On Thursday, I wrote about a charming 640-square-foot Palm Beach maisonette, decorated by the gracious and oh-so-talented Mimi McMakin, founder of Kemble Interiors. After my post, Ms. McMakin sent me such a sweet note of thanks which made my day, and she informed me of an interview she had conducted for the Summer 2013 issue of flower magazine! The feature also includes a glimpse of the Palm Beach maisonette owner’s other Palm Beach home… more on that in one moment!
But first, let’s start with Mimi McMakin. A fourth-generation Palm Beacher, McMakin inherited her love for interior decorating through her mother who had a passion for arranging flowers and furniture. In turn, she passed down her creativity to both of her daughters. Renowned interior decorator Celerie Kemble heads up Kemble Interiors’ New York office, and Phoebe Kemble is a Le Cordon Bleu chef who has opened the newest branch of Kemble Interiors in London.
When McMakin first married and was living in New York, she worked for a company where her primary job was to return materials that had been borrowed from a design center. This piqued her interest, and when she and her husband eventually moved back to Palm Beach, she worked for two well-known decorating firms—Smith Knudson and then Polly Jessup, who was the grande dame Palm Beach decorator, and a contemporary of Sister Parish. She opened Kemble Interiors in the mid-1980s, and the rest is history.
Now let’s head back to Palm Beach’s Major Alley! The owners of the maisonette I featured on Thursday also own a second residence just across the alley path that they use as their pied-à-terre. Here is a picture of the “colorful cantaloupe living room,” as McMakin described it.
Alley, a Palm Beach treasure, consists of two rows of Bermuda-style bungalows
built in 1925 by renowned Palm Beach architect Howard Major.
portrait above the mantle is by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the shell-encrusted mantle imparts a bit of Florida flair.
owners brought the paining that now hangs over the mantle from their home in
London. While a bit “serious” for Palm Beach, decorators McMakin and
Brooke Hutting added some lightheartedness with the brightly colored walls, plush matelassé
covered sofa, and club chairs. They lightened the bergères, originally in
a green finish, with new linen upholstery in antique white.
wonderful feature of the home is an enclosed terrace that makes an ideal spot
for dining. The mosaic tiled table is custom-painted with scenes from Château de Malmaison in
France, the former home of Empress Joséphine.