The commission gave a unanimous thumbs up to the custom home developer Patrick Carney and his wife, Lillian, want to build for themselves at 905 N. Ocean Blvd.
The board also voted 5-2 to approve a Bermuda-inspired house that longtime resident Keith Beaty and his son, Clark, want to build on speculation next door at 901 N. Ocean Blvd. on a site immediately north of the Palm Beach Country Club.
The two lots were carved within the past year from a larger estate that stood for many years where the coastal road makes a sharp curve around the northern edge of the club. Both lots measure a little more than an acre.
“We spent a lot of time meeting with neighbors over the past two months,” Keith Beaty said after the vote as he explained how his team came up with a design that he hopes will have lasting appeal.
“We’re just delighted to have approval and we think the house will complement the neighborhood,” he said.
At 901 N. Ocean Blvd.
Architect Roger Janssen of Dailey Janssen Architects told commissioners that he had worked hard to scale down the “massing” of the Beatys’ house and guest house, which have a grand total of 13,511 square feet.
To do that, he eliminated a long breezeway that linked parts of the house, pulled the home farther west from the seawall and eliminated a pair of two-story octagonal towers at the corners facing the ocean, replacing the one on the southeast corner with a similar one-story design.
He also redesigned the overall exterior so that only one-story elements would run along the socalled “setback” lines facing North Ocean Boulevard. The idea, he said, was to ensure that passengers in cars approaching the house would see only the roofs peek above the tall perimeter hedge.
“We think these (roofs) will add a great silhouette appeal as you drive north along North Ocean Boulevard,” Janssen said.
Janssen was the second architect on the project. A year ago, architect Stephen Roy presented the first design, which was summarily rejected by the commission as too overwhelming for the lot. That decision pleased a number of neighbors, who vigorously complained that the house would loom over the street and disrupt the architectural harmony of the neighborhood.
The Beatys appealed the decision to the Town Council, which agreed the commission had acted too hastily and sent the design back with instructions to board members to give the architect more detailed directions about what needed to be changed.
By the time the project was reintroduced in March, Janssen had replaced Roy. But commissioners still said the new Bermuda-style house Janssen designed was too tall, too large and too monolithic — a criticism the board repeated when they saw revisions in April and May.
It was a different story Wednesday as the board reviewed the more compact design.
“I think the project has taken a really nice turn,” said Alternate Commissioner Betsy Shiverick, who voted in the absence of Commissioner Robert N. Garrison with the majority that approved the project. Commissioners Alexander Ives and John David Corey voted against the approval.
Board Chairman Bob Villa was enthusiastic in his review of the project and told Janssen: “You’ve done a terrific job of addressing the feedback you’ve gotten from the commission.”
Vila added that the project harmonized not only with the “built environment” but also with the wishes of neighbors who will live nearby and drive by the house once it is built.
At 905 N. Ocean Blvd.
The commission had voted 4-3 in July to kill the Carneys’ design. But in August, commissioners reconsidered the project at the request of the couple’s attorney, Francis X.J. Lynch, who told them the “lot coverage” had been significantly reduced. The 12,000-square-foot version that just won approval was about 3,000 square feet smaller than the design rejected in July.
Since it was first presented in March, the Carneys’ proposed house underwent even more stylistic changes than the Beatys’ project. As described by designer Daniel Menard of LaBerge & Menard Inc., each style change emerged in the wake of objections of the commission and neighbors.
Among those opposed had been developer Murray Goodman and his wife, Joanie, who live immediately north of the property and had vehemently objected to the size of the house, saying it would intrude on their privacy. But after reviewing the revisions presented Wednesday, the couple endorsed the design.
What started out as a 20,000-square-foot Georgian-style house morphed into a Beaux-Arts style before transitioning into a Bermuda style. The revision was described by Menard as having architecture in a “cottagey style” with simple windows, deep eaves supported by brackets and broad tapered columns that recall the bungalows built during Palm Beach’s early days.
The Carneys had agreed to build “something that’s less formal as you drive up to it. You don’t feel like you’re going up to a mansion,” Menard said, adding that the new design “is far more discreet” in keeping with the overall informality of homes on the North End.
Like the house at No. 901, the footprint of the latest design for 905 was pushed farther away from the street and the sea wall. The latter change allows more light into the Goodmans’ property and preserves more of their ocean views, Menard said.
The roof also was lowered, and the garage was placed underground, which reduced the length of the north and south sides of the residence by 30 feet.
“It’s come a long way,” said Corey. “It looks better on the site, and the style of the architecture is very pleasing — sort of ‘old Florida’ but on a larger scale.”
Attorney Lynch urged the commission to approve the design.
“We’ve heard the comments. We’ve made the changes,” he said. “We have an oversized lot with an undersized house based on what code allows.”
The front door of 905 N. Ocean Blvd. is on the west side of the house, which was approved by the Architectural Commission on Wednesday after multiple revisions.