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An Island Enclave in Palm Beach

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Everglades Island, a thin sliver of land floating just off Palm Beach in the Intracoastal Waterway, is an enclave just a short causeway from South County Road. As with many  other residential streets, well-considered, and well regulated, building is taking place.

I was introduced to Betsy Shiverick by mutual friends and welcomed the chance to visit her new home on this special island. Not only does Il Cortile (“the courtyard”) fit in handsomely with its neighbors; it is reminiscent of the Mediterranean Revival style for which Palm Beach is duly noted. Indeed, there is an interesting angle to this story…the façade of the house is actually inspired by a residence by noted architect George Washington Smith in Montecito, California, another part of the country known for its homes of this genre. The design of the house itself and creation of the interiors was a collaboration between interior designer Betsy and architect, Richard Sammons ( their second joint project in Palm Beach).

Details abound, starting with the fascinating herringbone brick patterns in the forecourt that continue into the home’s central courtyard, just a few steps inside the front door.

The surprise–and a design detail that I find refreshing– is the glazed green tile roof, in contrast to the requisite terra cotta. The substantial green shutters further carry out this signature color. From this image you can also appreciate the luxury of a second floor taken up entirely with a multi-roomed master suite (I’m about as green with envy as that roof).

Of course, all rooms with their arched detail open onto this courtyard, carrying out the sense of al fresco that takes full advantage of the climate of this part of the world.   

On the east-facing side of the house, with its 115’ frontage, a pool, a dock, a boat and paddleboards are there to round out the life that originally beckoned the Shiverick’s to build on Everglades Island.

While most of the garden influence is to be found within the courtyard, to include a grand Banyan tree brought in by barge and craned into place,  a small side garden includes its note of whimsy.

For this writer, who always has an eye out for the unusual use of stone details, the scroll accent on the slope of the waterside lawn was intriguing.  

No surprise that I then found an element of this scroll repeated on another part of the property, within the front hedge.

As with the green roof and shutters, design details are carried out seamlessly. Of  particular note to me are the wooden garden gates that are a smaller version of the garage doors (features that are seldom given their due attention).

It was late afternoon when I departed Il Cortile, the soft glow of sunset cloaking the bougainvillea and highlighting the herringbone bricks…what a memory to take back to Newport.

Thank you, Betsy, for the lovely visit.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

5 thoughts on “An Island Enclave in Palm Beach

    1. You mean there’s a place that’s slower than Newport, RI? Ours doesn’t come until May…when dows your come along?

  1. Another great tour, Bettie! What a tropical paradise (sigh!). The one thing I really miss from my years living in Winter Park, FL is my gorgeous bougainvillea. Wish it would grow here in PA. I, too, just love the green glazed tile roofing–just stunning!

    1. Bougainvillea, I miss it too…I take pictures of it whenever I see it. And if it won’t grow in PA it certainly won’t grow in RI!

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