Once 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.
The 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.
Designed by Lisa Erdmann, Rhonda Grammer and Eden Tepper, Lisa Erdmann & Associates, Palm Beach
Designed by Piper Gonzalez, Piper Gonzalez Designs, Royal Palm Beach
Designed by Melissa and Noe Guerra, NXG Studio, North Palm Beach
Stephen Mooney, Stephen Mooney Interiors, Palm Beach
New Master Bedroom
Designed by Mimi Masri, MMDesigns LLC, West Palm Beach
Designed by Frank Maguire, Quigley Maguire Collections, Delray Beach
Designed by Melody Smith, Melody Smith Interiors, West Palm Beach
Designed by Jill Shevlin, Jill Shevlin Design, Vero Beach
Foyer and Staircase
Veronica Volani-Inza, Veronica Volani-Inza Interior Design, West Palm Beach
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