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  • Writer's pictureSara Fattori

Transformed: Living & Working In A Palm Beach Via

In the novel, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, the character Lucy, finds herself inside a wardrobe cabinet while playing a game of hide-and-seek with her siblings. While the moments just before were frantic for Lucy, as she tries to find the perfect hiding space, things suddenly change as she discovers the back of the wardrobe leads to a magical place.

While walking up and down Worth Avenue, you can find yourself caught up in the hustle and bustle of the famous street, especially in season, however, step into one of the via's and find yourself transformed into another world.

Palm Beach is a unique place developed by visionaries, architects, designers and urban planners. Thoughtfully designed buildings, public spaces and parks have created a functional and enjoyable means for moving about the town.

When planning is methodical, a town can evolve into both a destination for a leisure visit or a delightful place to live and work. Via Mizner is one of those magical places that I had the opportunity to live and work in the late 1980's to early 1990's.

Overlooking Via Mizner
Overlooking Via Mizner through the window in living area of my apartment in Via Mizner.
Stairway adorned with colorful tiles.

My bedroom window at Mizner's former studio space in Via Mizner.

Having been born in historical Savannah, GA, I grew up to appreciate classical architecture. This appreciation grew in my early 30's after returning from a long stay in England and Europe, while traveling with a couple of Oxford grad architects, and is why Palm Beach attracted my attention as a place to live and work.

Via Mizner was undergoing a complete change of ownership and a renovation in the late '80s. Before my trip to Europe, I had been working for an architectural firm in Atlanta and, after a brief time living in Coconut Grove, I settled into Palm Beach with a fine art gallery downstairs and an apartment upstairs in Addison Mizner's architectural studio.

Mizner’s eclectic style, where touches of Gothic Architecture supplemented with Spanish colonial motifs, romanticized an era in time. The high ceilings, fans, tiled and stuccoed walls, and aligned windows for cross ventilation helped its occupants deal with the heat. Mizner's houses cooled off their inhabitants outdoors too, through covered terraces, deep porches, and fountains. This was the perfect place to attract fine artists, host receptions and linger after dinner from Renato's. Draped with bougainvillea, I spent many evenings with friends and artists in Addison Mizner's former upstairs terrace. It was a beautiful moment in time of cherished memories, that transformed me for the better.

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