A little over a year ago, interior designer Larry Laslo decamped from a triplex on Manhattan's Upper East Side to a charming cottage in Palm Beach, Florida. His new home, he quips, is "like living in Tahiti, with a Chanel shop six blocks away." After all, where else can you nip into town for enough Swarovski crystals to bejewel 200 tulle gift bags, fill them with painted eggs, and then hide them beneath a tangle of 100-foot banyan trees and 80-foot palms?
Laslo, who first came to the world's attention with his dazzling transformation of Bergdorf Goodman in the 1980s, now attracts a sophisticated international clientele that appreciates his passion for traditional styles and his talent for adapting those styles to the present. The urge to put that talent into play kicked in when a friend showed him a bungalow in one of Palm Beach's landmarked districts. "He was afraid it wasn't stately enough for me," Laslo says. "I've always liked to live in a grand, historic way." For someone who has owned an enviable string of New York City homes—sprawling uptown apartments with multiple working fireplaces, private elevators, and million-dollar views of Central Park—a 3,500-square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow would hardly seem impressive.