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.
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.
“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.