The historic "Duck's Nest" on the island of Palm Beach is the town's oldest residence, reminding us of the pioneer days of the Palm Beaches. At 125 years old, the property is ready for some revamping- and the town is expressing major excitement about it.
Built in 1891, the Duck's Nest at 305 Maddock Way is the oldest standing house in Palm Beach. This was before the barrier island was connected to the Florida mainland by bridges, so much of the home was assembled in parts in New York and shipped here by barge- the only option for transportation.
The home was built by the Maddock family and they resided there for 125 years. In July, the family sold the house after their proposal to demolish and replicate it was unfavored by the community. Neighbors at 303 Maddock Way, Brian Simmons and his wife, purchased the home and are planning on upgrading it while still preserving its antiquity.
The couple has bought and restored other historic homes around the country and plan on using their remodeling expertise to clean up the home. “It’s a chance to restore a wonderful piece of Palm Beach history,” Simmons said in an interview.
The plans include partial demolition and restoration of the original 1891 design with very small changes to the exterior. The 1954 John Volk-designed single-story garage will be demolished, and the two-story south wing garage, also from 1954 by Volk, will be restored with one of the two chimneys removed.
There will be “selective demolition” and remodeling of much of the interior features, including some walls, cabinets, plumbing, a corner fireplace and a south wing staircase. The existing doors and windows will be preserved when possible and Mahogany screen panels will be installed to restore the open-air loggia. The circular driveway will be reduced in size to make more room for green space and a colorful garden.
The Simmons paid $7 million for the home and say they plan on using it as a guest house and that it will have an integrated feel between the two residences. By the time they're done renovating, the Duck's Nest will have a new shine to it and residents can still appreciate the value of the landmarked home.
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