Palm Beach and New York have shared an enduring social history ever since Henry Flagler transformed Palm Beach from a refuge to a resort playground bringing well-heeled pleasure seekers for a winter season of sunshine, cake walks and roulette. This season’s first Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House represents a continuation of that zeitgeist. When the local Red Cross organization shelved its perennial Show House fundraiser, the NYC Kips Bay Decorator Show House group reinstated the popular affair with a Palm Beach version of its signature Manhattan benefit in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. Established more than a century ago, Kips Bay serves 10,000 children; the Palm Beach organization’s 13 clubs reach more than 8,000 children.
Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House benefits NY+PB Boys & Girls Clubs
Villa Belmonte – 196 Belmonte Road, West Palm Beach
November 25, 2017 – December 19, 2017
The much anticipated inaugural tableau spotlights Bunny Williams, honorary design chairwoman, with Ellie Cullman and Pauline Pitt serving as co-chairwomen of the patina-and-pattern showcase. The November 24 VIP preview party committee included honorary chairmen Richard and Virginia Simmons, chairmen Wally and Betsy Turner and junior chairmen Nick and Caroline Rafferty. Among the well-appointed design firms that will reimagine each room at Villa Belmonte are Ellen Kavanaugh Interiors, Amanda Lindroth Interior Design, McCann Design Group, Caroline Rafferty Interiors, Christopher Maya Inc., foley&cox, Bradfield & Tobin, Susan Zises Green Inc., Mabley Handler Interior Design, Robert Brown Interior Design, Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio, Vincere Ltd., Bierly-Drake Associates, Stephen Mooney Interiors, Phillip Gorrivan Design, Lisa Erdmann & Associates, and Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design.
Villa Belmonte’s current owner, the Angus G. Donnelley Trust, donated the use of the venue for the fundraising event. The R. R. Donnelley & Sons (1844-2005) publishing family archive is housed at the University of Chicago Library. More locally the family was involved in the development and transformation of the Lantana Boatyard into major yacht building center, begun by Ellliott R. Donnelley in 1965. While the eclectic villa has undergone considerable additions and modifications since 1925 when it was first owned by Frank and Grace Hannon as a modest two-bedroom house, it remains sympathetic to the Spanish and Italian influences that first defined the El Cid Historic District as conceived by developer John S. Phipps’ Palm Beach Company.
A CPA in New Hampshire and New York, Hannon moved to West Palm Beach in 1923 as secretary of the Olympia Company that was developing the Jupiter-Hobe Sound area. Headed by Malcolm Meacham, Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle and Benjamin Duke, the Olympia Company eventually went bust but is often credited with introducing the New York-Long Island Treanor & Fatio architectural firm to the Palm Beach area with its then “junior partner” Maurice Fatio. After a stint as city manager and tax assessor for the City of West Palm Beach during the 1930s, Hannon became executive secretary of the Palm Beach Civic Association from 1945 until 1968.
Here are some of my impressions during the Show House press preview.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.
Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur