The Making of the American Red Cross
Designers’ Show House

RChouse (1 of 1)

red cross show house 1Once upon a time there was a magnificent home. Unfortunately, we didn’t live in it but we were invited to visit again, again and again, and thus stepping into the world of the American Red Cross Designers’ Show House. Thirty-nine years ago, the Palm Beaches – Treasure Coast Region chapter of the American Red Cross launched a creative fundraiser to build awareness for its organization. Every year one lucky and historic home is chosen for an extreme makeover conducted by a select group of interior and exterior designers. Over a three-month span, the house undergoes intense renovations. Once the main stage of renovations is complete, the designers, who are given creative liberty, arrive with their teams to begin prep work for the decor.  The number of designers depends on the size of the house but with this year’s 7,000-plus-square-foot home, 20 designers were involved.

red cross show houseThe 39th American Red Cross Designers’ Show House takes place in a historic 1920s home, officially known as La Florentia and nicknamed The Birthday Cake House. Sherman Childs, an associate of architect Addison Mizner, was commissioned by Lake Worth banker Earl Reed to build the home in 1925. Reed lived there till the mid-1930s. Childs, who was originally from Minnesota and moved to Lake Worth in 1912, also built the Lake Worth City Hall. Around 1955, Upton Close, a foreign and news correspondent during WWII who hosted a weekly Sunday political commentary called Close-Ups of the News for NBC, bought the house for his wife’s birthday. Rumors have it that his wife Margaret Fretter Nye actually paid for the home. La Florentia is typical Mediterranean style, and yes, there are lots of birthday-like innuendos. Two swirled pillars, similar to candles, frame the front doors, while the interior walls have thick pats of white plaster to resemble icing. The owners in the 1980s installed the stained-glass window of a birthday cake near the front door.

Over the past three months, M&V has documented the renovation and design progress of La Florentia, as captured by Danielle Gouletas.

Address: One 5th Avenue South, Lake Worth
Admission: $35, Groups of 10+ $25
Date: open until Saturday, April 4, 2015
Hours: Monday – Saturday. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.

Living Room 

Designed by Lisa Erdmann, Rhonda Grammer and Eden Tepper, Lisa Erdmann & Associates, Palm Beach



“The lavender accent in the stained windows, an original element of the room, was our starting point. Then we used blue, a nice compliment to the lavender, in the fabrics. The overall design and feel of the living room is consistent with the house and its 1920s structure. We also added the ceiling design, giving the room an architecturally component.” -Lisa Erdmann

Family Room

Designed by Piper Gonzalez, Piper Gonzalez Designs, Royal Palm Beach



“There’s a definite feminine wave with a touch of gray. This is actually my first patterned sofa by Robert Allen. The walls are grass cloth. The side room is a playful extension of the family room with murals on the walls and an extra large chess set.” -Piper Gonzalez


Designed by Melissa and Noe Guerra, NXG Studio, North Palm Beach



“The layout of the kitchen gave us ample opportunities to create a work station – located around the large island and kitchen equipment – and the fun station, near the table and bar. There was necessary roof work, so we incorporated it into the design with trusses. It’s overall a soft white room with pops of accents.” -Melissa Guerra


Stephen Mooney, Stephen Mooney Interiors, Palm Beach

RC cigar room


“The main painting by James P. Kerr inspired by color palette. The room has an eclectic feel with a tad of masculinity.” -Stephen Mooney

New Master Bedroom

Designed by Mimi Masri, MMDesigns LLC, West Palm Beach



“The room’s starting point were the draperies by Pierre Frey. It has that Florida pattern—tropical foliage with a deep celadon. The highlights are recessed ceiling and the reversed painted night stands.” -Mimi Masri

Cigar Room

Designed by Frank Maguire, Quigley Maguire Collections, Delray Beach




“The main painting by James P. Kerr inspired my color palette. The room has an eclectic feel with a tad of masculinity.” –Stephen Mooney

“The gold prints were my starting point, which I hung to hide the stain glass windows. There’s a definite masculine feel in the room, but then you look closely and you see hints of nautical elements.” -Frank Maguire

Powder Room

Designed by Melody Smith, Melody Smith Interiors, West Palm Beach


“We completely changed the architecture of this room and made it functional. I started with the gold wallpaper and starting adding layers to the room. It was an organic journey.”-Melodie Smith

“We completely changed the architecture of this room and made it functional. I started with the gold wallpaper and starting adding layers to the room. It was an organic journey.” -Melodie Smith

Guest Bedroom

Designed by Jill Shevlin, Jill Shevlin Design, Vero Beach


Foyer and Staircase

Veronica Volani-Inza, Veronica Volani-Inza Interior Design, West Palm Beach 



“I was inspired by the stained glass birthday cake at the entrance and decided to mix modern with antique. The antique Louis XIII venetian mirror, crocodile wrapped chest and mix of artwork by William Finalyson, Les Bernstein and Cheryl Maeder completed this entrance.” -Veronica Volani-Inza

Additional rooms & designers

Joseph Cortes and Kevin Marnell, HomeLife Interiors, West Palm Beach – New Master Bathroom

Todd Hase, West Palm Beach – Indoor Loggia

Timothy Johnson and Fernando Wong, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living, Palm Beach – Partial Landscape

Karen Kirk and Karen Brams, Island Living & Patio, West Palm Beach – Patios

Scott Robertson, Scott Robertson Interiors, Lake Worth - Waterview Guest Suite

Jeff Lincoln, Jeff Lincoln Interiors, New York – Dining Room

Andrew Mormile and Nicholas Skidmore, Forte Interiors Design Build, Jupiter – Old Master Bathroom

William Bainbridge Steele, William Bainbridge Steele Design, Vero Beach – Old Master Bedroom

Keith Williams, Nievera Williams Designs, Palm Beach – Landscape Chairman & Partial landscape

Efua Ramdeen and Susan Wyatt, Frocktail Decor & Design LLC, Boca Raton – Turret

Jobe Lopez, Lopez Group, Palm Beach – Partial Landscape

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