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Partial historic designation recommended for two houses

Posted On: 04-23-2016

By David Rogers

Daily News Staff Writer

The Landmarks Preservation Commission departed from convention this week with votes to protect parts of two homes — when it typically recommends designation of an entire structure.

Commissioners recommended that the Town Council designate the front facade only of 200 El Brillo Way — a U-shaped, 1929 Mediterranean Revival style home designed by Marion Sims Wyeth — and of 125 Seagrape Circle, a circa-1955, Neoclassical style home designed by Wyeth, King & Johnson.

The recommendation for 200 El Brillo Way was unanimous.

Five of seven commissioners voted to recommend 125 Seagrape Circle, the Virginia Dupont-owned home also known as Pelican Manor. The vote rejected a claim by the owner’s consultant, noted architect Mark Alan Hewitt, that Wyeth and company created a “barely competent Classical house.”

Commissioner William Strawbridge called it “incredible from a Classical point of view.”

Page Lee Hufty and Jacqueline Weld Drake voted against the recommendation. Both said they were not impressed by its design.

A key focal point of 200 El Brillo Way is its entrance, which features wood-paneled double doors with a “substantial” stone surround, according to the designation report.

A main architectural feature of 125 Seagrape Circle is its full-height portico and a balanced use of windows and doors, according to the designation report.

While recommendations for partial designation aren’t routine, they aren’t rare, either, according to historic preservationist Jane Day, who served as the town’s preservation consultant for 20 years, starting in late 1992.

A partial designation might be considered a compromise and can help both parties achieve their goals, she said.

“I think it gives the owners a sense they have a little more control over what happens to their property,” Day said. “The good thing for Landmarks is, they review any future changes and additions and therefore can make sure that anything that is done to the property is compatible with the features that are most noteworthy.”

Partial designation can protect the most historically and/or architecturally valuable part of a structure from demolition, Day said.

High-profile examples of partial designations include the gate in front of the former Kennedy estate, 1095 N. Ocean Blvd.; the 20-foot cut-coral wall and open-air garden room at Casa Bendita, 120 Casa Bendita; and the west facade of The Breakers.




Source: David Rogers, April 23, 2016, Palm Beach Daily News

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