"Southways", built in 1920, is a Beaux Arts mansion set on 1.3 acres, located in the desirable center of town in Palm Beach, Florida, only 250 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. The home is centered on its three lots, providing the ultimate in privacy.
There are only two Beaux Arts style homes in Palm Beach, Southways and Whitehall (which is now the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum). These homes were the original setting for the grand living upon which Palm Beach's reputation is based. The architect for Southways is the renowned Hoppin & Koen, who were at one time part of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White of New York. They designed several public buildings in New York and homes for socially prominent people in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Southways was built for a socially and politically important Northeast family who owned the home for 47 years. They entertained several United States Presidents who stayed at the home over various winters, including President Warren G. Harding. Thus, it became known as the, "Winter White House."
Southways has only had two owners in 94 years, each owning it for 47 years. Thus, this is a rare opportunity to own a home with such a distinguished pedigree.
This home was designed for grand entertaining with very large, bright rooms with twelve foot high ceilings, eight staff rooms, a butler's pantry, a linen room and a chauffer's apartment. The perfect room proportions fit nicely in a well designed floor plan. All rooms on the first floor are elegant living spaces designed for entertaining, as well as comfortable living areas for a family, such as the kitchen, loggia, family room and pool baths.
A sweeping staircase leads to the second floor where there are five large, opulent bedrooms, each with an en-suite bath; three of the bedrooms have fireplaces. The three-room master suite includes a library and his and hers master baths, one of which is marble. The linen, laundry and staff rooms are located nearby.
The large French doors and double hung wood windows make this an unusually light and bright home throughout. The especially high twelve foot ceilings on the first floor add to the overall volume of the home. The second floor has generous ten foot ceilings.
The superior quality and extensive plaster moldings and details are what make this one of the most spectacular homes in Palm Beach. The floors are marble and wood (Dade County Pine) throughout. There are five fireplaces, three of which are marble. Formal wrought iron entry gates and staircase railing add to the period detail of the home.
The pool and gardens are quite formal with columns and statuary and, along with the interior, have been photographed over many years and featured in books, magazines and high-end fashion catalogues.
The home received a National Historic Landmark designation in 1990 from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. A quote from the designation report states, "This is one of the finest and very earliest Palm Beach mansions from the great time of expansion. Its Adamesque detail is quite unusual for the 1920's; particularly fine is the Doric entranceway, crowned by a Palladian window and a cartouche with festoons. These features may be the result of later alterations. It seems a little too suave for Palm Beach before the 1930's."