Recently, the Palm Beach Architectural Commission considered proposed modifications to a Hi-Mount Road property. Although board members described the architect’s designs as “enchanting,” “elegant,” and “special,” the group felt they would be too much to impose on the space allotted for this North End home. The property’s design team considered the board’s feedback and returned with new plans. This time, the Palm Beach Architectural Board offered high praise for the lakefront redesign.
What is The Palm Beach Architectural Commission (ARCOM)?
The town of Palm Beach Architectural Commission (ARCOM) consists of a group of seven dedicated community volunteer members and three alternate members appointed by the Town Council who safeguard the quality of the community’s architecture and design features. By ordinance, the Commission’s goal is to ensure that projects: “create harmony, do not disrupt the aesthetic quality of their surroundings, achieve balance with neighboring properties, are in harmony with the proposed developments on land in the general area, are appropriate in relation to the established character of other structures in the immediate area or neighboring areas in respect to significant design features, and will provide the ultimate designers of individual structures with the wider contexts in which their particular works will be viewed.”
756 Hi Mount Road
When the architectural commissioners initially reviewed the designs for 756 Hi Mount Road, they asked that the lakefront home’s plans be scaled back. Board members appreciated the beauty and elegance of the Italian-style design work but found that several aspects of it called for a proposed height that would overwhelm the property. ARCOM asked that project architect Ken Tate restudy the site and pare down the plans. Tate delivered in style.
According to a recent report, Tate returned with a design plan that got rid of problem areas while maintaining some of the best original features, including a villa cascading toward the lake on the lot. Project details also include tiled roofs, two sets of split staircases leading down to the seawall, and outdoor terraces.
Tate’s redesign included reducing the house’s overall height by 2 feet through landscaping changes, reducing a tower feature, eliminating two chimneys, and lowering the pitch of the roofs. He also changed the northwest wing from two stories to one that got rid of its lower-level storage area. These modifications got rid of a significant objection filed by next-door neighbors. The design also involved less square footage and lot coverage by the structure and involved less paved area. The landscaping and design also allow for area pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy nearby area nature trails without having a full view of the home.
The project was given unanimous approval by the board, and the group endorsed the one code variance the plan needed to move forward to the Town Council. The panel was appreciative of Tate’s response to their comments. Alternative Commissioner Katherine Catlin said during their meeting, “It’s great that they responded to all our comments — and it’s a beautiful result. It keeps with the feel and the intent and the true beauty of their original design.”
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