We have to take the bad with the good. The downtown Testa’s area will be a tough place to park for some time to come as the Frisbee group starts work on their forthcoming project. Build-out is projected to be four years, with construction starting this coming October, and concerned folks want that reduced to two years. It was pointed out the Neiman Marcus' new building went up in two years. New retail buildings will go up and condos, with an underground parking garage, and then life will be easier in the area, with new offerings, a favorite of many Palm Beachers.
Testa’s Restaurant opened in 1921 as a 13-seat soda fountain in the lobby of the old Garden Theater on Main Street, now Royal Poinciana Way and has grown and grown into a steady eaterie for Palm Beachers and visitors to the Island.
Parking and sidewalk access will present temporary problems. Other concerns are construction hours, lighting, security, pedestrian safety, traffic and other work-related issues. All agree it will be dusty and dirty for a while. Construction workers will park off the Island and be bused in.
Six buildings with retail on the ground floor will go up. The second floor will have homes and there will be gardens, vias and courtyards. A new restaurant is included and the underground parking garage.
Once completed everybody will be/should be happy.
One of the most recognized properties along the ocean in Palm Beach is this 1928 residence, nicknamed “the ham and cheese house.” The Society Architect was Maurice Fatio. It was the alternating horizontal bands of coral keystone and red brick on its facades that gave the property that nickname.
There are eight bedrooms and 16090 living sq ft.
The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s 2016 Ballinger Award for historically sensitive renovation was given to the property. Now The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation has bestowed a 2017 Meritorious Award on the property. It was given landmark protection in 1979.
Homeowners Penny and Marion Hugh Antonini spent two years renovating and restoring. The Antoninis’ renovation preserved original Fatio elements such as elaborately carved stonework, beamed-and-coffered ceilings and Cuban-tile floors. The project also lightened up the interiors with a modern color scheme of cream paired with light pinks, blues and greens.
A new kitchen, manufactured to specifications in Italy, was shipped to Florida and assembled on site. The roof was replaced, impact-resistant windows installed, and work was done on the swimming pool and beachfront cabana, reached through a tunnel under the coastal road. The central courtyard around which the house was designed was completely reworked.
New glass was installed in the living room’s carved-stone arched windows. As a result of an installation system devised through trial and error, the glass seems to disappear entirely so that the arches resemble an open cloister framing views of the ocean.
We, too, congratulate the winners of the annual Schuler Award from the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach that recognizes new architecture which builds upon the historical character of Palm Beach.
A Foundation trustee, James Berwind, had fond memories of Bermuda vacations and worked with his good friend Architect Tom Kirchoff, a Foundation member to design this home with a look as if it has been in this spot forever and is true to Bermudian-style.
Details of the architecture include scalloped roof gables, tall chimneys with decorative caps, cut stone roofs, stepped ziggurats, dormer windows, coral keystone steps, wall niches, built-in bookcases and a gondola-style dock. Gardens are terraced, and a front pavilion offers a welcoming glow. Exterior is white.
Berwind says he liked the fact that the Bermuda-style houses didn’t look intimidating. They weren’t trying to impress anyone. He said that they always looked like a kid drew them and the design stays true to that nature, as elegant as it is.
Amanda Skier, executive director of the Preservation Foundation, notes that “the rambling nature of the property … achieves the same feeling of organic development that (noted society architect) Addison Mizner strove for in each of his designs.” They also built a detached 4-bedroom guest house that is separate from the main house.
The dramatic lakefront site has beautiful gardens too. There are 9200 living sq ft and the covered loggia adds another 1600 living sq ft.
Dedicated to animal-rights and pet-adoption causes, fundraisers can be held at the house for as many as 200 guests. It is truly a house to love, feel comfortable in, and enjoy.
· 4 STORIES, 20’WIDE, 3680 LIVING SQ FT; 60’ BACK FROM STREET
· GROUND FLOOR: DINING ROOM WITH FIREPLACE AND BAY WINDOW, POWDERROOM, KITCHEN AND CIRCULAR STAIRCASE GOES TO PARLOR FLOOR
· LIVING ROOM FACES FRONT OF HOUSE, HIGH CEILINGS, THREE LARGE WINDOWS, FIREPLACE
· WOOD-PANELED LIBRARY FACES BACK OF HOUSE, HAS BAY WINDOW, FIREPLACE, COFFERED CELINGS
· TWO BEDROOMS WITH ATTACHED BATHROOMS ON SECOND FLOOR
· THIRD FLOOR HAS TWO MORE BEDROOMS CONNECTED BY AN OFFICE WITH FIREPLACE
· LOCATION: 50 East 38th Street in Murray Hill
“XANADU 2.0” IS AWESOME
· Costing $60MM, it took seven years to build; Bill Gates also bought several surrounding houses for about $14.4MM. The home has 24 bathrooms. Annual property tax is over $1MM.
· Pool measures 60’x17’ and has a fossil-motif floor and underwater music system. Locker room has 4 showers and 2 baths. Dive into the pool and you can come up by an outdoor terrace, going under a glass wall. Fitness gym is 2500 sq ft; trampoline room has 20’ ceiling. There is an elevator, but if you are into fitness, set your fitbit and head up or down the 84 steps from the entrance to the ground floor.
· 1000 sq ft dining room seats 24. 150 people can be fed dinner or 200 can be at a cocktail party in the 2300 sq ft reception hall. Guests receive a pin that interacts with room sensors and can change to your preference the temperature, music and lighting. This was built in 1995.
· Guest house has 1 bedroom, 1 bath and is 1900 sq ft.
· The grounds include an artificial stream and wetland estuary stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout. The sand on the lake bank is imported from warmer sandier climates, perhaps Hawaii.
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THIS VALUABLE PROPERTY WILL BECOME A HISTORIC HOME IN DUE TIME