A NEW ENERGY IN PALM BEACH

The town is a 29-kilometre stretch along a barrier island off the eastern coast of Florida. It is no wider than 1.2 kilometres and narrows to about 150 metres at points, covering an area of 27 square kilometres, of which only 10 is land. The rest is water. Oh, and there is sunshine everywhere.
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Montreal designer Scott Yetman renovates this Mediterannean-style home in Florida

 

BY BRENDA O’FARRELL

PHOTOGRAPHY: AARON THOMPSON

STYLING: SCOTT YETMAN

 

Have you ever thought of living in Palm Beach? Just imagine.

The town is a 29-kilometre stretch along a barrier island off the eastern coast of Florida. It is no wider than 1.2 kilometres and narrows to about 150 metres at points, covering an area of 27 square kilometres, of which only 10 is land. The rest is water. Oh, and there is sunshine everywhere.

Frequently featured in the news during the past year, the island is the site of the Mar-a-Lago estate owned by U.S. President Donald Trump, which he often refers to as his “Winter White House.”

According to the latest census, Palm Beach has slightly more than 10,000 residents, of which more than half are over the age of 65.

But Scott Yetman sees that shifting. He’s a Montreal-based interior designer and owner of Scott Yetman Design. He does about 30 per cent of his business in Florida, and says Palm Beach is experiencing a youthful resurgence.

It is with that trend in focus that he set out to remodel a prime luxury home that is going to hit the market with an asking price of $8.8 million. It’s a six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, two-storey Mediterranean-style house. To bring the project to fruition, the designer worked with builder Sciame Homes of Palm Beach and with architect Benjamin Schreier of Affiniti Architects in Boca Raton.

“It’s a fresh, young version of a classic Palm Beach home,” Yetman says of the project.

When asked if it would be a perfect second home, his response: “Or third, or fourth or fifth.” Welcome to the no-worries, privileged lifestyle of Palm Beach.

The home, which was originally built in the 1950s, has been completely remodeled and updated. Yetman refashioned it for a young family, or an older couple who has grandchildren. “I’m trying to create a younger, more modern Palm Beach look,” he says. And that starts with creating energy. “I really like the living room. There’s energy between the colours – the black and the white.”

The setting is all white, including the pecky cypress-clad ceiling. As Yetman explains, “It gave it a fresher approach to paint it.” The black is introduced via accents and art. Many of the dramatic works displayed on the walls and atop the limestone fireplace mantel are on lease from a local gallery, giving the new owners the option of keeping them for now, changing them up later, or buying them.

Quality art pieces give the home a curated look, Yetman says, which adds to the vibe in the home.

The designer also created his signature coffered ceilings in the kitchen and dining areas. This is a feature that provides both function and form, he says, allowing for a practical way to install ductwork, while creating a “layered effect” that “gives the room texture.”

During the renovation, a new bank of wide patio doors was added to the dining room, giving access to the outdoors almost across the entire side of the home, stretching along the living room, dining room, kitchen and breakfast-nook area.

The doors access an open terrace off the living room and a covered outdoor space off the dining room, as well as the swimming pool, which has been refurbished. Yetman says the outdoor furniture is treated very much like that in the interior rooms, with a mix of styles to create inviting spaces that have charm and sophistication. “It adds another room to the house,” he says.

The kitchen is another area where the energy is amplified with the use of black and white. The oversized black range hood, with its molded frame, commands attention. The contrast with the almost all-white surroundings, and the strategic use of black accents and details creates the contrast that gives the space a fresh, modern feeling. The three-dimensional marble-tile backsplash provides interesting texture.

And what would a Florida home be without a master bedroom in which French doors open onto a private courtyard? Surrounded by walls of hedging, this outdoor space is an oasis.

The house was designed and is intended to be sold with all the furniture. Or, as Yetman says: “There is nothing to do. It’s ready to roll.”

His take on the newer, younger look to Palm Beach living could gain traction. “I’m not completely trying to change things; I’m trying to update them,” he says.

“For most people, they could imagine themselves living there.”

Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about living in Palm Beach? Go ahead, imagine.

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