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Rehab plan for former Kennedy estate earns nod

Posted On: 08-01-2015

By David Rogers Daily News Staff Writer

This season, the one-time Winter White House of President Kennedy will get its first makeover in 20 years.

At its recent meeting, the Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved a rehabilitation designed by Smith and Moore Architects and Nievera Williams Landscape Architecture for 1095 N. Ocean Blvd.

Jane Goldman, who bought the estate from John and Marianne Castle in May for $31 million, commissioned the rehabilitation. The Kennedy family sold the 1923 Mediterranean Revival home to the Castles in 1995. It was designed by Addison Mizner and renovated by Maurice Fatio in 1933.

Landmarks board members’ comments about the rehabilitation and restoration were largely positive.

“A lot of us have known this house for years and years,” said Commissioner Jacqueline Albarran, a longtime Palm Beach architect. “There were a lot of things done to it that should have never been done to it. I think you have not only fixed all of those wrongs, but you made it better with the parts that you are adding.

” Commissioner Richard René Silvan said he’s known the house since he was 10. “I can’t believe how beautifully you plan to renovate and restore it,” Silvan said.

A renovation in 1995 altered the look of the main house. East-side balcony doors with square tops were replaced with arch doors, and some windows with muntins (strips of metal or wood that divide panes of glass) were replaced with panes without muntins. This project will restore those original features and eliminate fireplaces added in the 1990s, among other changes.

“Our whole focus and goal was rehabilitation of this property,” said architect Peter Papadopoulos. “We didn’t want to overhaul it. We wanted to take it back to what Mizner and Fatio envisioned and take it a step further by making it more livable.

”Outside the house, the team plans to remove the roof from the west-side walkway to transform it, with bougainvillea and orchids, into a long trellis. “We’d like to treat it more like a folly,” Padadopoulos said. That effect would be mirrored by the addition of a 273-square-foot trellis between the pool and cabana.

Just south of the coach house entry onto the property will be a knot garden of sculpted greenery with an octagonal fountain on the west side and a linear fountain along the garden’s southeast border. Bougainvillea on parts of the west side of the main house will add more color.

“The idea is to create more of an approach to the house from the street, and to signify the main entrance to the house and separate it from, more or less, a service entrance or vehicular entrance into the house,” said landscape architect Keith Williams. Commissioner William Strawbridge called the entry treatment “magnificent.

”The board’s approval came with a few conditions. Chairman Ted Cooney wants the team to study whether part of the roof on the west end of the covered walkway should remain. It helps frame the “iconic gate” in place since the Kennedys owned the property, he said. That gate is obscured by landscaping. “ But the barrel tiles of the roof should ‘’read’’ above that door. If the landscape should ever be cut back or die, you’ll lose that effect,” Cooney said. The chairman also said he’s concerned that a proposed water wall south of the knot garden may be, at more than 10 feet tall, too big.

Privacy

At the board’s Aug. 19 meeting, the project team also will address how to better screen the north property line for greater privacy. It plans to remove 18 feet of the perimeter wall south of the “Kennedy gate” and use the tennis court as a construction staging area. (That wall and gate are the only landmarked portions of the estate, but the partial designation means the landmarks board reviews and approves changes to the estate, rather than the Architectural Commission.)

Removing the wall increases a code nonconformity. Current code requires a 10- to 12-foot fence around tennis courts, according to Planning Administrator John Lindgren.

Strawbridge asked the team to consider applying for a variance to avoid that scenario.

 

 

Source: David Rogers, August 1, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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