- The Hamptons
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Orange County
- Palm Beach
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Silicon Valley
- Washington, D.C.
A House of a Different Color
By Shayne Benowitz | Photo: by Nick Garcia | Interiors by A. Keith Powell Interior | July 24, 2018
Alexander De La Torre paints boldly to create a uniquely theatrical family home.
“I’ve always been ahead of my time with color,” says Alexander De La Torre, the self-taught interior designer behind A. Keith Powell Interior. “I was putting acid green and chocolate brown together a decade ago. I have a love-hate relationship with orange.” (By the end of our conversation, it’s clear that the scales have tipped toward citrus-love.) The way he describes color has a particular verve. Favorites include pale blue turquoise, apple green, deep eggplant, lavender pale gray, crazy pink and ivory Cadillac metallic pearlescent.
He even managed to use subdued tones of his beloved apple green and pale lavender as neutrals in the 5,500-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bathroom home in the Abacoa community of Jupiter. The husband founded a popular chain of barbecue restaurants across Palm Beach, and De La Torre describes him as “the most spiritual, cool guy you ever met. He meditates and does yoga for two and a half hours every day. He really believes in karma and paying it forward.”
What followed from that mindset was an Asian-accented home with a warm environment that the family could grow into and enjoy together, not necessarily a hub for entertaining. “They had specific ideas, but nonspecific implementation,” De La Torre explains. And so the designer went to work, drawing inspiration from the home’s Mediterranean architecture, as well as vintage glamour with touchstones from the glittery 1970s and Hollywood movie sets from the 1930s. “It’s not traditional in any sense of the word,” De La Torre says. “I wanted to turn it upside down and do something completely different.”
An eye-catching Rick Lee “pale blue turquoise” sectional sofa anchors the family room; the broad brush of color is orbited by a pair of vintage 1960s Berger chairs upholstered in shiny avocado ultrasuede, as well as reflective surfaces like a mirrored and black lacquer console and glass bunching tables. De La Torre called upon his apple green neutral in the Venetian plaster walls. And somehow, the iridescent, large-format tile floors with glints of green, russet brown and orange manage to tie the composition together. De La Torre’s point of pride is that “nothing outshines anything else in the room.” With a laugh, he attributes his yen for balance amid a seemingly chaotic swirl of colors as “a gift from God.”
The living room, with its baroque ornamental fireplace, is another tableau of saturated color. Here, his use of orange wins you over with a pair of vintage 1930s armchairs upholstered in tangerine velvet. There are burnt-orange window sheers and a tart confection of orange throw pillows atop a custom sofa in Donghia quilted pale lavender linen. With a glamorously moody faux fur throw and glittery mosaic archways leading into the dining room, it’s here that De La Torre says he channeled the iconic Norma Desmond character from the 1950 noir classic Sunset Boulevard.
The double-sided fireplace connects the living room to the dining room via a lavish mantel. Here, De La Torre plays with texture in a space that’s largely monochromatic (dark chocolate and white, save for that orange window sheer). A custom cascading capiz shell chandelier presides above a sturdy square hardwood table, and custom klismos chairs are upholstered in white leathered lizard.
He even manages to create a showstopping vignette in the hallway leading to the powder room with flocked wallpaper in metallic silver and purple rosettes, a delicate custom chandelier with dyed green crystals and an artful altar with a bronze Buddha statuette and red pillar candles.
And for the free-standing guest cottage, it’s a stand-alone panoply of some of De La Torre’s favorite colors: turquoise-painted walls, “crazy pink” silk chairs and throw pillows and an apple green boucle sofa and kitchen chairs—all anchored by an area rug swirling in these colors and more.
So what do his clients think of the implementation of his self-described “modern eclectic” aesthetic in their home? “They’re ecstatic,” De La Torre says. “It’s so beyond the scope of what they were thinking. They love the color, texture and glamour of it and they love coming home to something that’s so different.” Call it Hollywood exotic; call it cinematic. Like one of its inspirations—Norma Desmond—this is one singular home ready for its close-up.
A. Keith Powell Interior
Living room sofa and floor lamp, dining room chairs and buffet
Guest cottage sofas
Living room cocktail table
Living room mirrored side table, guest cottage console
Living room and dining room window sheers
Family room glass end tables
Living room mahogany side table
Hallway flocked wallpaper
Family room sectional sofa
Guest cottage rug
Living room and dining room curtains
SURYA & CO.
Living room rug