Daniel Kahan is the youngest partner at the prestigious firm of Smith and Moore Architects, but the enormity of his contributions far outweighs his age. From top: The lake loggia at Villa Alberi featuring carved limestone and pecky cypress details; Daniel Kahan of Smith and Moore Architects. “You can design a modern house in Palm Beach that sits next to a landmark estate as long as you keep the purity of scale and proportion, distill out the ornament and amplify the quality that goes in.”-ARCHITECT DANIEL KAHAN Leave it to a team of architects to have its leadership so perfectly proportioned. The four principals of award-winning practice Smith and Moore Architects—Harold Smith, Jonathan Moore, Peter Papadopoulos and Daniel Kahan—are almost exactly 10 years apart in age, with Kahan being the youngest, at 38. Once the firm's shining summer intern, Kahan, who received his Master of Architecture from the University of Florida, joined in 2004 and was made partner in 2011. But being the youngest by no means makes him any less a factor in the equation. “We all carry equivalent stature,” says Kahan, explaining that, while every project is a collaborative effort, one principal nearly always takes the lead. “We all have the ability to practice multiple styles, from very classical to very modern,” he says. The decision as to who heads a project results from a variety of scenarios. It can be based on referral or word-of-mouth, and, in some instances, a potential client will request one of the players after having admired a specific project. Otherwise, it's about determining the right fit. “Sometimes we'll all have a sit-down with a client together and see who gels the best,” Kahan says. Though the architect acknowledges that younger families are continually moving to Palm Beach, he hasn't observed if any singular age demographic seeks him out. “I tend to be involved in my projects at a level of detail that's not for everyone, and that reputation precedes me,” says Kahan. “If you want extreme depth of involvement from your architect, typically come to me,” he advises, adding the caveat that his own projects might be more intense and longer in duration than others due to his propensity for full immersion. Further elaborating on his process and holistic approach, Kahan defines his ideal project as one where he designs absolutely everything: “For me, it is starting with a vision and then having everything fall within that realm.” In Kahan's perfect world, the whole house, from the ground up—including all finishes, fittings, fixtures and furniture—would fall under his control. Singularity of vision is paramount for him, so while he plays well with others, he's perfectly comfortable going it alone. Smith and Moore Architects does have significant jobs in other coveted locations, but as its work is primarily based here, “there's an obligation—and an art—to enhancing a landscape that's already so historic, so pristine,” Kahan explains. “I've done historic restorations, very modern and new classical houses lately. You can design a modern house in Palm Beach that sits next to a landmark estate as long as you keep the purity of scale and proportion, distill out the ornament and amplify the quality that goes in.” The firm recently received the exalted Schuler Award from the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach for an estate on Jungle Road. “The house folds itself into a neighborhood that's been there forever and, therefore, had to respond carefully to its context,” says Kahan. The groin vaulted main gallery at Villa Alberi features walnut marquetry floors and French polished burl walnut doors; the entry of a new Californiainspired Mediterranean home; the entry buttery of a PB beach house is a modern take on traditional Bermudian details.