Passersby don’t often see French-style châteaux while traveling along South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach. The exclusive road, known to locals as Billionaires Row, is resplendent with mansions, many hidden behind hedges, a few glistening in the sunlight. Thanks to its European facade, the stunning oceanfront estate at 530 South Ocean Boulevard looks like it has been in the neighborhood for hundreds of years.
The investment home, designed and built for English entrepreneur Sir Peter Wood by Smith and Moore Architects and Marc-Michaels Interior Design, is brimming with sumptuous surprises that greet you as you drive up to coconut trees fanning the motor court and step inside. “Because the house has lots of doors and windows, we used landscape to put an exclamation point on the entryway,” notes Keith Williams, principal at Nievera Williams Landscape Architecture. Besides the French style of the chateau, one of the property’s most notable nuances is its east-facing design. Thoughtful axial views are another unique feature, as are the steep gray slate roof and off-center placement of the swimming pool on the west side.
Wood built his personal house just across the road, on the site that once housed Jane and Jimmy Buffet and was subsequently owned by billionaire Jon Stryker. Stryker used the South Ocean Boulevard site for a garden. “I didn’t want some small, pokey place house was going to be built next door, I wanted to be part of it,” says Wood.
Wood’s request that the home project a feeling of having been developed over time set the tone for a unique project. The thoughtful design of the interior architecture follows this motif; traditional forms and moldings complement contemporary styling and high-gloss finishes. All elements lend to a timeless design with contemporary luxuries.
“Almost no expense was withheld. Every detail was extremely nicely appointed,” says Harold Smith, principal at Smith and Moore Architects, who also designed the Wood home. Stone trim was quarried and carved in Mexico, Luxbaum Merbau windows were sourced from Bali, and intricate moldings and fine finishes were part of the masterful design.
“We were looking to design a home with traditional Palm Beach elements while keeping it fresh and timeless for a potential buyer. We chose to create traditional details, like the white paneled foyer and iron stair railing, that would relate well to the traditional Palm Beach architecture of the home while mixing in some transitional elements, like the bold stone patterned floor in the foyer and stair,” notes Melissa Adair, senior project manager at Marc-Michaels Interior Design.
The foyer announces that you are entering a space carefully curated with an eye for detail. “We felt the foyer needed to feel like a statement area of the home, reflecting the home’s more transitional architecture,” says Adair. The walls are painted paneling, but the profile of the panel is a little more modern, with a beveled edge versus a traditional recessed panel. The flooring is the boldest statement. Adair notes that the team chose a stone pattern that is traditional but incorporated contrasting materials to give it more of a transitional feel. The design team also selected a crystal chandelier with an updated look, traditional furnishings, and modern art and accessories.
When passing through the foyer, there is a glimpse of the kitchen. A main feature of this room is the mirrored hood and herringbone-patterned, antiqued mirror backsplash. “We loved the dark charcoal contrasting paint color of the hood and wall cabinets, but we choose a mirror to keep the space open and reflective,” says Adair.
She notes that the living room and dining room have mirrored lightness and design. Arched openings relate to their adjacent arched exterior doors. An adjacent office, which is designed with rich wood paneling and paired with a lacquered coffer ceiling, creates a bold contrast to the formal living room. The bar provides a cohesive separation of the two spaces and incorporates the same wood paneling from the office in addition to the antique tile backsplash and marble slab countertops.
The design of the dining room relates to the architecture of the home. “The house features dark bronze arched doors and windows throughout, so we kept the feel of the arches in the dining room by arching all the openings from the hallway to match,” says Adair. Antiqued mirror and a mix of metal finishes were a reoccurring theme in the house. Due to the size of the dining room, the layout features two separate tables that can be placed together during large gatherings. The look was finished with a light blue lacquered ceiling and a pair of crystal chandeliers.
“What makes this house over-the-top is when you walk out on the second floor and see the panoramic views,” says Angie Janesheski Lehman, design associate at Smith and Moore Architects. She also notes the attention to finer points designed to make life seamless for the owners, including a compact smart keypad that allows users to control scenes and systems simply.
The master suite is tailored to today’s couple, with each allowed their own space. The expansive bedroom is flanked by his-and-her bathrooms with soaking tubs and balconies. “We liked the idea of creating an eye-catching feature when you walk into this room. The headboard detail was made with applied moldings that run up the wall and continue onto a portion of the ceiling. We chose to paint this detail a contrasting color to the walls. We also hung pendants above both nightstands, which help frame the bed,” says Adair.
A freestanding building invites the owners to customize the space for their own preferences, whether as a yoga studio or a cabana for the pool. The estate is designed for entertaining, with a beautiful bar, library space and wine cellar that lovingly fuses old-world elements with modern details.
“Every room feels like you can live in it,” says project manager Rick Burns of Davis General Contracting Corporation. “You feel like you can grab a book, sit down and relax. The team brought magic to the home that puts a smile on your face every time you walk through it.”
“If it was on the market before I built my house, I would have bought it in a heartbeat,” says Wood.
Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston magazine, Boston Common Magazine, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy. com, RD.com and many others. A lover of big words and little white dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found in life’s simple moments.