$35.9M ‘spec’ home commands lakefront lot

It’s all about distinctive architecture – and how it relates to the site, according to the Frisbie family, which, over the years, has built a number of residential properties in Palm Beach, developed on “spec” without specific buyers in mind.

Corcoran Group photo by C.J. Walker

Take their previous residential project, an Italianate house facing the lagoon on the west end of Worth Avenue. With its three stories and narrow façade, it resembles nothing so much as a Venetian canal home.

This time around, their just-completed, $35.9 million house facing the lake in Midtown recalls the look of a stately Island Colonial-style governor’s mansion.

“My husband, Dave (Frisbie), and his brothers, Robert and Rick, have always loved that style, and this is their interpretation of that: mahogany, coquina and white walls,” said Corcoran Group real estate agent Suzanne Frisbie, who has listed the house at 445 Antigua Lane for sale at a price that includes the furnishings.

More specifically, historic Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica, served as an inspiration for the house’s design, adds architect Roger Janssen of Dailey Janssen Architects.

“It wasn’t intended to be a copied, but we were inspired by its relationship to the landscape – its main axis, the entrance and its orientation to the primary views – and, secondarily, its material vocabulary of stone, wood, tile,” Janssen said.

The roughly T-shaped house has two main axis: One runs east to west, leading the eye straight from the front door through the house to the Intracoastal Waterway, where there is 173 feet of frontage. The other axis, from north to south, bisects the first and ends south of the house at a massive kapok tree.

In all, the house and its separate guest house have 16,350 square feet of living space, inside and out, along with eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and three half-baths. The house stands on a cul-de-sac, four streets north of Royal Palm Way.

‘Center gallery’

“The house is very traditional in its layout,” Suzanne Frisbie said. “You come into a center gallery. You know where you are the minute you walk in. You know how this house is going to unfurl. We love symmetry.”

And repetition, she might easily have added. There are three arched front doors that face three archways leading into the living room, three arched doorways from the living room to the loggia and three arched openings from the loggia to the back yard.

And then, at the end of a vista through the living room south to the library, a bay window frames the kapok tree and the surrounding gardens designed by Chuck Yannette of Parker-Yannette Design Group in Jupiter. The kapok is protected under the town’s historic and specimen tree ordinance.

“This is one of three kapok trees on the island, and, in siting this house on this lot, honoring that tree was very important to us,” Frisbie said.

And for materials, she noted, the white color is contrasted with mahogany crown moldings, wainscoting with raised panels, beams, coffered ceilings and trim, which give the rooms a bright look while emphasizing the fine woodwork.

Also on the south side of the house is the VIP bedroom suite, which has views of the kapok tree and the waterway. The dining room, off the main galley and north of the entry, shares a fireplace with the living room.

Wall of glass doors

The great room, family kitchen, breakfast area, staff kitchen and media room are in the north wing. In the family area, the entire west wall is made up of glass doors that fold back, accordion style, to access the covered loggia and its outdoor fireplace. The space lives like an indoor/outdoor room, with both areas decorated in shades of blue by Sara McCann of McCann Design Group.

“There are ‘hidden’ screens, so that you can be outside and enjoy a gorgeous day,” Frisbie said.

Both kitchens feature custom cabinetry, professional-grade appliances and sumptuous materials: Thassos subway tile, mahogany butcher block and blue Macuaba granite.

Upstairs, the master suite occupies the northwest corner of the home and includes a bedroom, sitting room, terrace and onyx-appointed bathrooms.

A suite of rooms in the northeast section can be used as exercise facilities or to house staff. Also on the second floor are three guest-bedroom suites.

The poolside guesthouse has a game room on the first floor and two bedroom suites above.

Scarce and rare

Frisbie noted that the property is among only 21 lakefront lots with more than 150 feet of frontage between the Royal Park Bridge and the Palm Beach Country Club.

“From the standpoint of scarcity and rarity, what this house has is pretty scarce and pretty rare,” she says.

Each of the Frisbie brothers brings skills to the development team.

“Dave worked for Gerald D. Hines Interests and has built skyscrapers,” his wife said. “He knows work-flow, budgeting, scheduling, sourcing. Robert has a degree in visual studies from Harvard. He’s a student of art and antiquities. Rick is a venture capitalist. The three have been investing in real estate since their days in college.”

Soon, the Frisbie team will be joined by younger family members, whom the family fondly refer to as “the Frislings.” They would be Robert’s daughters, Katie and Franny Frisbie, who have master’s degrees in real estate from Georgetown University.

And together, they’ll work on the family’s next residential projects, which are under development on Brazilian Avenue and facing the inlet on Indian Road.

Have superyacht Will travel far

Eagles soaring through blue skies over the Aleutian Islands. Ten-foot manta rays swimming up to you in Yap. Papua New Guinea dancers in traditional costumes.

Although many enjoy the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, a growing number of cruisers have been there and done that and want to visit places farther afield.

“Trends are changing slightly, as the fleet becomes more adventurous and moves away from the increasingly overcrowded popular cruising zones,” according to last year’s Superyacht Intelligence Report.

This year, there are only 25 to 30 quality yachts for charter in far-flung places, says Diana Brody, a charter broker in Camper & Nicholsons’ Palm Beach office. “A yacht is not like a hotel. Where a boat is chartered depends on where the boat owners want to travel. If they take the boat to a faraway region, they might make it available for charter there.

“For example, two boats will be down in Antarctica for the very short Antarctic season, Dec. 15 through Feb. 1, and they are available for charter from there. Places like this are difficult to get to, and it’s expensive to take the boat there.”

Also, a few boats have home ports in Tahiti and Australia, she says. “They spend the Western Hemisphere summer there, and are in Fiji the rest of the time.

“But, seriously, this is only a handful. The demand for charters like these is not that great, but we do have clientele who like these kinds of places — maybe one every year or two.

“These charterers would be adventure travelers, and they will take a dozen guests along,” Brody says. “Usually, they have specific interests. Maybe they want to do research or special diving. They aren’t into clubbing, dressing up in haute-couture clothing or going to restaurants at St. Tropez.”

Alex Dreyfoos, owner of Silver Cloud, a 135-footer, adores long-range cruising. “Silver Cloud is a catamaran in that it has two hulls, and it is a SWATH (small waterplane area twin hull). The important words are ‘small waterplane area,’” Dreyfoos explains. “It has very thin struts that connect the submarine hulls to the boat. That’s what gives the boat its exceptional performance.

XSilver Cloud LR-18a
Silver Cloud

“The rocking is what happens on the surface. Underwater, there is no activity, so with a boat that has twin submarines, there is very little motion.

“See that vase over there?” he asks, pointing to the credenza in the salon. “It is not fastened down, and it doesn’t move when we are under way.”

The upshot is that people don’t get seasick aboard the SWATH, thereby making cruising, even over long distances, a joy.

Last season, in between cruises, Silver Cloud was at Rybovich boatyard in West Palm Beach to undergo changes to the swim platform and to upgrade some of the electronics. Dreyfoos has used his boat extensively, traveling 70,000 nautical miles (80,556 statute miles).

Ports of call have included Alaska, Japan, Yap, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, the Galapagos Islands, Brazil and Scandinavia. (Just for a point of reference, consider that the circumference around the world at the equator is 21,638 nautical miles (24,901 statute miles).

“The Fiji islands are very anxious to have us come back,” Dreyfoos says. “I love Papua New Guinea, and I’d love to dive in Truk Lagoon.

He calls yachts such as his previous boat, a Feadship, “shiny white cocktail lounges,” with most charterers flying to the boat once it reaches its destination. “The charterers sleep aboard, but they only go out to cruise on nice days.

“Very few people travel with the boat from place to place. My boat is the exception, and I, of course, love to travel with the boat. I’m up for the adventure.

“We had more charters than we wanted on our Feadship, and I’d like to charter more. But I’ve always wanted to use the boat.”

Silver Cloud has served as a “shadow yacht” (a second boat that travels with the main yacht, carrying “toys” — in this case, a helicopter), cruising 1,000 miles up the Amazon River to Peru. This type of charter was exactly Dreyfoos’ cup of tea. “Silver Cloud fit the charterer’s needs, since it has a heli-deck. We made the arrangements and the charterer paid the delivery fee, which covered the fuel.

“I wanted to go there, too, so we took the boat all the way up to Peru, and the charterer brought it back with the current. Then he got off, and I got on again.”

And the icing on this cake? Flying is the next best thing to cruising, according to Dreyfoos: “The helicopter was the one that Queen Elizabeth charters. It had been boxed up, shipped to one of the British islands, and it was island-hopped to Brazil. After the charter, on its way back, I had a chance to fly this wonderful machine.”

Recently, Dreyfoos received a request from charterers who wanted to go to Greenland or Iceland, “but they chickened out,” he adds.

Five years ‘nonstop’

David Clarke, former captain of the 240-foot Laurel, traveled to faraway places with its previous owner. “For five years, we went nonstop,” Clarke says. “We left Seattle, where the yacht was built. We went over the horizon and kept on going.”

Laurel Alaska
Laurel in Alaska

They cruised 135,100 nautical miles (155,355 statute miles), visiting Alaska, Canada, Tahiti, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia, up through the Amazon River, Argentina, the Chilean fjords — and the list goes on.

“The owner had a thing about rivers,” Clarke explains. “We went 120 miles up the Sepik River (in New Guinea). I was navigating on a road map. It was quite an adventure. We had boats in front of us sounding depths.

“It was like stepping back in time 500 years. Those people have nothing but what they find in the bush. I saw three children paddling across the river in a dugout canoe. It was quite a sight.

“The Amazon was another adventure — catching piranhas, and seeing sloths and massive pythons.

“We anchored in the lee of Horn Island, where there’s a lighthouse. It was freezing. We stopped there, got the owner and crew ashore, met the lighthouse tender and his family, and walked to the southernmost point. So I’m able to say that I stood on the southernmost piece of land in the world, aside from Antarctica.”

Clarke planned the itinerary, forecasting dates and places a year in advance. Every area has its own little jewel, he says. “There are highlights. For example, in Alaska, we had the ability to position Laurel a quarter-mile off the glaciers and watched them ‘calving.’ There would be a crack of ice and waves rolling under the hull. That’s a pretty special experience.

“The wilds of Alaska are unbelievable. We saw a mother bear and her cubs coming out of the forest, and she was teaching the cubs how to catch salmon.”

Laurel’s owner died two years ago; and last March, the superyacht was sold to new owners. At that time, the boat was based at Rybovich. The new owners plan to tour the world as well, says Laurel’s new captain, Mark Diekmann, who also creates the itineraries for his cruises.

“This summer, we will cruise the Mediterranean. Then, in September, we’ll cruise in New England. In October, we’ll come back to Palm Beach for a yard period at Rybovich. For Christmas and New Year’s, we’ll be in the Caribbean, then go to Panama for transit to the Pacific. By February 2014, we’ll be in Patagonia, and during the winter months, we’ll round Cape Horn and complete the winter cruise in Rio de Janeiro,” Diekmann says.

New territories

Shannon McCoy, a retail charter yacht broker with Worth Avenue Yachts, says, “Places like Patagonia and Rio de Janeiro are less frequented in charter-yacht markets. New hot spots — Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey — have become more popular over the years, and more charter yachts are becoming available in those areas. So when yachts like Silver Cloud and Laurel are mapping out new territories, we see this as an opportunity for new markets and growth in our industry.”

The itinerary of Silver Cloud, on the other hand, is set by Dreyfoos and his captain, Stephen Martin. They work out the most efficient routes. Martin also works with yacht managing agent Lisa Greenberg, owner of Pacific Bound Yachts, who helped him to research the Amazon and Baltic trips.

“Lisa coordinated with agencies in each port so that our arrival would go smoothly,” Martin notes. “She helped me with timing, pre-clearance documentation, and pilotage (the pilot who brings the vessel into port).”

She also helped with the itinerary, he adds. “She arranged for guides, museum tours and car services. When we went to the Amazon, she set up a trip to an Indian village, untouched by civilization.”

When asked for suggestions, Greenberg likes to find out the country’s hidden secret — or, as she says, “Where’s that door that opens for the queen?

“I talked to the only living member of the original Jacques Cousteau team, who told me that there was life on Easter Island 500 years earlier than its accepted historical date, and he could prove it,” she says.

To arrange such an adventure, she would, of course, have to get helicopter and vehicle permits — after locating the adventurous cruisers. But she’s ready, willing and waiting.

This story was written for the Palm Beach Daily News. For it’s photo gallery, click here.

Minds eye: Aston Martin-inspired speed boat

Here’s a sport boat that’s going nowhere fast: the Aston Martin Voyage 55, a concept boat conceived by Luiz de Basto Designs, Miami.

Aston Martin-inspired speed boat
de Basto

Architect Luiz de Basto specializes in luxury yachts. Every year or so, he and his team design a concept boat as a professional exercise. In 2011, he chose to create the Martin Voyage 55, a high-performance boat inspired by the lines of Aston Martin’s Vantage, Rapide, DBS and Virage.

“This boat was not for production. It’s just that I was interested in using the brand,” he explains. “I have an Aston Martin Vantage, and I love the lines of the car. So I thought, ‘Why not design something with the characteristics of that brand name for the fun of it?’ ”

There are many routes he could have taken. After all, physical architecture, nature, aircraft and “green” building materials also inspire boat designs. “Cars are just one influence,” he says, “and not the best, in my opinion.

“Cars and boats have totally different uses, so there’s really no meaning to designing a boat that looks like a car. To begin with, you can’t walk on the hood of a car.”

To make this project work, de Basto took small details that are characteristic of the Aston Martin and incorporated them into his overall boat design.

Take the iconic Aston Martin grill, for example. “Of course, boats don’t have grills. A boat has a bow, which is pointed, but when people look at our concept boat, they see ‘Aston Martin.’ They aren’t clear why, but it’s because of the shape of the big windshield on the hull that has the same shape as the grille on the Aston Martin.

“Even though the proportions are different, the window, which also serves a functional purpose for the boat, brings in an element of the car.”

Other classic Aston Marting design elements include the engine ventilation intake over the hood, which was adapted to create a sun pad and a hatch. Headlights resemble cleats, and turning lights look like the navigation lights.

The concept works because of the size of the boat, de Basto notes. “If you go any bigger, let’s say an 80- or 90-footer, no way could we use the elements of a sports car on a boat that size – a car doesn’t have three decks,” he says.

For a sporty look, the boat’s design had to exude power. But it also had be elegant and refined, “like you could arrive at a party at night in a tuxedo,” he says.

While the Aston Martin brand was the basis for the concept, de Basto didn’t adhere to it completely. When the project was completed, he contacted Aston Martin’s marketing department, he says. “We had made the boat green and yellow, because those were the colors of the AM racing team that year, and they told us that they had changed their racing colors to white.

“So what? I’m not going to do white. White doesn’t express what we wanted.”

Even though this boat is not going anywhere, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t. “I did this for professional reasons — not because I wanted to build it, but the boat is engineered. It’s feasible. It’s not something out of the blue,” de Basto says. “We had to make technical drawings to ensure that we were working in the right dimensions.”

When creating a concept car, he and his team work within self-imposed specifications. “Every product comes with parameters defined by the owner or the market, and that’s good. Inside the boundaries, we try to be creative. Then, when we are done, we can look at the end result and see if we achieved what we aimed for.”

De Basto has designed concept boats that he later built, or wants to build.

His Quartz 55-meter superyacht is beautiful, high-tech, modern, American, and is a custom-build, he explains. “It uses flat glass, which makes it striking and also less expensive to build. It’s about ‘contact with nature,’ and it opens up.”

Quartz 55

The Quartz features a hull with aft sides that flip down to reveal a beach club that runs from port to starboard. The hinge-down panels that extend and increase the deck area are a creation that he used in another concept boat, the Top Deck 63 Astondoa.

The Astondoa is in production, with the first one presented at the Cannes Boat Show in September.

The Onyx 41 Hodgdon, another concept boat, was introduced in July. “It’s very high-tech, a modern boat, but with lines that are reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s. It’s a mix of traditional and modern, with skylights on the foredeck that have a wonderful effect from the inside. I love the exterior; the proportions are very nice. We just finished the design; it’s been engineered, and it’s ready to go.”