fac­tor room—the one you see first that sets the tone for the rest of the home,” Al­ter­man says. She added sub­tle depth and tex­ture with Bel­gian linen on the over­stuffed so­fas and silk on the track-arm chairs. The room’s fo­cal point—a paint­ing by mys­ti­cal ex­pres­sion­ist painter Ja­mali—adds vis­ual pop. Op­po­site: The sen­sual, curved float­ing sof­fit above the liv­ing room’s bar frames a strik­ing paint­ing by Erica Hop­per.

To cap­ture the joie de vivre of a well-trav­eled cou­ple with a large per­sonal art col­lec­tion, de­signer Krista Wat­ter­worth Al­ter­man em­braced a re­lent­lessly neu­tral pal­ette that al­lows ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments—sen­sual curved sof­fits and el­e­gant tray ceil­ings, for in­stance—to stand out in their home in Palm Beach Gar­dens, Florida. The re­sult: an un­der­stated yet stylish space that’s as much a work of art as the pieces it’s de­signed to show­case.

“Their goal was sim­ple—cre­ate a beau­ti­ful, ef­fort­less, and ab­so­lutely so­phis­ti­cated back­drop for their col­lected art and ar­ti­facts,” Al­ter­man says. “This home is a liv­ing, breath­ing re­flec­tion of its in­hab­i­tants. It mir­rors their al­most su­per­nat­u­ral abil­ity to make a re­mark­able en­trance with­out a lot of fuss.”

A monochro­matic in­te­rior can be­come a slip­pery slope to­ward bor­ing—think white box with no pulse. But Al­ter­man sidestepped that vis­ual trap by per­form­ing in­te­rior-de­sign CPR, in­fus­ing the home with flour­ishes of mixed met­als, heav­ily grained woods, hand-spun area rugs, and tex­tured fur­ni­ture and cur­tain fab­rics to cre­ate rich yet sub­tle lay­ers and depth. “Mix­ing met­als feels or­ganic,” she says. “When every­thing is matchy-matchy, it feels overde­signed to me. The real chal­lenge is get­ting it all bal­anced so it doesn’t feel too jar­ring.”

A spare, less-is-more ap­proach with Art Deco lean­ings in­forms much of the de­sign. “The crux of this style is nonor­na­men­ta­tion,” she says. In that vein, she opted to re­move faux plas­ter fin­ishes and some wood­work from ceil­ings, and she painted cab­i­netry white through­out the house to lighten things. She also sim­pli­fied the lines of an over­bear­ing fire­place in the liv­ing room, left var­i­ous niches empty to “cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing mo­ment,” and stu­diously avoided dark ac­cent col­ors on ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails. “If you just elim­i­nate col­ors, you can ap­pre­ci­ate the de­tails that much more,” she says. “With lighter col­ors, those ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails cre­ate shad­ows and re­veal their depth. Plus, neu­tral col­ors pro­vide a so­cial and emo­tional respite from the chaos of life. There is a free­dom—a pos­i­tiv­ity—in the ab­sence of color and the bright­ness of sun­shine.”

For in­spi­ra­tion, Al­ter­man browsed shops in an an­tiques dis­trict in West Palm Beach, the De­sign Cen­ter of the Amer­i­cas in Da­nia Beach, and art gal­leries in Palm Beach. She even fre­quented some of the home­own­ers’ fa­vorite restau­rants. “I wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence their in­ner world,” she says. “It was a method-act­ing ap­proach to de­sign.”

But there’s no act­ing or ar­ti­fice in the fi­nal de­sign, which feels liv­able, not stuffy and stiff like some art mu­se­ums. “The clients’ per­sonas are so nat­u­ral and down to earth—I wanted to bring that el­e­ment to their home, too,” Al­ter­man says.

Floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows that em­brace a to-die-for pool view serve as the pri­mary art­work in the fam­ily room, pro­vid­ing what Al­ter­man calls a daily “pinch-me mo­ment.” To de­fine the open-con­cept space, Al­ter­man opted for a comfy sec­tional sofa com­ple­mented by a con­tem­po­rary lamp and a cus­tom-made

mid­cen­tury-modern chair based on a Charles Eames de­sign. The or­ganza sheer

cur­tains fea­ture metal­lic rib­bing that con­tin­ues Al­ter­man’s theme of rich­ness through sub­tle tex­tures rather than color.


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