Did you know that income generated by Historic property is eligible for a 20% federal tax credit for rehabilitation costs and federal grants MAY be available, e.g. for a new roof or cracked foundation? Historic properties are known as “houses with character,” and renovations may be needed. “Places worthy of preservation” are listed among 78,000 homes, with 1500 new ones added each year to the National Register of Historic Places. If you own or purchase a home associated with historic trends, a historically significant person or type of construction or architecture, or in a neighborhood that is one of the oldest in your city, it may be considered a historic property, and thereby worth more than otherwise. Anyone can submit a nomination as long as the property’s owner consents, and once on the register, it is there to stay. The property’s history must be researched an included in the nomination and sent for review to your state’s historic preservation office. After state approval it is reviewed by an advisory committee and then sent to Washington, DC for review by the National Register. Check with your local government before making any exterior or interior changes. Costs can be higher and it can take more time to “stay true to the original period.” Doors and windows may need to be custom made, brick matched, and fixtures replicated. Some original period items you will want to do without such as drafty windows, sparse bathrooms and kitchens, lead paint and coal-guzzling furnaces!
Dubbed “the most original and earliest remaining residential work of Palm Beach’s signature architect” by Historian Augustus C. Mayhew, this well-preserved 1919 Addison Mizner oceanfront Mediterranean villa on the island’s North End, recently came on the market for $30-MM. The multi-story 13,500 sq ft residence sits on a 1.5 acre tract with 150 feet of beach frontage. There are 10 bedrooms, 5 full and two half-baths, four fireplaces, a guest house, cabana, swimming pool, tennis court and three-car garage along with extensive gardens. Stairs and windows frame new spaces at each corner and there are beautiful ocean views. There are pecky cypress ceilings, original blue octagonal tile floors and walls in the upstairs master bedroom, and a “Scheherazade” stairway. Smaller in scale than some built during the mid-1920’s, it was landmarked in 1980, it is one of the less than 30 Mizner houses still standing on the island. The house has been owned for more than 50 years by descendants of Marie Louise Wanamaker Munn.
Villa des Cygnes – “House of Swans” – built in 1922, has been restored by Walter and Cathleen McFarlane Ross. The residence is stunning and significant. The view from across Lake Worth shows it’s prominent façade rising right from the water that laps at its foundation. Brick paved walkways and beautiful colorful tropical plantings abound. The formal living room features a fireplace with elaborately carved mantle and French-style chairs. Cathleen and her late husband, Norris McFarlane, bought the house in 1986 when it was in disrepair due to misguided renovations and neglect. There were 5 kitchens and 11 bathrooms. She hired Jeffrey W. Smith, AIA, who had studied Mizner’s work. Mizner was already acclaimed for his first Palm Beach commission, The Everglades Club’s building down the avenue, and then built this home and also the Venetian-style Casa de Leone, nearby. Catherine saw that walls were carefully taken down and fireplaces and skylights restored or replaced. Only one original Mizner room remains completely intact, a guest bathroom. During construction, a staircase that had been walled in during a previous renovation was discovered, and restored. The house has pecky-cypress paneling, Austrian paneling, French Doors, and many other Mizner-like features. History has been elegantly revived and magically transformed!