Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau is selling her home and tropical jungle!
And, yes, it’s everything you’d imagine when you think of Palm Beach’s “Lilly” label – flowers, color and whimsy everywhere, as well as unique architectural classical detail along with bits of bric-a-brac and gingerbread.
All together, in the main house, casita and pool house there are a total of nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms and three half baths and 8,233 square feet inside and out, sitting on one-and-a-third acres of meandering paths, patios and tropical gardens. Lilly’s estate at 710 S. County Road is listed with Brown Harris Stevens for $11.5 million.
Here is the story of Palm Beach’s one-and-only Lilly-designed estate.
“Enrique and I had just sold our house on the lake, and we were just looking,” Lilly says. “Enrique found this, and when I saw it, I said, ‘Oh my god. We are going to have to build,’ because we fell in love with the property.
“It was a tropical oasis, really beautiful – specimen trees, huge banyans, orange trees and a little stream. There were a Chinese garden and an orchard and a service road coming through to the ocean – unbelievable.”
She had remodeled many times, but had never built a home before, she said. “Building was quite a process.
“Kemp Caler from Hobe Sound was the architect. It was quite a project and, for a while, we didn’t get very far because I didn’t know what I wanted.
“So, I told him to put it on hold for a little bit, then, after a few months, I told him I was ready to start up.
“He’d give me the design of the day. I’d spread it out on my desk with pencils and rulers, and I’d remodel what he’d done, give it back to him, and then, he’d redo what I’d done.
“That’s how it went. Little by little. It took a year, and then I told him, I have one more request. Flip the plans and make the pool on the north side of the house.
“I thought he’d kill me. But the next day, the plans were flipped. Nothing to it. And we went with it.”
Just north of the S. County entrance is the original gatekeeper’s stucco cottage – the property was part of the Love estate. Lilly calls that Lady Chatterley’s lover’s casita. Within it are a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, and it’s surrounded by it’s own lush gardens and patios.
The main house is set back onto the property. And once through the front door and into the entry foyer with its Herpel-tile floors and barrel-vaulted ceiling, visitors are welcomed with all the colors from Lilly’s palette, and then some.
What color are the entry’s walls and ceiling, Lilly? “How about tomato bisque?” she answers.
To the south is a powder room and to the north is her office. A little further along is her center-island kitchen with professional grade appliances, open shelving and breakfast room – Lilly loves to cook. And take note of those refrigerator doors – covered with two big framed florals.
At the end of the foyer is a sitting area, with a daybed heaped with pillows, and the pale-green dining room, with furniture she brought with her.
“Sometimes I keep the two tables together. Sometimes, I split them apart and it turns into a group of 16,”she says. “It’s there to change for whatever group is here.”
A bit further east are the loggia, bar and living room.
Lilly loves sitting in the loggia when she’s not outside soaking up the sun. And the living room is unique, octagonal shaped, two huge windows with fans above, and a soaring ceiling.
“My ex-husband’s bedroom was octagonal, and I loved the shape of that room,” she explains about her sources of inspiration.
“And I saw a picture of that window in some South Hampton brochure. I said we should have two. On the one, we faked it (the fan above the window) – it’s a mirror, and it looks just fabulous.
“I wanted to see jungle everywhere. Didn’t want curtains and wanted it open to whatever was out there.
“Then came the surprise. They pulled a fast one on me. The painters wanted the color for the living room by the next day and I hadn’t picked the fabric for that room, yet.
“Oh, my god. What color will I do the living room? Yellow. It’s my least favorite color but it goes with everything.”
Good choice, she found out. Since that time, she’s recovered and reupholstered tons of times in many different color schemes. “It’s a mish and a mash, but whatever I do, it looks like it’s always been there.”
Continuing east from the loggia is a guest bedroom and master suite. Lilly’s bedroom has a fireplace, bay window with a window seat, and high tray ceiling, papered below the deep crown molding and painted above.
Also in the main house are two more guest bedroom suites on the second floor.
Behind the house is the pool house. Part of it was there when she bought the property, Lilly says. “It was a garage or tool shed with a little apartment over it. I added the living room right after finishing the house. For the bedroom, I grabbed the beautiful bed (English bamboo with an unusual tester) that came with the armoire that’s behind the grand piano in the living room.”
Now, the pool house is comprised of the living room, bedroom, bathroom, cabanas and sauna downstairs and a guest suite above.
And, of course, all of this is surrounded by the lushest tropical gardens imaginable. Paths are everywhere and little surprises are hidden all over.
There’s a trampoline, which Lilly says, every kid around has been on, and a charming play house, a hammock on a hillock, a bridge, and, of course, Lilly’s favorite, the enormous slat house.
“It was right in the middle of the gardens,” Lilly recalls. “It was the plant hospital for the main house. Really love it.”
This has served as her dining room for her houseful of family and friends for holiday meals, as well as the setting for wedding ceremonies.
Another patio for an outdoor kitchen and picnic seating is close by, as well as huge patios around the pool.
Lilly says she hasn’t a clue where she’s going.
“I’ve had many wonderful years in this house. It’s really a dream. It’s the coziest house. I’ve had a really good time, here, and I’m onto whatever.”