Smith & Moore Architects: Building Palm Beach from the Ground Up


It’s hard to imagine our dreamy slice of Palm Beach Paradise becoming any more beautiful, but with new construction and renovations left and right, it’s happening in real time.

Of course, we leave such undertakings to the experts, like the team at Smith & Moore Architects.

Boasting an impressive portfolio (and staying very busy), current residential projects include a range of Classical French to Modern Balinese homes.

As for commercial, you’ll certainly recognize a now Palm Beach staple which the team led restoration and revitalization for – the Royal Poinciana Plaza!

Since the company’s founding in 1984, their work has been recognized in publications like Architectural Digest and House Beautiful for residential and boutique commercial projects around the globe, with a focus here in Palm Beach.

The four partners – Harold Smith, Jonathan Moore, Peter Papadopoulos and Daniel Kahan – work harmoniously to bring their clients visions to life on Palm Beach and beyond.

Daniel Kahan tells the story.

Written by TSG Contributing Editor, Kate Rowan


While still in architecture school at Georgia Tech, Kahan took on his first summer internship with Smith & Moore.

It’s unlikely he imagined that 21 years later, he’d be sitting down, with a Partner title, telling the story of how he started at that same company.

Incidentally, Peter Papadopoulos, now partner as well, started that same summer as well.

“It was the type of work I wanted to do – and had known I’d wanted to do – which is doing really bespoke designs for high-end residential. Very specific design solutions for very specific clients on a level that you don’t get to do in very many other places. This was perfect for that,” says Kahan.

He continued to return each summer through both undergrad and graduate school, ultimately joining full time in 2004 in a full-time capacity.

Fast forward to 2011 when both he and Peter came on as Partners, rounding out the group to its current structure.

Of the partnership Kahan shared, “We all worked really well together, both collaboratively and on our own projects, and decided it made a lot of sense for us all to partner up. That was ten years ago now.”

“Since then, it’s been great; the business has grown quite a bit. I’d say our market hasn’t changed, but I think the level of projects – whether more discerning clients, or more practice, or very actively pushing in the direction of increasing the quality and detail and general design level of everything we’re doing – has led to really great things,” he continued.


It’s hard not to notice the shift in demographic – namely, younger people – here in Palm Beach, and we were curious how that has impacted the work the firm is doing.

“Our clients have certainly become more discerning, but have also gotten younger,” says Daniel.

“It’s been a lot of fun – growing with them, teaching them the design process if they don’t have the experience, and getting to know them really well.

That’s always been a fascination of mine in the type of work we do. It’s a long-term commitment when we design a house for someone,” he added.

Daniel also noted a pattern of previous part-time residents taking advantage of work-from-home, thus committing longer term to their Palm Beach abode.

“People are seeing it more as a home they’re going to live in longer or use more during the year. So we might spend a little more time broadly designing it for them, rather than a seasonal or transient place.

They’re designed more for the day-to-day lifestyle year-round,” he shared.


In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, clients are able to identify design styles that appeal to them, even if they don’t have the vocabulary to express it.

Smith & Moore balances that direction with their own expertise to create a dynamic finished product, taking into account everything from the physical context of the structure to how the light hits and the air moves through it.

“We can play with the rules in a way to make something that’s really interesting but still sort of grounds itself in a tradition or a language that we know works,” said Kahan.

The work, for this team, doesn’t stop at designing and building the structure.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to design as much of a project as possible so that it becomes this singular, holistic vision of what it is. It’s really interesting to be curating the material selections and fixtures but also the art and furniture so that it’s also part of a very singular design solution for a very specific design solution,” shared Kahan.



To learn more about the team and projects past & current, visit them online at or give them a call at 561.835.1888.