weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of conducting a phone
interview with renowned
designer, Mimi McMakin, founder of Kemble Interiors, Inc. Today, Ms. McMakin represents the Palm Beach
operations of Kemble Interiors, while her daughter, Celerie Kemble, heads up
the New York office.
would so graciously give up 30 minutes of her time to chat with a fledgling
blogger such as myself. I had emailed her PR department asking for some images,
and the next thing I know, I’m actually speaking with MIMI MCMAKIN, direct from
her incredible “rustic chic” home in the Adirondacks, featured here in House Beautiful.
accommodating. She made me feel like I was as important as a reporter from House Beautiful! I love this quote from
the Kemble Interiors website…
flowers and Southern friendliness. Our family has been here for more than 120
years.” – Mimi McMakin
it is. And nothing beats good ol’
Southern hospitality, Mimi McMakin-style.
Interiors, Inc. was founded in 1982 by Palm Beach native Mimi Maddock McMakin. McMakin
has been recognized for her distinctive fusion of whimsy with respectful
restoration in many a storied Mizner, Volk, and Urban designed estate or club.
Kemble claims her childhood was in many ways a design tutorial spent around
construction sites, antique stores, and in the unique homes designed by her
mother. A graduate of Harvard, Celerie has since spent the past 15 years
cultivating a portfolio of much publicized residential and commercial interiors
that are as unique and diverse as her clientele. But more on the fabulous Celerie Kemble to come!
her former business partner Brooke Huttig
Today we will tour one my favorite places in the
entire world… a sleepy island hide-away that transports you back in time. I am taking you to Boca Grande, FL, located
on the Grand Barrier Island called Gasparilla, and best described as a step
back into “Old Florida.” It is a carefully preserved part of Florida’s history and beauty, and a
well-kept secret retreat for second home owners, visitors, local residents, and
food restaurants, no chain stores, and no traffic lights. Billboards
and other exterior advertising are banned by the Conservation District.
sand beach, world class fishing, golf, tennis, and fine food. But most of all, they come for the privacy
and unprecedented peace and tranquility this little-known island hideaway
affords. In Boca Grande, there are no traffic jams, as golf carts are
the preferred method of transportation to tool around the tiny island measuring
about seven miles long, and only one mile across at its widest.
home owners and regular visitors have included the DuPonts, Vanderbilts, J.P.
Morgan, Katherine Hepburn, George Steinbrenner, and the Bush families. And of
course, Mimi McMakin, who has been renovating the Gasparilla Inn – piece by piece
– for nearly a decade.
that they wanted an update but not a complete change,” said McMakin. This is a
beloved structure, and we were guided by what was already there.”
pillared entrance and into the lobby, guests experience the feeling of Florida
as it was meant to be. You are instantly embraced with the tranquil civility of
a time that once was — and still is — at this classic resort.
destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast since 1913, and remains one of the largest surviving resort
hotels in Florida. Constructed originally for wealthy vacationing northerners, 100
years later it is still the center of village life on Gasparilla Island.
spends each Fourth of July week on this magical island. The first time I
visited the Gasparilla Inn, I fell in love with the décor full of pinks,
greens, chintz, wicker, rattan, shells and shell encrusted chandeliers, mirrors
by Lee Jofa
shells and palm fronds,” said McMakin.
“It’s very Old Florida.”
the shadowbox art, comprised of local shells.
impact. For example, this sitting room
is beyond charming with its pink and green detail, and fabulous flamingo art…
use?” asked McMakin. “Stuff it with sea shells!”
“We used as much of the existing wicker as
possible,” said McMakin. “If we made a
change, we tried to duplicate with a great eye to the past.”
following images are courtesy of Kemble Interiors, Inc.:
backgammon tables in rattan.
covered in fabulous palm frond upholstery.
slats there are schools of fish! “I love
toying with imagination,” said McMakin. “Something can be functional and
playful at the same time.”
room with real candles, and fresh orchids hang on the columns.
restaurant are by Marcia Wendel. The hand-painted murals capture the essence of
the Islands’ waterway, birds and mangroves.
a popular gathering place to enjoy favorite beverages and tasty snacks. The
adjoining outdoor terrace is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful
views of the fifth green of The Gasparilla Golf Club, as well as Charlotte
Harbor in the distance. Among the many signature beverages on the menu are
Gaspartinis, Mojitos and Planter’s Punch.
charming main Inn.
accommodations from 17 private cottages and villas. All cottage and villa
accommodations are located just steps away from the main Inn and provide the
option of parlors. Some also have screened porches, lanais or fireplaces;
others have kitchenettes.
with changing facilities and a sparkling white sand beachfront. A spacious,
glass enclosed dining room for lunch and late afternoon food and beverage
service is also available to resort guests.
provides spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico to enhance your workout
experience. The Center is fully equipped with all the latest cardiovascular and
resistance training equipment. Comprehensive fitness classes are also offered
including Yoga, Zumba, water aerobics and CORE training.
The Pink Elephant – affectionately known as “The
Pink” – is one of Boca Grande’s premier eating and drinking
establishment, and it is within walking distance of the Inn. This charming
and casual restaurant has served great food, signature drinks and refined
service for over 60 years.
have compiled since our last visit. You
will note a definite pink theme ensconcing the island! Talk about paradise!!
a trip to the Pink Pony for some old fashioned, homemade ice cream.
Island. Instead, head to Hudson’s for
your gourmet cheese, organic foods, fresh fish, deli meats, and fine wines.
Check out the fabulous pink gas pump!
pink Jeep outside “The Palm on Park” Boca Grande’s Lilly Pulitzer
from Boca Grande.