Palm Beach homes, Palm Beach gardens and Palm Beach life, written by a Palm Beach girl – someone with stories to share and the kind of access you only get when you’re a lifelong friend.
The book is Palm Beach Chic (The Vendome Press, 312 pages, $75), a gorgeous volume that’s witty, understated and urbane – much like Palm Beach itself.
Author Jennifer Ash Rudick moved to the island when she was 12, and gives us the insider-est possible perspective on the homes, their histories and their occupants. The book (graced with jaw-dropping photographs by Jessica Klewicki Glynn) celebrates the architects, interior designers and garden designers who’ve made each home perfect.
“Since its early days,” Rudick notes, “Palm Beach has been synonymous with awe-inspiring structures.” Awe-inspiring, yes, and anything but cookie-cutter. You think you know what a Palm Beach mansion looks like? Not possible. Whether a Regency estate, a Mid-Century Modern apartment, or a “surf shack” on Billionaire’s Row, the only standard is excellence.
Inside the description of each house is the description of the way life is lived in each house: “Days are spent en famille,” Rudick writes in the chapter about the Gumdrop House. “The mornings begin on the eastern loggia with coffee… tennis is at 11:30, followed by a buffet lunch on the western loggia at 1:30.” So very civilized.
And then there are the laugh-out-loud stories. Chronicling the massive renovation at Casa Amado: “A rustling in the entry hall turned out to be a fox the size of a German shepherd.” Moving into a vintage second-floor Worth Avenue flat: “Their belongings had to be hoisted through a window by crane. ‘We’re never leaving. We can’t!’ says the wife.”
Interior fabrics and furnishings are meticulously sourced. And the art… oh, the art.
These homes are showplaces, every one, without a hint of conspicuous consumption. Each chapter is a vignette in one grand Palm Beach story. In the end, it all comes down to one thing: Taste. Exquisite taste.