It’s no surprise that horses played their part in Mary Jo Condren and her late husband deciding to buy a home in Palm Beach.
William Condren, after all, was part owner of two Kentucky Derby winners — Strike the Gold in 1991, and Go for Gin in 1994 — and the 1996 Preakness winner, Louis Quatorze. He also co-founded and served as director of the National Thoroughbred Association and as a trustee for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
His wife took up riding again with her daughters, and in 1995, when the Condrens bought their Estate Section home at 240 Banyan Road, their daughter, Jennifer Bargas, was still in college and riding in Wellington.
“My sister, Jennifer, was involved in horseshows,” explained Elizabeth Condren. “I was finishing up college then, and Jennifer spent more time in Florida than my brother, Colin, or I.”
Their parents also made regular visits to Florida from New York.
“My father would go down to Gulfstream to watch the horses race. That was a factor in their coming to Florida,” she says.
“When my parents saw this house on Banyan, they liked it. They enjoyed the size and flow of the rooms, the view, the light airy feel — and it’s at the end of the block, so it’s quiet.”
After William Condren’s death in 2007, Mary Jo continued to live in the house but has decided she wants to spend more time at her summer home in Southampton to be closer to her daughters, who live nearby.
Accordingly, the Condrens’ four-bedroom villa — with 11,365 square feet of living space, inside and out — is listed by Cristina Condon of Sothebys International Realty. She has it priced at $21.5 million.
U-shaped floor plan
Built in 1991 on a lot measuring three-quarters of an acre, the house was developed by the Condron’s neighbors at the time, Diana and Lowry Bell, Elizabeth Condren recalls. The interiors were designed by Palm Beach decorator Scott Snyder.
With a U-shape configuration featuring north and south wings, the main house is oriented toward the west to make the most of its Intracoastal Waterway views. Rooms facing the water also look out to the pool and patio, an expansive lawn and the dock. In the waterway beyond is the northern tip of Everglades Island.
The main entry to the two-story house is on the east side, with an arrival court running the length of a raised garden. The garden lies between the main house and a two-story building that houses the three-car garage and an upstairs guest apartment with a living room, bar and two bedroom suites.
The front façade for the modified Georgian-style house features quoins at the corners, shutters at the windows and an elaborate arched surround around the front doorway. Triangular pediments pierce the roofline over the central portion of the house as well as over first-floor windows that flank the front door.
The design of the gardens is based on an axis with a central fountain and radiating walkways leading to the main house, the east building, a south covered walkway and the motor court.
Water views abound
Inside, the foyer and stair hall are quite grand, with a curved staircase and a variety of moldings. Floors here and in the main living areas are covered in marble.
The living room features a carved-stone fireplace, deep crown molding, classical surrounds around the doorways. French doors with fanlights above them lead outside to the covered loggia.
In the south wing are the kitchen, breakfast room and dining room, and in the north wing are the library and den.
Both the dining room and den have French doors fronting the loggia and with picture windows capturing views of the pool and Intracoastal. The central portions of the windows are crowned with fanlights, and all the windows set off with pilasters.
The den also has an alcove bar, a pecky-cypress coffered ceiling and a terracotta-tile floor.
The library features a hardwood floor and plantation shutters at the windows, along with custom cabinetry and paneling with decorative molding and wainscoting.
Upstairs in the north wing is the master suite, which includes a bedroom, two bathrooms, a dressing room and a sitting room with a morning bar and arched French doors opening onto a balcony. Windows in the master bedroom offer water views, and other features include crown molding, casement windows and a hardwood floor.
Also on the second floor are three en-suite guest bedrooms. In all, the property has five bathrooms and two half-baths.
‘House was fantastic’
Elizabeth Condren recalled the home as a happy one.
“When I was in college, this was a vacation house for me. We have a little back garden off the kitchen, and I’d pick up the scent of jasmine,” she said.. “The house was fantastic. I’d come with good friends, and I loved seeing everybody and hanging out by the pool.”
Higher-than-average ceilings are found throughout the house, including those in the second-floor bedrooms. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
The property measures three-quarter of an acre and freatures extensive gardens. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
A second-floor balcony overlooks the pool. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
Because of its U-shaped configuration, many of the rooms have views of the extensive pool area facing the water. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
A Palladian-style window showcase the view from the formal dining room. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
In the north wing, the family room directly faces the pool area. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
From the living room, sets of French doors with fanlights above them open onto the covered loggia. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
In the foyer and stair hall, a curved staircase provides a focal point. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
A fountain anchors the approach to the house at 240 Banyan Road. The estate is listed for sale at $21.5 million by Sothebys International Realty. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
The library is appointed with detailed paneling and millwork. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
An elaborate frontispiece, typical of the Palladian style, adorns the front fa ade. The axis of the house runs straight from the front door to pool beyond. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
An aerial photo looking south shows house s position in relation to the gentle curve to the Intracoastal Waterway. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty