For a family of four from Manhattan, the lure of true indoor-outdoor living proved too much to resist during the pandemic, and they found exactly that lifestyle in Palm Beach, Florida, in a beautiful home located just steps from the ocean.

“They literally are across the street from the beach,” says Jennifer Mehditash, principal and owner of the New York- and Newport Beach, California-based Mehditash Design.

The house presented some initial challenges in the form of its layout, with features like a too-large entryway with lots of unusable space and a small living room that was cut off from the kitchen. So the clients tapped Mehditash, along with Jupiter, Florida-based architecture and construction firm Thomas Melhorn and Palm Beach-based landscape architect Environment Design Group, to reimagine the home inside and out. 

Clever transformations

The team transformed the front entryway and stairwell from a space that was “sort of empty and not very welcoming” into one that not only made an architectural statement with the reconfigured stairs, but also added storage and functionality with vestibule-style laundry room and powder room and did so with incredible style.

Mehditash loves the powder room’s geometric, black, white, and gray tiles that cover the floor and the bottom half of the walls, as well as the “surprise” of custom glitter grout. Those same black-and-white geometric materials repeat in the family room on the coffee table and the marble sideboard that was custom made in Portugal.

Throughout the downstairs Venetian plaster on the walls gives a beautiful, textured finish. A too-small TV and fireplace wall and oddly configured entryway from the living room to the main bedroom were reworked by creating vestibules on either side of the TV and fireplace that are camouflaged with wide, shiplap-planked doors.

When the doors are closed, it gives the feeling of a single, wide wall, but each door opens to something different: the main bedroom on one side with a more private entrance, and a pretty, “jewel box” home office on the other.

Maximize Space 

In addition to maximizing space in the entryway and living room, the team also opened up the space between the kitchen and living room areas, allowing for a customized kitchen island and bar area, as well as a custom built-in banquette wall dining space.

The kitchen is bright and clean, with a large, custom walnut and marble island and cabinetry that extends to the ceiling, along with pops of interest from large gold-accented globe pendants hanging over the island; a coffee bar in a black metal finish; bursts of color from vintage Murano glass pieces; and a zinc table that’s not only beautiful but sturdy, letting the family’s kids “live their best life on it,” Mehditash says.

Throughout the house, more color and visual interest come from pieces from artists like James Perkins, Sarah Meyohas, Paul Kneale, and Rachel Lee Hovnanian from Voltz Clarke Gallery in New York and County Gallery in Palm Beach.

Indoor-outdoor living 

Part of Palm Beach’s appeal is its indoor-outdoor lifestyle, and the team wanted to create those moments wherever they could throughout the house. “We really wanted there to be that indoor-outdoor living experience,” Mehditash says.

In addition to enlarging the pool and making improvements to the outdoor lounge and loggia dining space, the team used large, windowed doors from the company Brombal that swing wide open onto the pool from the living room, kitchen, and main bedroom and that Mehditash calls a “key feature.”

“The most important thing was opening up the windows and having those windows be stackable,” Mehditash says. “All those back sliding doors open up and stack and so you really do feel like you’re in the outside when you’re in the living room.”

Those touches of the outdoors are echoed in other ways, too, from the natural, cool-toned European oak flooring; to the main bathroom’s rainfall shower; to wallpaper in the bedrooms (think green palm fronds and blue-and-white wave pattern); to the surfboards that not only stand in as décor but that the family really uses; to the performance fabrics that won’t be ruined if someone sits down with a damp bathing suit. “It’s definitely a put-your-feet-up kind of house, while still looking very chic and elevated,” Mehditash says.