An Interview with Designer Betsy Shiverick

Betsy Shiverick: Palm Beach Style

Betsy Shiverick is an interior designer at Betsy Shiverick Interiors, Ltd., located in Palm Beach, Florida. A self-proclaimed furniture junkie, she is just as likely to visit an auction site as a designer showroom for big, interesting pieces that lend character to a room.

How would you describe your design style?
I am definitely classic and traditional with a high degree of comfortable living, nothing stiff or formal. Green is my favorite color, it brings the outdoors in. I also like red and use a lot of brown, black and dark blues.

What are some of the design elements that define your signature style?
There are several things you can do to make a room really special. Wood paneling, wallpaper and special colors—I’m not into white—are big things for me. I really love oriental rugs, white slipcovered couches with lots of throw pillows, and textiles and throws from around the world. I don’t like heavy shades or drapes, I hope for architectural windows that stand alone. I am also a fan of “books for looks.” Coffee table books have such great covers. In bedrooms, I am a fan of canopy beds. They make a room look cozy and it’s a nice place to lay your head at night.

What was your favorite design project?
I just worked with my architect and we partnered to restore a landmark 1927 Spanish Villa in Palm Beach. Over the years, the original look was no longer honored. Now it has a restored façade with a parapet wall trimmed in terra cotta, steel mullions on the windows, and pecky cypress wood from Florida. It was designed with the Florida vernacular in mind using an organic approach and natural materials. The home has new air conditioning, new baths, and integrates finishes like limestone, cypress, terra cotta and a clay tile roof. We kept everything we could and added balustrades and paneling.

That sounds like a fabulous home!
Yes, it won two awards. The Addison Mizner medal from The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, and the Elizabeth L. and John H. Schuler Award for new construction of a whole house from the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach.

What is your background in the design field?
I have a B.A. in history from Mount Holyoke College and spent 21 years on Wall Street until 2003 when I went to the New York School of Interior Design. I am one course short of a design degree! My favorite class was called The Science of Color.

How do you continue to be inspired when it comes to designing interior spaces?
Every night I read through a pile of coffee table books. I can constantly find ideas from design books and design magazines, and put my own spin on it. Then I go to bed thinking about new ideas.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your design firm?
There is no decorating police; you should do what makes you happy and what you like. Take inspiration from anything you see, and don’t re-invent the wheel.

*Photography by Owen McGoldrick

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