Bowls. Those were Celerie Kemble’s earliest South Dixie Highway obsession. “I remember getting dragged from shop to shop by my mother, being told not to break anything,” Kemble says. “I went straight for the candy bowls.” Though she was surrounded by gilt mirrors, chandeliers, and Chippendale chairs, at the time, Brach’s caramels were the real treasure.
These days, the New York–based, Palm Beach–reared Kemble—who partners with her mother, Mimi McMakin, in Kemble Interiors—has made a name for herself as a designer of high-profile residences and private clubs in New York, Palm Beach, and points beyond. A risk taker with a flair for originality, Kemble still descends on the cluster of West Palm Beach shops fronting South Dixie Highway, a Florida stretch
of U.S. Route 1, as often as possible. She loves the quirky shop owners, the (relatively) low prices, and the eclectic mix of antique and vintage furniture, art, and accessories that can be found along what’s known as Antique Row. Shopping South Dixie, Kemble says, fires her imagination. “You can measure my excitement by how long I’ll go without eating when I’m running around buying for clients,” she says. “I don’t want to stop!” And, yes, she sometimes drags her children along.
Kemble tries to hit all four dozen or so shops, cruising the street’s east side first and then U-turning to focus on the west. If that sounds exhausting, here are her top recommendations.
Blue Moon Antiques
“Walking into a more curated antique store in New York, where there’s a consistency of period or style, makes my job easier, but I feel a little dead inside,” Kemble says. South Dixie Highway’s eclectic jumble, on the other hand, “nourishes my creative soul. It’s a mixed bag, and I love that.” A great example is Blue Moon Antiques, where Kemble might find a 1920s Chinese Nichols rug next to a pair of peacock rattan chairs beside a funky goatskin bar cart. The designer knows that South Dixie, regardless of the store, is a place for one-offs. “I can’t send somebody to find a specific item I bought, because I’m the one who walked away with it.” 941-928-2872
D & G Antiques
This multidealer gallery owned by Victor de Marinis, south of Monroe Drive, carries a little of everything—as long as it’s smaller than a couch. That includes mirrors, boxes, foo dogs, chairs, and benches from the nineteenth century. “Designers like to shop here when they’re finishing a job,” de Marinis says. Among his twentieth-century pieces—in brass, Lucite, glass, and wood—you could spy chunky ice buckets from the 1970s or a Karl Springer console table covered in faux animal skin. “If I’m looking for accessories or to have an idea hit me out of the blue, this is a great spot,” Kemble says. 561-835-0461
Antiques & Interiors
“A lot of times, I start with a mission—a particular client or budget,” Kemble says. For instance, “If I’m looking for Belgian or Swedish pieces, especially for the garden, I go straight for Faustina’s shop. Her stuff is expensive but beautiful.” Pace, a fixture on Antique Row for a dozen years, has a thing for outdoor metal pieces—zinc urns, vintage rain barrels, antique garden edgers—as well as stone and ceramics. She also hunts down Swedish cabinets, milky ironstone china from England, French ceramic confit pots, and vintage Swiss Army sack pillows. faustinapace.com
James & Jeffrey Antiques
“If you’re looking for something slightly more traditional—more New Orleans antique than Los Angeles modern—this is the place,” Kemble says. “Gilt and marble, nineteenth-century
Continental, chinoiserie: The shop is really thorough.” It’s actually two different stores a block apart: the Showroom, with more serious indoor furniture; and the partially tent-
ed Pavilion, with more casual pieces such as garden furniture. jamesandjeffrey.masterpiecesolutions.org
Marking her second winter season, owner Patricia Pingree-Clouet is “known for my smalls,” she says, “the kind of objects you put in a library”—many of which she scoops up locally, tapping into the area’s extensive estate sale and consignment markets. “One reason South Dixie is so rich in treasures is its location near Palm Beach, Miami, Boca Raton, and Vero Beach and all their beautifully decorated houses,” Kemble says. Look for pairs of lamps, Murano glass, chandeliers, and other antiques from France, England, and Spain. The shop also carries bamboo chairs and side tables, blue-and-white china, and other pieces with an island vibe. patriciasgallerywpb.com
“I go to ReVue for glamour pieces,” Kemble says, especially from the mid- to late twentieth century. Owner Sonny Lastition, who has been in business for more than three decades, carries lots of decorative glass and crystal—Lalique, Steuben, Baccarat—as well as Herend porcelain. And he loves vintage McGuire furniture, made from rattan with leather-wrapped corners and joints. “I’m a big fan of rattan and wicker,” Kemble says. Both materials are Palm Beach classics that look great, last forever, and never go out of style. 561-832-2438