Welcome to our architectural review newsletter. This up-close look behind the scenes and the mind of Harry Gandy Howle reflects how each finished home is a project of energy and enthusiasm that represents an intense level of attention to details.
This stunning North Palm Beach residence is located in the private community of Lost Tree Village. Homeowner, Ann Wells is the Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Bank and Trust in Louisville, Kentucky. The story of how architect, Harry Howle and Ann collaborated to transform a weary 1970’s structure into a beautiful home is also featured in the December 2018 issue of Vero Beach Magazine.
You might say it was serendipitous. Ann and her husband had moved their winter home to Palm Beach from Vero Beach many years ago while their children were young. Until recently, their family’s pied-a-terre was a condominium – but one they outgrew once spouses and grandchildren were added to the bunch. After finding the dated and worn home in Lost Tree Village, a builder recommended that Ann contact me for architectural guidance.
Ann and I clicked right away because of our mutual admiration for Georgian architecture and our ties to John’s Island. Lost Tree Village and J.I. were both developed by Llywd Ecclestone. Combine this with the fact I had completed over 200 homes in John’s Island, the deal was quickly sealed. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
The original 1970’s home was in a perfect location but we started with a derelict house that either needed to be renovated or torn down. We explored multiple options, including adding a second story to gain more space for the family. Most houses built in the ‘70’s were much smaller and didn’t accommodate open floor plans that families demand in today’s homes. They were also not built to today’s strict building codes, including wind and energy codes. Needless to say, there was a great deal of work to be done.
Adding a second story was too costly. We ultimately took the roof off the entire center of the house and raised it to allow for taller walls. By adding Georgian details, Tuscan arches and dormers, it took on a striking new appeal and functionality. We then added two wings, one for the master bedroom and the other for the new family room. The original house was 4,220 square feet. By adding 720 additional feet of interior space and another 700 feet for the portico and porches, the renovation was a stunning success.
Prior to the renovation, when you entered the house you were faced with a big, unused space with a panel of dark fretwork. We broke the space into different areas, which gave us a generous guest bedroom and bath and a lovely library. I love the fact that when you enter the home now, you enter a foyer with a dramatic barrel ceiling that leads into the open living and dining room. Your eye is immediately drawn to the porch and pool beyond the triple set of French doors. It’s truly an amazing transformation.