On the Street Where You Live. An Affair to Remember. Why I can’t Walk Away. So, ask Vic Damone to sing the praises of 200 Via Bellaria, the house where he’s lived 15 years with his wife fashion designer Rena Rowan Damone, and he melodously will.
This lovingly renovated 1928 estate, La Casita, designed by Maurice Fatio for Mrs. Alexander McKay, is not just a Palm Beach mansion. “I love it here. Our home is for people who are in love – who feel for each other. This is how we felt.”
“Some mansions don’t feel like home,” Damone says. “This one does.” But it does hark back to Old World Mediterranean, too.
“Anthony Quinn visited us years ago with his two kids, and he loves Italy. He walked in and said, ‘I want this house. I think I’m in Italy.’
In the early 1990s, the house underwent a three-year renovation by interior designer Juan Montoya under the direction of Rena, who, as co-founder of Jones of New York, certainly understands the elements of style.
But he and Rena are both 84, and they’ve have moved to a smaller house – that’s the only reason they are selling La Casita, he says.
The home, cabana and guest house, with six bedrooms, six-and-a-half bathrooms and 7,889 square feet inside and out, is listed for $8.5 million with Monique and Hal Matheson with Monique Matheson Properties, LLC.
Like an Italian villa, it’s very warm and welcoming, as Damone pointed out.. In the foyer, the freestanding circular stairway is adorned with a beautiful wrought-iron railing designed by Montoya. Architectural lines overall are sleek and fresh and the south wall has glass doors in archways that offer view of the rear courtyard with its bubbling fountain and pool set in lush landscaping.
To the east is the living room, and with all the grace of a Fatio home, features intricate ceiling details, pecky cypress paneling, fireplace, oak floors stained black and doors to the south opening onto the loggia. But it was elegantly updated under the masterful eyes of Montoya and Rowan.
“My wife has lived in this house for years. She was the mastermind (behind the renovation). Everything she does is perfect and every corner is meticulously done,” Damone says
The den and dining room are to the west of the foyer. The den has a cosmopolitan feel with cherry bookcases and a sleek wet bar area. Through wrought-iron gates is the dining room with expanses of windows all around. That’s exactly what Rena wanted, Damone says. “She asked for glass walls to bring the outside in.
Upstairs are his and her master suites. “As much as we want to be together, she has her privacy and I have mine,” Damone says. Both are sumptuous.
The home also has another bedroom suite on the first floor, a guest suite above the garage and another separate guest suite the Damones used as an exercise room. The large cabana comprises a living dining area with a bedroom suite and a full kitchen.
“Senator Hatch stayed here,” he says, referring to the cabana. He didn’t want to leave. And I had my piano out here before I retired. My quartet would come in and it was perfect for rehearsing.”
The covered loggia by the pool with a wet bar is inviting. “My wife and I often had lunch here,” he says. And the whole courtyard area has been wonderful for hosting philanthropic events, he adds.