Sunday, January 25, 2015

From last night's Paella Party at "Lady Grace": Fundraiser for the Cottages of Lake Worth

Everyone that came out (70+ people) seemed to have a good time at the Paella Party fundraiser for the Cottages of Lake Worth. Thanks go out to Regina Miller who graciously hosted the event and showed off her historic cottage that is part of the Old Lucerne historic district, shown in purple below.
Portion of Historic District Map from the City of Lake Worth
This is one of six historic districts within the city. Its southern boundary darts in and out north of Lucerne, generally between Lakeside Drive and Federal Hwy, and ending at 7th Avenue North.

Prior to the party, Ms. Miller shared an early photo of the house which appears below.
And here is a photo of how the building and property look today:
The city's designation report for the district says that the house was originally built in 1925. The Property Appraiser's website indicates 1932 as the year of construction. You could make a case for either for this frame vernacular building. It was built from available, generally local materials by the owner or a contractor. This particular example shows the decorative raftertails and brackets under a deep eave. There are also elements of the bungalow style, clearly seen in the older picture. You can see some of that detail here:
In the older picture, you can clearly see the gable on the south end of the house. There was an addition constructed in the late 40s and early 50s that extended the first floor of the house and expanded the second floor. Either then, or sometime before, the original sleeping porch on the east side of the building was weatherproofed and closed-in. This is common with many of the city's historic structures, particularly cottages. Most were originally designed with open air porches. Over time, especially with the advent of air conditioning, many of these were closed in. Back in the day, an eastern porch was preferred for sleeping as it caught the ocean breeze and kept the occupants comfortable during our subtropical nights.

Most of our collection of cottages show this adaptation over time to add more living space or a garage for the car, as the automobile became more predominant during the 20th century.

So, "Lady Grace", as the current owner lovingly refers to her house is indeed a survivor. Last night I wondered what other events and family gatherings happened over the 90 year history of this cottage and the yard. Here is a description by the current owner of some of the recent trials the house has experienced:
I like to refer to her as Lady Grace as she has faced head strong the many storms straight off the intracoastal. Most recently, Francine, Jeanie and Wilma left her for demolition with sinking foundations gaping holes from roof to first floor. But even then she emanated a charming architectural character that couldn’t be refused and was restored in 2008.
Renovations included new engineering to the foundation by lifting first and second floor joists and re-roofing the front half of the house. Also the rebuild of the caved in s/e side that left nothing to tie the roof in. She further received a new configuration to the upstairs master bed room, then the kitchen, and bathroom to allow for a laundry room. Although all the original wood flooring in the home could not be saved, the modern finishes created more flow throughout and enhanced her inner beauty. By the will of man, Lady Grace prominently withstands tests of time as with many of Lake Worth's historical homes. I am blessed to be her keeper in a most beautiful neighborhood.