Step Inside a Revitalized Palm Beach Manse

It’s hardly news when a historic Palm Beach estate undergoes an extensive restoration, unless of course, one of the design world’s leading dignitaries is reimagining the residence as a retreat for her own family. AD100 designer Victoria Hagan and her husband, businessman Michael Berman, were looking for an airy beach house when Hagan fell for a 1920s Tudor whose hectic layout lacked finesse. “It was dark and needed work, but I loved how it sat on the property; it stretched from East to West and had a beautiful pitched roofline,” says Hagan. While Berman didn’t see the appeal, he trusted that Hagan’s unshakable aesthetic of perfectly scaled, tranquil interiors would turn what appeared to be an insurmountable task into an opportunity.

Hagan and husband Michael Berman (standing) with their two sons, Alex and Harry, in the family room. Custom sofa in a Kravet fabric; pair of bespoke armchairs from Pirela Atelier (left); pair of ’70s armchairs found at the Paris flea market; gilt bronze and marble coffee table purchased at auction; rug from Mansour.

Hanging Butterfly Lantern

Victoria Hagan Petal Fabric

Obsessive research into the house’s history served as a spiritual prelude to Hagan’s design process. “The investigation period gave me more time to fall in love with the project, which is important because my heart is connected to my imagination,” she says. Built in the mid-1920s, the house was not attributed to an architect but was designed in the English style. Its steep pitched roof recalled the work of New York architect Roger Bullard (1884–1935) who designed East Hampton’s Maidstone Club, several private estates on Long Island, and other high-profile commissions. Soon thereafter the house was severely damaged by the 1928 hurricane and renovated months later. Eventually the roof was changed to red tile in an effort to make it better relate to the island’s Mediterranean homes, and in the 1960s, half-timber framing was added, creating an architectural mixed message that Hagan was eager to clarify.

The living room features a coffee table and club chairs by Victoria Hagan Collections as well as a custom sofa from...

The living room features a coffee table and club chairs by Victoria Hagan Collections as well as a custom sofa from Classic Design in Holly Hunt fabric and Walker Zabriskie leather chairs.

Art: Todd Mossman/Swoon

Timothy Oulton Cloud Slope Arm Sofa

Original plans showed a tunnel that ran under South Ocean Boulevard connecting the property to the beach. “I was really fascinated by the idea of having underground beach access and became a Nancy Drew about it,” says Hagan. “During construction I asked contractors and gardeners to keep an eye out for it, but no one found it, which made no sense as it was in the original house plans.”

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