By Christine Davis/Special to the Daily News Homes for Sale in Palm Beach
Talk about curb appeal.
It’s no surprise that this Ibis Isle house has gardens in spades, considering that landscape architect Mario Nievera was its previous owner. And his lush landscape designs certainly caught the attention of the current homeowners, Bruce and Tami Watkins, when they decided to buy the South End property in 2006.
Take, for instance, the Alexander palms that gracefully frame the entry of the one-story, mid-century house at 2255 Ibis Isle Road W. Or look at the citrus espalier on the front of the house, the trees’ branches trained to grow along the walls flanking the porch.
“These are large gardens for Ibis Isle, and they are a visual treat. This is an indoor-outdoor house with interesting angles that draw attention to the landscape. You can sit anywhere in this house and feel like you are in the gardens,” she said.
And the effect is not just visual, she added, pointing again to the front of the house: “It’s a beautiful scented garden with orange blossoms on the espalier, two huge gardenia topiaries and a ylang ylang tree.”
The exterior charmed them when they were house-hunting eight years ago. But once inside, they were completely sold, she said.
“We loved the house. It felt right and we had a visceral reaction,” she explained. “My husband took a clean sweep, and said, ‘This is it.’”
Yet they always wanted to live directly on the water, and when property became available immediately across the street, the Watkins bought it and built a new home, which is nearly finished. As a result, they’ve listed No. 2255 for sale. Agents Lynn Warren and Gary Little of Fite Shavell & Associates have priced at $2.195 million.
The front door leads to a foyer, which, in turn opens to the living room. The cypress ceiling has been painted white and here are terrazzo floors, which continue into the adjacent family-and-dining room. Other details in the living room include walls covered in Donghia bamboo-patterned wallpaper and a library niche.
To the east, the loggia-like dining-and-family room also has a cypress ceiling, but this one is beamed and lightly whitewashed. The room, meanwhile, is detailed with a wetbar and accents of “subway” tile. One wall is all glass, with doors that open to the patio and the black-bottom pool, with its large sun shelf. The pool is surrounded by coral key stone, and entire area is lushly landscaped.
To the south of the living room is a study that could double as a guest suite. It’s carpeted and has plantation shutters at the windows, built-in bookcases and French doors that lead to the side garden. The bathroom has a sea-glass-mosaic floor and a walk-in shower.
The kitchen now has Corian countertops, a Miele oven, a KitchenAid dishwasher and cooktop, and a SubZero refrigerator and freezer drawers. French doors lead to an intimate dining patio.
Also off of the dining-and-family room are accommodations for guests and the master suite.
“Because we really like big bathrooms, we decided to add a new guest bathroom for the guest bedroom along with an entirely new master suite,” Watkins said. “Our builder, Tim Givens, helped us with our previous apartment, and now he’s building our new house across the street.”
The master bedroom has a pitched ceiling, Stark carpeting and French doors with motorized remote-controlled blackout shades, along with access to an oversize closet accessed via the master bathroom.
As in the new guest bath, the master bath features tile and fixtures from Urban Archaeology. Other details here include a walk-in shower, Corian-topped vanities, Dornbracht fixtures and a whirlpool tub.
The Watkins’ have set up the en-suite guest bedroom, with two closets, as an office. French doors here open onto a side garden. The new bathroom has tile in sea-glass colors, and the walk-in shower features frameless glass doors.
Among the home’s other amenities are a two-car garage and solar-powered systems that provide hot water and heat the pool.
“Compared to Everglades Island, it’s more open and airier. It has a different feeling. We have wonderful access to the beach, the town tennis courts and golf course, Phipps Ocean Park. And we are only 10 minutes away from Worth Avenue,” she said.
She returns again to the subject of Nievera’s landscape.
“The gardens helped seal the deal,” she said. “Having a total Mario Nievera garden is rare.”
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