Friday, May 9, 2008

The Legendary Louwana on the Block

SELLER: Estate of Aimee de Heeren
PRICE: $30,000,000
LOCATION: N. County Road, Palm Beach, FL
SIZE: 13,539 (approx.) square feet, 9 bedrooms, 5 full and 2 half bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: One of the last Great Houses of Palm Beach, an enduring legend of architectural and historic significance. Dating from 1919, this majestically picturesque 10-bedroom villa sprawls over 1.5± acres featuring 150± feet of idyllic direct beachfront. Held by only one family; exquisitely preserved in museum condition. Pool, tennis court, beach cabana. An exceedingly important offering.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama received a late night correspondence from a dee-pressed and despondent source whom we kindly call The Social Butterfly who is bent out of shape and broken hearted about the recent listing of recently deceased international high society maven Aimee de Heeren's legendary Louwana estate on N. County Road in posh Palm Beach. The ocean front property was designed in 1919 by noted Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner, has been held by the same family ever since and carries an asking price of $30,000,000.

Listing information for the property shows that in addition to the 9 bedrooms, five full and two half bathrooms, there is a guest house, a pool house and a conveniently located beach cabana so that all the Lilly Pulitzer types don't have to go streaking like a lemur across the lawn in their flower printed caftans in order to use a terlit. Additionally there is garaging for three cars, 4 fireplaces, an inground pool, tennis court and an elevator.

Although there are much larger, grander and certainly more capital "T" Tacky estates all up and down the sandy shores of Palm Beach–for example, the decadent and decidedly disturbing 80,000 square foot pile next door to Louwana being sold by the equally decadent and decidedly disturbing Mister Donald Trump for $125,000,000–the lovely Louwana is often referred to as "one of the last great houses of Palm Beach."

If the children will put on their thinking caps they should recall that it wasn't so long ago that Your Mama discussed Miz de Heeren's Louwana shortly after discovering that the estate had been put out for lease at $90,000 per month. This was, of course, shortly after we (and every other real estate gossip) discussed the soo-blime, old-skool and for sale at $33,000,000 Manhattan townhouse that Miz de Heeren called home when she wasn't gallivanting around the globe appearing to be many years younger than her chronological age and looking terribly chic and severe in the way only very rich international high society types do.

If we had to guess, Your Mama imagines some high flying hedge hog or big bizness baron will scoop up Louwana and give the place a full make-over that will include adding every possible modern convenience and luxury. Which is fine. Your Mama recognizes that many well to do people want reverse osmosis water purifying systems, pilates studios and his and her poopers in the master bedroom. However, both The Social Butterfly and Your Mama sincerely hope–we'd pray if we were the religious type–that the new owner, whomever they be, will restore rather than rip down and preserve rather than pick apart piece by piece.

30 comments:

lil' gay boy said...

Buying a one-owner Addison Mizner original presents a rare opportunity for the connoisseur to restore this gem on 1.5 acres (despite it's proximity to the "Trump Dump") into a truly astounding world-class residence.

I'm sure if the same sensibilities employed in her Manhattan townhouse are in evidence here, the new owner is in for a rare treat . . .

Alessandra said...

I'm with LGB. Such a wonderful preservation opportunity for the right buyer...

Viva! said...

For the right buyer this place will be sensational. I do remember that the kitchen was very old and definitely needed restoring...but this house, like Mrs de Heeren, was from an era in which 'the help' went into the kitchen.

Just add a few tropical splashes to the interior, adjust the landscaping to personal tastes and gut the kitchen. It's terrific.

I am baffled that a house like this, as well as all the other Mizners, aren't historically significant legally protected properties. A lot of the world's great cities make it illegal to knock down a significant house. Palm Beach should look into that.

StPaulSnowman said...

Oh come on Mama and Lil' gay boy, admit it.....it is not his Depot of a Home you really hate........it's his hair.

Anonymous said...

Louwana was originally built by Gurnee Munn and his first wife, Wanamaker heir Mary Louise Wanamaker. They built Louwana next door to Munn's brother's (Charles Munn) estate (Amado) which you can see to the left of Louwana. They shared a driveway which you can see in the picture--the drive very close to Amado, so it will be interesting to see how this is worked out with regard to property lines when Louwana is actually sold.

Anonymous said...

Louwana was originally built by Gurnee Munn and his first wife, Wanamaker heir Mary Louise Wanamaker. They built Louwana next door to Munn's brother's (Charles Munn) estate (Amado) which you can see to the left of Louwana. They shared a driveway which you can see in the picture--the drive very close to Amado, so it will be interesting to see how this is worked out with regard to property lines when Louwana is actually sold.

Yak said...

Although the house is gorgeous and certainly architecturally significant (from what I read, like I'd know anything about architecture), if I was paying 30mil for a house on an estate like that I'd want a few gigantic windows and a few less palm trees to allow my peepers more than a glimpse of that big blue ocean.
Let's face it, the estate is commanding that kind of dough because it's waterfront not because it's an architectural/historical gem. It's like the ocean view was an afterthought for Mr. Mizner. Perhaps they didn't have the technology back in the old timey days for big sheets of double glazed glass and air conditioning. I suspect whoever buys it will be making more than a few structural changes to let a little light in.

bentley said...

A gem. I think this house was the "let's go bananas with whimsy" property for the delightful de Heeren. When you live every day in such perfection in Manhattan, you have to have somewhere with a bit of kitsch - the Daisy Mae scarecrow being a prime example - to keep yourself sane.

Palm Beach, not famous for its restraint, of late, should hold on to this place like nobody's business.

I agree, Yak. I think your vision can be achieved while still preserving this old Grande Dame.

alicia said...

Lilly Pulitzer*

Anonymous said...

ugly drive to the house.

seems a bit crammed in

no concept of planting the palm trees on the lawn.

tennis court needs a complete makeover. not a properly netted court on west and east side

what the hell are those ugly sheds on the right hand side next to the tennis court?

seems a ripoff considering Trump purchased all his land for abot $40m with better existing house.

silly having a swimming pool near the motorcourt

Property next door has too many palm trees blocking the view

you would have thought Trump to spend some money bulding a retaining wall along the beach edge.

looks haunted.

I'd rather spend $30m on a place in Holmby Hills, Calf.

Anonymous said...

I would hope someone would film the inside and out, before and after. A documentary would be oh so cool..

I love the history of it all and agree with presveration. Sell tickets, give tours collect money for the state of FL. I wonder if that would piss Trump off?

Sandalwood...

StPaulSnowman said...

I am sure that paying tourists would not piss him off as he would then have the opportunity to offer event parking and make a little pocket money.

lil' gay boy said...

StPaulSnowman,

I confess you're right about the hair; with all of the funds he has at his disposal, you'd think he would have located a better stylist by now.

But as for that monstrosity of his - I don't care how many sybaritic delights it has to offer; it still looks like a weekend in the Abu Dhabi International Airport, complete with a duty free where you could by his cologne . . .

As for the smallish windows in Louwana, well - they date from the days when a window framed the view, and the interest was in a certain amount of privacy and decorum, rather than letting the outdoors rush it.

Anonymous said...

Lovely tribute to Aimee de Heeren with rare interior photos of Louwana here:
http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/listpopup.php?tid=245

Anonymous said...

This place has recently been renovated. it was a complete mess 2 years ago so their is not much to renovate now. Thats why they want you to flush $30m down the toliet. The developer is the one that will walk away with the profits - NOT U.

Anonymous said...

there's no developer here...this house has been in the same family for nearly 100 years. it's in good but estate condition.

so_chic_darling said...

I don't see why everyone is so breathless about this place,It's OK but not spectacular.It's not doing anything for me children sorry.

aunt mary said...

But So_Chic, it's never been touched. It's probably full of the original nooks and crannies. I bet it even has a special alcove for "The" telephone. Oh, imagine what might be tucked away in the attic and linen cupboards. Meet me in your jon boat tonight and we'll tie it to the beach stairs and we'll creep up and have a look.

Alessandra said...

Oooh...I love built in telephone tables!

Anonymous said...

man, i love this place, i have bought properties all over los angeles, and the best ones are the ones that are "original" no bullshit from the 70s and 80s... just lived in homes that speak abou the people who lived there, so many " homo beige, and white" redos in los angeles now, its like the track homes of the year 2008 . not many of these old places left........... except my place......

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the appeal of this place. It currently has a front drive through a neighbouring property which may be cut off, leaving it with the 'tradesman's entrance' through the Kellog property, which tracks past huts and sheds to a back door. It has a run down tennis court, and the pool is on the road side enclosed by a wall. The site is narrow and confined. Someone, please, tell me why anyone would be interested in buying this property at a premium price, that does not involve some fantasy about 'gracious living' days gone by.

aunt mary said...

See, So_Chic, even Alessandra agrees with me. A proper telephone alcove will have an upholstered bench, built-in writing table and closing doors for privacy. Of course the staff is listening in on the extension downstairs.

lil' gay boy said...

Just imagine Maisie, the scullery maid, sneaking off across the patio to meet Gregory, the chauffeur, for a midnight assignation . . .

. . . whilst Jordan, the perennial ne'er-do-well house guest watches drunkenly from the guest house balcony.

While earlier, Mrs. Aimee de Heeren removes her diamond and emerald necklace from the safe in the back of the linen closet and makes her way to the telephone nook to call Van Cleef & Arpel to come and collect it for cleaning for tomorrow's fete . . .

And you wonder what captivates us so about these old grande dames?

luke220 said...

She was a classy lady, can't help but draw a comparison to Mrs. Hearst.

That said, this property is at least $10 mill overpriced, IMHO.

StPaulSnowman said...

I'm with LGB......Colonel Mustard did it in the conservatory with Jordan watching. Well, I guess there is no need for a conservatory in Florida but I think a conservatory is about the best possible indoor space. The old period conservatory at the Elms in Newport is about as good as it gets.

Anonymous said...

a bit off topic, but assuming they were both priced "correctly", what makes the Aimee de Heeren manhattan residence (off fifth ave, whole building, six floors, original condition), "worth" $13mm less than the Brooke Astor penthouse (park ave, 2 floors, original condition) listed at $46mm?

thanks,
v.

StPaulSnowman said...

It would seem that what they are worth will be determined by what they sell for rather than what they are listed for. We have seen recent posts suggesting that these excessive asking prices may just be attention getting devices, like Shorewood's opening gambit. I only hear the expression," correctly priced", used by real estate professionals.........particularly when they want the seller to reduce the price. In the case of the two Manhattan properties maybe the only difference is the chutzpah of the agents involved.

Anonymous said...

thanks stpaulsnowman, makes sense. by just reading the descriptions i thought i may had missed an important detail. could be too that the astor name is more commonly known...

all the best,
v.

StPaulSnowman said...

and the best to you!

Anonymous said...

A note on the preservation of this house. It is in fact a protected structure, designated as a historic landmark in the Town of Palm Beach. As such, the property cannot be demolished & any renovations or alterations must be reviewed and approved by the town's Landmarks Preservation Commission. I assure you, preservation is alive and well in Palm Beach, despite opposition from developers and heirs hoping to achieve maximum profits from inherited properties.