When Pamela Pipes decided it was time for a second home, her choice of Palm Beach, Fla., was guided by fond memories of visiting her grandfather who moved there in the 1950s. “What I wanted was the opposite of what I had in New Orleans,” says Pipes, who now splits her time between her native New Orleans and Palm Beach. “I liked everything Palm Beach represented: I love the beach. I love that it’s orderly and small. I love the simplicity of it.”
In just two days of looking for a place to hang her many hats (“I’m known for wearing hats,” she says), she found her tiny abode, once a fishing cottage, just a block from the beach. And with the mandate of starting fresh and filling it only with things she loved, she brought in her friend, designer Priscilla Jordan, to help her decorate.
“I didn’t bring one stick of furniture I already owned,” she says. “I started from scratch. Everything I brought into the house had to be an A+.”
A year and a half later, the house is a cheerful blend of colors and prints set against white slipcovers and mixed with antiques and paintings mostly found in the Palm Beach area. “A house has to be very livable, happy, light and airy,” she says. “Those are the components for me.” Room for her beloved dog, Bimmer, was also a must.
With space at a premium — the house has just 850 square feet — she and Jordan worked together to use every inch of available space creatively, enliven the white backdrop with lots of lively florals and patterned lampshades and work sentimental belongings into the mix. With an outdoor table and chairs, the secluded garden serves as a dining room and an office, and a compact chest in the living room doubles as a dining table for two when needed. Pipes’ signature hats are used as decorative items throughout the house. A wooden alligator given to her by her mother years ago hangs on the front door. “In a place this little, you have to be really smart,” Pipes says. “I’d have to ask, ‘Do you really have space for this?’ Less is so much more. It gets you back to the fundamentals. You’re not bogged down.”
The end result has received rave reviews from all who visit the home. “Every person who walks up to this house resonated with it,” Pipes says.
“It puts a smile on your face.”