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Life on the sunny side of Garden Road

Posted On: 04-23-2015

By Christine Davis

Special to the Daily News

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia when it comes to real estate.

Just ask Rachel and Per Lorentzen of 216 Garden Road. They were first attracted to the 1936-era home because the Colonial-style architecture reminded them of places where they were raised.

“We bought the house in 1999 from Connie and Skip Purcell. I grew up in Greenwich, Conn., and my husband, in Bedford, N. Y., and the Purcells had lived in Greenwich. There’s something a little bit more northern or New England about the house,” Rachel Lorentzen explains.

Designed by Treanor & Fatio, the firm of noted society architect Maurice Fatio, the house has nice proportions and large rooms, along with sunny interiors, she adds. As a matter of fact, the house was once known as Casa Del Sol.

That tidbit, she explains, came courtesy of the late Mimi Welfeld, a longtime Palm Beacher who for years ran a health-food store on Royal Poinciana Way.

‘Great party house’

“Once, when I was shopping at Mimi’s, I wrote a check to her, and when she saw the address, she said she used to rent our house. She told me it had been a great party house, and, in the back, jazz bands used to play under a black-and-white tent at the far end of the 20-by-40-foot pool,” Rachel says.

“Also, Mimi dropped off pictures and a newspaper clipping that mentioned the name of the house.”

Fatio designed Casa Del Sol and the one across from it, at 215 Garden Road, as spec houses for the Garden of Eden subdivision, one of the North End’s earliest subdivisions.

“These two houses were the first on Garden Road, and in 1999, they were the only two-story houses on the street,” she says. “All the rest were one-stories or had been added onto.”

Treanor & Fatio also designed 220 and 227 Eden Road for the subdivision — including Garden, Eden and Adam roads — between the ocean and the lake. The fifth house in the subdivision was 990 Adam Road, commissioned by another society architect, John L. Volk.

Deeded beach rights

The Lorentzens agree that the house was well suited for a family home, but now their children are grown and they want to downsize. So Rachel, a real estate agent with Barrett Welles Property Group, is selling the six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath home for $4.95 million. In all, it has 5,984 square feet of living space, inside and out. The home comes with deeded beach rights, and an alley behind the house leads to the Lake Trail.

Although the home has a northern feel because of its shutters, bay windows and hanging balconies, the informal tropical landscaping puts it squarely in Palm Beach.

The front door opens to a foyer and stair hall, with the living room positioned to the east with a fireplace, crown molding, a bay window and a built-in bookcase. The loggia and lanai lie directly to the south, and the west wing contains the bulk of the first-floor rooms: the dining room, kitchen, a guest living room and an office.

Rachel uses the guest living room as her studio, but, in the past, it has served as a cabana and a game room. Per uses the office as his workspace, but it has a bathroom and closet and can be set up as a guest bedroom. Connected to this wing to the south is the two-car garage.

Floors throughout are covered in hardwood, tile and brick. Walls in the loggia are covered in lattice, and the Lorentzens updated the kitchen with a cypress ceiling, granite countertops and appliances. It also has an unexpected visual treat, thanks to a bit of serendipity.

‘Tuscan feeling’

“For the wall behind the new stove, we took down the old tile, and people kept asking us when we planned to get new tile,” Rachel says. “The house is solidly built — plaster with lathing, and that was behind the tile. I couldn’t find tile more interesting than that. It has an antique Tuscan feeling, and we just glazed it.”

On the east side of the second story is the master bedroom suite, comprising a bedroom with a fireplace and a sitting room. When they bought the house, the Lorentzens carried out a number of renovations, including an update to the master bathroom, which has an old-fashioned claw-foot tub.

The also combined small rooms to create sitting rooms for the two upstairs bedroom suites as well as the nearby family room they share. One of the suites includes an office.

Over the garage are guest quarters with a bedroom, sitting room and bathroom. Windows overlook the lushly planted yards.

“Garden is one of the nicest streets on the North End,” Rachel says. “It’s a wide street, and several of the homes are open to the street. They aren’t hidden behind hedges, and it feels like a neighborhood.”

 

Source: Christine Davis, April 23, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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Zimmerman Douglas Elliman

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Palm Beach, FL 33480

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