<< Back to Table of Contents

  Issue 20-1

Designer Sean Rush Creates A Fantastical, ‘Soul Of The Souk’ Decor In Homage To His Client’s Moroccan Roots


Click Image To Enlarge



Sean Rush, Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL

De Schofield

Dan Forer, Miami, FL

Sean Rush


Dame Claude Daste Rosinsky has had a lifelong love affair with Morocco. Born there to French parents and raised in the royal palace in Rabat, where her father served as the personal physician to (then) King of Morocco Hussein Mohammed the Fifth, Rosinsky grew up among the magical influence of the region’s predominant architectural theme known as Hispano-Moorish style that dates back to the 11th century A.D.

“I was very fortunate to grow up and live with my parents in Morocco for many years,” Rosinsky says. “The beauty of the riad — the traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior courtyard — has remained with me since I was a child.”

When she was in her 20s, Rosinsky returned to her family’s native France and began a formidable design history in her own right immersed in the international world of haute couture. She was an assistant designer to Christian Dior (and later for Givenchy) in Paris, then continued her career in New York, where she worked in international sales for the House of Lanvin.

“Claude is very attuned to all facets of design, all the more so due to her background in the world of fashion,” interior designer Sean Rush says. Indeed, their fortuitous meeting at a dinner party at the designer’s home was the turning point that resulted in an ambitious, whole-house renovation of this exquisite Palm Beach estate.

Originally purchased as a vacation retreat, the property became the Rosinskys’ permanent residence upon their retirement. “When I saw this one, I fell in love right away with the architecture,” Rosinsky says. And her keen eye had uncovered an architectural gem. This 6,500-square-foot estate, excluding its spacious guest casita, was designed by legendary Palm Beach architect Marion Sims Wyeth in 1926, and served as his personal residence during his design and building of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Mar-a-Lago estate. “When I entered, I thought I was in a Moroccan riad,” she says. “It had that same feel that gives the impression that you’re entering a simple abode, but once you are inside, it unfolds in a magical way.”

“What I love about the Moroccan color palette is that the rooms have such strong contrast,” Rush says.
“Walls of white with lots of fiery-red graphic give a nod to the Moroccan theme.”

The couple had contemplated renovating the house for sometime. A previous renovation had left some unfortunate issues that required a designer with historical sensitivity to remedy. Given his unique background in fine art and a specialty in designing historically significant, private estates, Rush proved the perfect choice. “My goal was to make the house look as if this is the way it looked originally,” he says.

The renovation began in the east hall, a generous space that announces the home’s signature, fiery red-orange palette. Its sheer size — and its impact as the entryway to what was originally the grand ballroom — made it the logical starting point, as did the fact that the ceiling, a remnant of an earlier renovation, was not original to the house. So instead of refurbishing it, Rush hand painted, stenciled and gilded the interior sections, then had the ceiling coffered in mahogany to lend height and dimension.

Wooden panels flanking the winding stairway located within a turret in the main house are hand-painted doors
from India that feature a traditional Indian monkey motif.

“We fell in love with Sean as an artist first,” says Rosinsky, who explains how the designer originally began his career as a professional artist after self-studying the classics in Florence and Rome. In testimony, a large oil painting, “Amymone,” by Rush provides a focal point in the living room. Here, the main conversation grouping contains a custom Moroccan sofa paired with woven Ralph Lauren chairs and a contemporary Brazilian sofa. Non-matching side tables, a William and Mary table to the right of the sofa, and a Moroccan inlaid table on the left, are adorned with original Mizner factory lamps that were modified and updated for use here.

The dining room features a fresh pinky-coral and citrus-green palette inspired by Rosinsky’s favorite, pink flowering trees in the courtyard, while drapery made of vintage striped-damask by Dior is a reference to her career in haute couture. The dining grouping is composed of a one-of-kind dining table made from a salvaged altar piece that Rosinsky purchased in Rome surrounded by antique, Spanish chairs reupholstered in a fabric by Scalamandré.

Warm and inviting, the guest casita grounded in Moroccan tile signals the blue and green palette that mirrors the royal colors of Morocco. Here, a 14th-century, Spanish tooled-leather screen serves as the headboard for a centerpiece bed covered in linens from Marrakech. The lightweight Berber rug used as a curtain at the entry to the bath evokes a campaign theme. The cabana also required a total renovation. Rush opened the space to the courtyard and stained glass windows were added along the opposite wall.

“When you realize a true artist, you give them full reign; otherwise they can’t completely express themselves,” Rosinsky says, who was so taken with Rush’s work that she gave him carte blanche.

“Renovations of this type require real sensitivity and discovery,” Rush says. “The process involves intense research to really investigate the bones of a structure … sometimes a door hinge will unlock the secrets to an entire house.”

Click Here to View Interior Design Sources

Floor cushions and Moroccan lanterns - The Medina of Fez, Morocco
Sofa - Baker Knapp & Tubbs, NYDC, New York, NY
Cushion fabric - Kravet, Inc., Bethpage, NY
Moroccan-style pouf - Custom designed by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Fabric - Robert Allen, Robert Allen/Beacon Hill Fabrics, D&D Building, New York, NY
Mirror, sconces and floor tile - Marrakech, Morocco
Drapery fabric - Sunbrella, Premier Awnings, West Palm Beach, FL
East Hall
Armchair - Owners’ Collection Ceiling mural - Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Floor lantern and lantern light fixture - The Medina of Fez, Morocco
Millwork - Florida Craftsman Furniture, Tampa, FL
Area rug - ABC Carpet & Home Co., Inc., New York, NY
Entry Hall
Pedestal table - Berber Trading Co., Miami, FL
Blue entry vessel and marble palace doors as art - Marrakech, Morocco
Antique sconces - Redesigned and antiqued by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Brackets - Custom designed by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Frieze - Mizner Stoneworks, Tequesta, FL
Fabricated by Herpel Cast Stone & Columns, West Palm Beach, FL
Framed iron cast - L & L Ornamental Iron Works, West Palm Beach, FL
Dining Room
Custom dining table, antique Spanish chairs and gold Mexican birds - Owners’ Collection Chair fabric - Scalamandré, New York, NY
Dinnerware - Medina of Fez, Morocco
Vintage drapery fabric - Christian Benais for Dior, Paris, France
Fabric restoration by Alvarez Workroom, Tampa, FL
Wall treatment and refurbished beamed ceiling fabricated by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Artwork - Kenneth A. Huff, Palm Beach, FL
Living Room
Moroccan-style sofa - Custom designed by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Fabric - Kravet, Inc., Bethpage, NY
Fabricated by J & R Upholstering, Inc., Tampa, FL
White sofa, Steinway grand piano and area rugs - Owners’ Collection Table lamps - Madrid, Spain
Woven chairs - Ralph Lauren Home Collection, New York, NY
Occasional tables flanking white sofa - William Doyle Galleries, Inc., New York, NY
Tapestry - Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Honduran mahogany shutters - Florida Craftsman Furniture, Tampa, FL
Living Room Vignette
Bamboo chair, Spanish bargueño and oil floor lamp - Owners’ Collection Chair cushions - Scalamandré, New York, NY
Wall plates and cushions - Medina of Fez, Morocco
Octagonal table - Berber Trading Co., Miami, FL
Glazed wall treatment and stitching fabricated by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Guest Casita
Headboard - Custom designed by Sean Rush Design, Palm Beach, FL
Fabricated by J& R Upholstering, Inc., Tampa, FL
Linens and chairs - Owners’ Collection Bedside desk - Ralph Lauren Home Collection, New York, NY
Armoire and artwork - Medina of Marrakech, Morocco
Balinese trunk - Bali Bay Trading Company, Tampa, FL
Alabaster wall sconce and rug drapery - Medina of Fez, Morocco
Floor tile - Marrakech, Morocco
Hand-painted wood panels from India - ABC Carpet & Home Co., Inc., New York, NY
Botanical prints - Owners’ Collection Spanish tile - Ann Sacks Tile & Stone, Inc., New York, NY
Light fixtures and floor lanterns - Medina of Fez, Morocco
Stained glass windows fabricated by Yvonne Barlog, Tampa, FL
Area rugs - ABC Carpet & Home Co., Inc., New York, NY
Flooring - Original to the home


<< Back to Table of Contents