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March, 2014:

FRENCH CITY VILLAGE IN FLORIDA

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

I do often fantasize about owning a tropical villa, and with so many design opportunities popping up for me in Florida, it’s hard not to want to think of a home there for myself!

I’ve loved Palm Beach Regency style homes for some time—like Maurice Fatio’s “Villa Today” and the houses designed by Clarence Mack—consequently in my Palm Beach and Miami exploration, it seemed natural that I should begin by visiting the fabulous “French City Village” in Coral Gables designed by legendary architect Mott B. Schmidt.

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

Built in 1925, “French City Village” became part of George Merrick’s master plan for the development of Coral Gables. Merrick’s stylistically integrated community brought together a really superb selection of architects. Marion Syms Wyeth created the Dutch South African Village, which is terribly chic and rather perfect for Southern Florida, but I have to say I’m more drawn to Schmidt’s Neo-Classical small-villa-like houses, executed in a somewhat 18th century French style with walled courtyards and gardens.

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

It should be evident by the images I’m including here that many of these estates are in need of rescue (which of course brings out the romantic in me!).

Coral Gables, Fl

Coral Gables, Miami

I am looking forward to seeing how these thoughts unfold as I continue to explore other enclaves that might be perfect for indulging my tropical villa fantasies. In the meantime I am having so much fun with all of this and I hope you are too.

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SHOPPING WITH SUPER CHIC CLIENTS IN PALM BEACH

James Andrew Palm Beach

James Andrew, Palm Beach

Well, I am back from a rather peripatetic Florida excersion  – with a whole lot of dashing about between Palm Beach, Miami, and Jupiter.

I met so many wonderful new people and I was pleased to touch base with many of my old friends and clients as well. I did manage to get some work done during my visit, and since I’ve been decorating for my Florida clients for quite some years, I’ve amassed a pretty grand list of go-to design resources there. This has become quite handy for filling in some missing pieces that I’ve had a hard time finding here in the big apple.

The fact is, my vocation and vacations are nearly always inextricably intertwined (quite indistinguishable at times). On this trip I had great fun spending a day with a super chic client in Jupiter, who’s magnificent house I’m decorating. We hit all the hot spots in Palm Beach, had a lovely lunch, and then headed over to antique row on South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach where we scooped up several sensational pieces! I can’t wait to get this project completed – the look I’m going for is total tropical glam. It’ll be a spectacular show-piece to publish.

Photographed on Via Parigi, one of Palm Beaches magical little vias off of Worth Avenue, I’m sporting a Tom Ford mango silk “Spencer” jacket, fuschia cotton/silk pants, abstract floral silk pocket square in pinks, pale pink mini check shirt with French cuffs, Ralph Lauren orange suede espadrilles, vintage Rolex, shell and coral cuff links, and my fragrance is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

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FLORIDA FLAIR

A teaser from our sunny sojourn. Stay tuned!

A teaser from our sunny sojourn. Stay tuned!