Grand Floridian

Photographs by Todd Oldham

It’s hard to believe that before Joe Holtzman—founder of the dearly departed cult interiors magazine Nest—had his way with this Palm Beach apartment, it was, as his partner Carl Skoggard says, pretty much all “white on white on white.” After inheriting it from his parents two years ago, Holtzman set about decorating the two-bedroom, located on the ground floor of an oceanfront mid-rise, in his signature “cut and paste” style (this is a man, after all, who has such an affinity for obsession-as-décor that Nest’s debut issue featured a bedroom plastered with Farrah Fawcett memorabilia). The result is a phantasmagorical collage of Spanish Revival furnishings by South Florida icon Addison Mizner and a grab bag of treasures culled from shops along the Dixie Highway—contents of old Palm Beach mansions that he picked up for a song. Holtzman says he wanted to give a tongue-in-cheek nod to the “giddiness of Palm Beach style”; hence a pastiche of fish plates, lampshades as wall art, fifties furniture upholstered in a variety of antique bark-cloth textiles, not to mention the Styrofoam waves he installed on the living-room ceiling—“It gives me that ocean roll in there,” he says. Holtzman and Skoggard split their time between this apartment, a house in upstate New York, and a place in the city. These days, Holtzman works full-time as a painter, preparing for a show at the Berkeley Art Museum that will open next fall.* (Click here for a look at Holtzman’s recent painting on marble.) And while he keeps the curtains drawn most of the time (the locals who’ve gotten a peek as they walk by are on the whole not fans of the unapologetic color scheme), Holtzman does get a kick out of perusing the Shiny Sheet, Palm Beach’s society paper. That crowd is certainly not one with which he and Skoggard run, both of them happy to remain hermitlike in their old-fashioned lair. Says Holtzman, “The apartment is so grandma, but that’s what I like.”

*An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the Berkeley Art Museum as the Berkeley Museum.

The Living Room
The lighted niche, done by Joe Holtzman’s mother, Fritzie, houses a collection of nineteenth-century fish-adorned Minton plates. The boxy thirties sofa is covered in vintage bark cloth. Photo: Todd Oldham

The Guest Bathroom
Holtzman’s mother installed the Alexander Calder wallpaper, and Holtzman added the blue-and-white faux tiles painted by his friend Patrick O’Brien as well as four additional types of wallpaper. His mom’s Saarinen-designed stool has been covered with a floral throw. Photo: Todd Oldham

The Guest Bedroom
“The most important detail in the bedroom is the ceiling,” Holtzman says, here referring to his parents’ painting (an enlargement of a crumpled-up pornographic photo) that he hung above the bed. A pair of forties lampshades jut from the wall. Photo: Todd Oldham

Grand Floridian