Casual Elegance in Palm Beach
After two years of searching for a lakefront home in New Hampshire, and coming up dry, Ellen Hatton and her husband, Dean, took the natural next step. “We shifted our search to Southeast Florida,” says Hatton. “Our first weekend there, we saw this house and we both had the same reaction: ‘This is it!’”
Set along the Intracoastal Waterway, in the small town of Gulf Stream not far from Palm Beach, the house was a bit different from the longtime family home the couple was leaving behind in Connecticut. “Our previous home was very traditional,” says Hatton. “This was more transitional, with Caribbean air and a bit of British style, and the attention to detail was evident—in the woodwork, the finishes and the landscape. We knew it was the one for us.”
Acknowledging the coming together of the home’s interiors with its architecture, architect Wietsma notes, “When I first saw it finished, I was so taken by how beautiful it was.” In turn, Ellen shares, “I have to say it really exceeded my expectations. It was hard to leave our family home in Connecticut after 15 years. But I really grew to love working on this project, and the town of Gulf Stream is well-suited to us—so quaint and quiet yet close to the Delray Beach scene. Friends and family come down to visit us all the time, so it truly feels like home.”
The layout of the house had infinite potential for Hatton’s friend and mentor Nancy Green, a designer based in Connecticut and Florida, to help Hatton hone her design skills, as she was in the midst of launching her own interior design company. “The rooms are clearly defined with white walls, crown moldings, coffered ceilings, and mahogany and limestone floors,” shares architect William Wietsma, who designed the home and also served as general contractor along with partner William J. Lippolis II. “It’s very understated. Nancy and Ellen loved this approach because they could go to town on each room, without having to worry about making a transition from one room to the next.” Though the palette remained neutral here, crisp whites and oceanic hues were incorporated into other key spaces to help connect them with outdoor areas and those brilliant waterway vistas. In the main living room, for instance, the pair installed blue sofas and patterned chairs, and mixed in a few antiques and coral accent pieces, as well.