Friday, August 5, 2016

Leta Austin Foster Designs A 1930s Oceanfront Masterpiece

Leta Austin Foster is hands down one of my favorite interior designers, and today I am delighted to feature one of my all-time favorite homes by the Palm Beach-based designer. This 1930s Jupiter Island manse boasts exquisite ocean views which served as inspiration for the color palette. The result is a masterpiece that exemplifies Leta's signature timeless, elegant style... infused with a touch of Palm Beach whimsy.

Unless otherwise noted, photography is by Erik Kvalsvik from Traditional Interiors: Leta Austin Foster, Sally Giordano, & India Foster by Brian D. Coleman. Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith.

Hand-painted panels of Gracie wallpaper were designed to fit the panels of the dining room, one of Leta's favorite design tips.  Spider back chairs are a whimsical touch.

Leta is truly an artist when it comes to the details...  Here, scalloped silk pelmets are finished with a jabot and chou on each end, creating an elegant complement to the wallpaper panels.

Leta commissioned Thomas Messel to create the the Chinoiserie black lacquered chest, which beautifully displays the homeowner's collection of antique English porcelain. 

The drawing room was painted a beautiful aqua blue - Skylight by Farrow & Ball - with hand-painted Gracie panels as accents. 

The homeowner has an extensive collection of French and English antiques, which Leta showcased to perfection. 

To create a truly one-of-a-kind room, the trellised walls with stunning shell accents were designed and painted by Zenon Toczek. The furniture is upholstered in a linen from Bennison. 

Linen curtains with white coral trim frame ocean views. Tromp l'oeil treillage is painted around the perimeter of the ceiling. 

The shell and coral encrusted chandelier and sconces are by Thomas Messel.  

Artist Zenon Toczek painted this antique chest, inspired by Chinese watercolors. 

Ribboned appliqué from Penn & Fletcher accents the headboard, bedskirt, and sofa in the master bedroom. Sheer dotted-swiss panels surround the bed. 

A delicate pale pink bedroom features custom-dyed linen from Raoul Textiles and a custom bed with a trellis canopy and carved flowers winding up its posts. 

Image by Daniel Newcomb

A whimsical hand-painted trompe l'oeil tenting ceiling sets the tone of elegant fantasy in the entry hall. 

And of course, I adore a Pagoda-shaped pool house! 
Image by Daniel Newcomb

This Florida home is featured in Leta's exquisite book, Traditional Interiors (aka my design Bible), and in the Spring 2016 issue of Southern Home.  Isn't it an absolute dream? I think what I love most about Leta's style (and there is SO much to love) is the true timelessness of everything she does. These are rooms that will never go out of style. She stated via her fabulous blog, Decorating With Sheets...

"And that brings me to my philosophy.  Houses are NOT fashion.  They are not done with tricks.  No matter how many cunning articles (“101 ways to Use Aqua in Your House” “Fun Tricks with Aqua as shown by a Master”), a house should be decorated to last a l-o-o-o-ng time.  Decoration, especially good decoration, is just too expensive to try and be fashionable." 


  1. It is all so gorgeous, Andrea and the bedrooms are incredible. Happy weekend!

  2. Thanks to you, Andrea, I have her book and it is inspirational. This house is one of my favourites. Every room is absolutely delicious. She is the master of the wonderful detail, and has such exquisite taste. Her rooms are pretty, and we love pretty, don't we?

  3. Lena is a Palm Beach Treasure. Such a talent and she scours the antique shops on South Dixie. You can find her under a very large chic straw hat!

  4. The bedroom is all sorts of wonderful. I truly love your sourcing for your posts, you find treasures!


  5. Love every inch....she is such a talent, I know her rooms when I see them:) Have a great weekend!

  6. Truly spectacular! When I was preparing to graduate from design school (FIT under the old Parsons faculty) Leta had tried to lure me to PB to work for her! I decided to stay on in New York, but years later I attended one of her fabulous lectures at The Society of The Four Arts


Thank you for your lovely comments. They absolutely make my day!

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