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Feb 22, 2006
Though he lives and works in Palm Beach, where ornamental excess is commonplace, "I'm not a period designer," says Jack Fhillips, "It's the year 2005. Who wants to live in 1793?" Neither Fhillips nor any of his clients does, though some, he says, "might think they do until they sit on the sofa. Then they say, 'Jack, I like the sofa but it isn't comfortable.' I just don't believe in sticking anyone in museum rooms."
What this Cuban-born, Florida-bred designer does believe in is giving people comfortably elegant spaces that make plenty of room for "the peacefulness of nature," be that space a Bahamian bungalow or Beaver Creek behemoth.
Sometimes that approach means toning things down. Fhillips recently redid a 148-foot boat whose interior was "like Jean Michel Frank on crack," as he describes it, until, in under four months, he converted it to a classic Georgian sailing vessel. "The constant constrictions, the space, lighting, gales, tested all my talents," he says.
Fhillips values simplicity and honest design above all. Ergo the cautionary tale of the over-decorated apartment: "Here you are in this gorgeous tropical setting, for example, and all of a sudden you enter the red room from hell. You walk in and all you feel is heat and tension. That's what I try to avoid most in my work. Our lives are tense enough."
Jack Fhillips Design Inc.
4501 Georgia Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33405