Robb Report – Luxury Home
Anthony Ingrao and Randy Kemper bring a colorful twist to Palm Beach
In Palm Beach, the land of Lily Pulitzer – where what passes for bold design often involves eye-popping tropical color and oversize foliage-print fabrics – Anthony Ingrao and Randy Kemper have earned the right to say, “I dare you.” Who else, after all, would paint a room black in this seaside playground or carpet an enormous living room in white goatskin?
But that sort of daring is exactly what the client, who had already hired the firm to decorate his New York residence (they are currently redoing his Hamptons home as well), was looking for. “He likes very strong statements,” Kemper observes of the fortysomething banker,” and he likes very eclectic mix of things, with a sense of both old and new, of historic and modern.”
The typical Spanish-style home had all the usual ornate touches, as well as spaces so vast that, says Kemper, “they could feel kind of vacant.” The aim, he explains, “was to make everything we did extremely bold to balance those spaces with frame.” To wit: The den’s walls were painted jet black, and the room was anchored with 18-foot lipstick-red Ghost sofa from Interiolgy that features four-foot-deep seating. “No one paints a room black in Palm Beach,” says Kemper with an insouciant laugh.
“Tony’s and Randy’s use of color and their expert mixing of boldly patterned and subtler fabrics create an envelope in which radically different elements live in blissful harmony.”
– Christopher Hyland
Other techniques that would seem outlandish in these generally conservative Southern climes include that all-white living room carpeted in goatskin and housing objects as disparate and unexpected as a Calder tapestry. Danish 1050s chairs by Ole Wanchser, a python-covered ottoman by Karl Springer, a Jean Royère fire screen, a 1970s enameled steel table by Paul Evans and not one, but two 19th-century red-lacquered cabinets. The breakfast room is draped in diaphanous grey flannel with a table centrepiece made from two slabs of concrete topped with glass. The library teeters on the edge of pattern overkill, juxtaposing the graphic brown and white circles and squares of a Victoria Hagan’s linen fabric with smaller circles and squares of a colorful Aubusson-weave carpet from Paris.
“Finally someone is doing real electric that you can live with, understand and want to be a part of.” says Christopher Hyland. “Tony’s and Randy’s use of color and their expert mixing of boldly patterned and subtler fabrics create an envelope in which radically different elements live in blissful harmony.”
The stark contrast of black and white adds repeated graphic punch throughout the house – in the dining room’s striped chairs, in the master bedroom’s Christian Liaigre bed, and in exquisite photography, such as a portrait of Merce Cunningham by Chuck Close and dramatically cropped equestrian pictures by Steven Klein. But Ingrao and Kemper always balance potential sickness of these elements, keeping things grounded in reality with organic textures – a twig wall sculpture by Michael Taylor in the black den, a wallcovering made of individual strips of wood in the master bedroom. The result is rooms that are as approachable as they are elegant.
Jorge S. Arango
Photography by Druce Buck
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