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First Step: begin where?

Have you heard the phrase "every designer needs a designer?"   Clients inspire us with their love of family, passion for cherished collections, or simply their need for a refreshed space.  With client personalities and goals in mind,  we designers have our creative outlet. Personally though? Old and new, quiet with a touch of je ne sais quoi, fresh, mulit-layered,,, ah yes, options galore.  I ADORE color and need it in my life as much as cut flowers on the table... especially when the San Francisco fog ventures forth.  These two photos taken in Paris are inspiring the color direction for my studio. The "cornflower blue" of the ceiling is a wonderful counter balance to the green of the walls wouldn't you agree?



Addison Mizner: The Genius Behind Palm Beach Style (republish of our article from 2015).


Robert Stern stated it perfectly when describing Addison Mizner's philosophy...

"Without the magic of architecture, real estate would be (so much) land"


Addison Mizner...  visionary, adventurer, plantation owner, miner of gold, artist, writer, heavyweight boxing competitor, knighted by Hawaii's Queen; and apprentice/ partner with Willis Polk in San Francisco...

By all standards, today he would be a rock star.  Larger than life, Addison gave Americains his heart, soul, and physical labor while creating an uniquely new style of tropical architecture.

His ultimate domaine was to be in Florida, specifically Palm Beach although his projects can be found in New York and even California.

Born into a prominant Californian family of diplomats he was raised internationally; and it was the relocation to Guatemala which would enflame his artistic senses. Addison Mizner's love of beauty was in his genes.  His great grand uncle was Sir Joshua Reynolds, the famed English landscape painter. Inbetween classes at Instituto Nacional, young Addison would immerse himself in sketching while exploring the streets and villages.  Politics be it national or international, was not for this future architect. Give Addison antique panels, fresco tiles, and exotic travel!   Resignation and acceptance of their son's calling; Addison was sent to Spain's University of Salamanca in 1892 where 16th and 17th century architecture would consume his free time.  And most likely it is here he began to form his mantra "authenticity, authenticity, authenticity".  Over those first years Adddison made smart investments both in his skills and in his finances.  Samoa, China and the Far East, Hawaii, Mexico, Guatamala, Spain, Portugal... By the time his career formalized, he drew on all his experieces to create thoughtful and authentic architecture... giving a sense of patrimoine to each of his buildings and the necessary "silent touches of time" to new structures.

Cantilevered spiral staircase, native worm-eaten cypress wood known as "pecky cypress" for beams and antique panels from a Spanish church.  Roof tiles would be made by hand using one's knee to shape as Addison had learned abroad.  The world was his oyster and Addison Mizner's conduit was his architecture!



Personal Photo of The Breakers


But this is the tip of the iceberg regarding Palm Beach's architectural heritage and Addison Mizner. 


Addison Mizner with Paris Singer and his wife established "Las Manos Plant" Mizner Industries. Think of having your own atelier(s) be it furniture, hand made decorative tiles and frescos, iron forging, lighting, or any other architectural element is handcrafted for your clients' home.  No details were overlooked with the vast majority of his designs coming from the wealth of knowledge he had gained while apprenticing and traveling the world.   2000 year old Tunisian tiles Mizner collected over a twenty year period or coffin handles made into knobs. Anything was possible to this creative genius.


Lagoons, breezeways...  Every aspect of his tuterage was to be used in creating these grand estates which ran the width of Palm Beach Island.   What you and I see now are sadly just remnants of his creations.

 We have The Everglades, The Cloisters, The Boca Raton Resort & Club, and his own La Ronda in Bryn Mawr sadly demolished in 2009.  

Such sizeable homes...Casa Florencia, El Mirasol, and La Playa Riente...over time became unfashionable or too laborous to keep up.  Interestingly enough, this seems to happen all too frequently.  Then, after the fact, regret and conservation begin.

The island of Palm Beach ia a melange of Spanish, Moorish, French, Italianate, and Classical styles.


            Courtesy of "Florida Architecture of Addison Mizner"


Courtesy of "Florida Architecture of Addison Mizner"




Personal Photos

Designed with the Venetian concept in mind, Addison imagined Worth Avenue as the "canal for cars docked" with the side streets such as Via Mizner and Via Parigi for strolling, sipping an aperitif, or shopping.


    Personal Photo-  I love it when conservation meets nature in such an organic way

            and becomes sculptural.

Gardens of tropical plantings are hidden behind luscious green hedges twenty plus feet in height.

This greenery equates coolness no matter what the barometer displays as truth.

With its tropical breezes and 25 miles per hour speed limit,  

Robert Stern stated it perfectly when describing Addison Mizner's philosophy...

"Without the magic of architecture real estate is just (so much) land"



                                                          Palm Beach Sunrise

Anyone who lives facing West is accustomed to magnificent sunsets.  Here, sunrises are well worth confronting the intrusive alarm clock.  There is much more to share with you about this Renaissance man who gave Americans a reason to stay home and enjoy a "stateside" holiday.  

It is my hope that you will be in awe and stimulated to read more about the remarkable Addison Mizner.  


Fortuny Mosaics

Certain things are timeless and only get better with age

evolving and staying "au courant".  

Fortuny is definitely this. Their mosaics now allow us to create

"wall art" for any space. Options abound being tempered

by the client's wishes.  And yes, perhaps budget.






Being authentic...

Safeguarding a cherished piece found on holiday, inherited, or made by a family member...  

Authenticity drives us... beautiful and easy living is the end result for you, our clients!




Inspiration and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Inspiration surrounds us

Think of the writer desperate for his voice... but lacking, perhaps, his muse! We as designers and you as home owners are blessed in these times of the digital revolution.  Blogs, social media, and online magazines vie for your attention.  And with the phones/camera... well, let's just say the reference library has no excuse for "being inactive".

MOMA gave me much to click away at. Yes, it is seven floors which thankfully they astutely organized for the concentrated art lover. The third floor has a coffee bar, Living Wall, and a Sculpture Terrace.  Café 5 on the fifth floor has indoor/outdoor seating and is surrounded by another Sculpture Garden.   And, again, yes,there is a Sculpture Terrace on the seventh floor. Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Takeshi Murata; German Artists, Pop Artists, and the Art of Northern CA; and "Typeface to Interface" are just some of the venues to explore.

In six hours we still missed some galleries so please plan accordingly and have fun!





Done in elongated triangles by the artist, Leonor Antunes, this could inspire a partition for a loft or even drapery done in panels.


The three above photos are of individual snowflakes photographed under a microscope.  Wouldn't they make great tiles? Who would think of photographing a snowflake?  What a brilliant idea.

The Living Wall and Sculpture Terrace on the Third Floor as seen from the Alexander Calder Motion Lab exposition.

A pear, an avocado, a capsule from space, or a hot air balloon?  The hammered detailing is terrific as is the starburst quality.  

Roughly measuring 24'H x 36'W, this corn yellow painting is dynamic in its vibrancy; and inspires many ideas. You could give your budding live-in artist carte-blanche and also with ???

Vibrant clean lines and beautiful colors is how I always think of Wayne Thiebaud's work. This is the gift he gave his students.  A love for simplicity and beauty in this world... with a touch of humor!


Tires, wood, steel, and cement... reminds us of the old villages known for their trulli or singular trullo meaning cone shaped forms.. 

One subject in all its glorious fun colors.  A real play on line!


And, another play on line.  This painting is one of a series in which the line and/or lack of is the subject. White, beige, deep blue with gold leaf, and cream play out when matched individually with line and space.