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North End getaway ‘classic and pretty timeless’

Posted On: 09-20-2012

By Christine Davis

Special to the Daily News

Builder Mark Settembre likes fine cars and real estate. So to his way of thinking, it made perfect sense that he buy a home in Palm Beach, where both can be found in abundance.

With other homes in Weehawken, N.J., and Southampton, N.Y., he visits the island during winter, bringing with him his Ferrari so he can participate each January in the Cavallino Classic Ferrari convention and car show at The Breakers. And to tool around the island, he brings down a Bentley to use as his daily driver.

When Settembre is not in residence at 224 La Puerta Way on the North End, his family and friends often are, and especially for them, he keeps a guest car, a Mini Cooper, ready and waiting in the garage.

“Florida’s great weather is a great excuse to drive my cars around,” he says, “and you can park the Mini Cooper anywhere.”

But he’s considering plans to build in Palm Beach on the Intracoastal Waterway, so he has put the house on the market. With four bedrooms, three bathrooms and 2,744 square feet of living space, inside and out, it is listed for sale with Fite Shavell and Associates for $2.5 million.

The house stands in the middle of the block, about midway between the Palm Beach Country Club and the northern tip of the island. Settembre says there’s a lot to like about the house, which he bought in 2006.

“I was looking for something not too big, near the beach. I like the home’s style — it reminds me of Mizner architecture, and I like the North End. I have many friends there, and so all the pieces fell into place.”

Built in 1948, the house had been renovated and expanded in the 1990s by a previous owner. The property has since been well maintained, said Settembre.

“I didn’t have to do anything. They did a nice job. It’s classic and pretty timeless. It’s not going to go out of style, and it has a nice layout with the living room and the master suite right off of the pool area,” Settembre says.

When he was house hunting, the property’s interior courtyard immediately caught his attention. Beyond high hedges and a lawn is a high wall with a pediment, capitals and a wrought-iron gate that grants access to the inner courtyards. It makes a dramatic visual statement.

“It sort of looks like a Beverly Hills estate in Palm Beach,” he says.

Once inside the gate, there are two garden “rooms” — one that leads to the front door, and another off to the side that he uses for casual dining.

The foyer is dramatic. The door is flanked by two alcove areas with niches to display sculpture. Floors are covered in stone, and the ceiling height soars more than 15 feet.

Straight ahead, one steps down into the living room, which also has high ceilings. Doors and windows to the south offer pool and patio views. The room is appointed with picture molding, crown molding, ceiling medallions, hardwood floors and columns that delineate entrances to rooms to the east and west.

In the east wing are a guest bedroom with windows offering views of the front courtyard. The media room has a coffered ceiling and a full wall of windows that open to the side gardens, and, in the addition, the master suite, which includes a foyer, bedroom, closets and bathroom.

Architectural features include a pitched ceiling in the bedroom and French doors to the patio and pool. The bathroom has a high ceiling, soaking tub, walk-in shower and double vanities.

In the west wing are a bedroom suite, the kitchen with a breakfast room, the laundry room and access to the garage.

“It’s a great house for entertaining,” Settembre says. “My guests and I can have breakfast outside in the front courtyard, and the backyard is very private with a half-dozen types of mature palm trees. With lounges out there, we can have nice pool parties.”

A few years ago, La Puerta homeowners renovated their neighborhood’s private beach access — a nice perk, he adds. And just on the other side of the island is access to the Lake Trail for walking, jogging and bicycling.

“I used to rent in Miami, but I will remain in Palm Beach,” he says. “It’s timeless, elegant and will never change. Miami is fun, but I feel very secure in Palm Beach.”


Source: Christine Davis, September 20, 2012, Palm Beach Daily News


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