The 2012 Ballinger Award for outstanding restoration and rehabilitation of historic architecture was presented at the Preservation Foundation’s annual membership luncheon held on Friday, December 14th, 2012. This year, the Foundation awarded Lagomar West. Architect Addison Mizner designed the property in 1924.

Foundation Chairman John Mashek presented the Ballinger medal to Roberto and Joanne de Guardiola for the restoration of their property.

A presentation was given honoring the property by the Foundation’s Executive Director Alexander C. Ives highlighting the restoration and renovation work. Over 125 images by professional photographer Stephen Leek detailed the architectural features.

The restoration and renovation team consisted of Joanne de Guardiola, a designer herself, working with architects Raphael Saladrigas and Leah Cohen of Saladrigas and Cohen Architecture, inc. Worth Builders and landscape designer Mario Nievera.

The property is actually a slice off the original Lagomar estate. Built in 1924 by Addison Mizner for John Magee, a coal operator and broker from New York, the original 16-room Lagomar estate sat on six acres stretching from the ocean to Lake Worth. In 1926, the Magee’s sold the house to Mrs. Henry Robinson Rea. She was a widow whose husband’s family had owned Robinson, Rea & Company, a foundry and machinist business outside of Pittsburgh. Rea put great attention to the estate and in 1935 a party was held in honor of the work she had done in sustaining it. She died in 1951 and in 1953 Alan M. Graf purchased the estate for $185,000 and subdivided it into 12 lots that he collectively named Lagomar Park.

The team’s restoration and renovation was one that emphasized movement and axial room relationships. The exterior of the property was to be viewed in a rotation as one approached it, with each of the 3, now with basement 4 floors, to cascade upwards and downwards off of each other. The interiors would play of off lateral and longitudinal relationships with each other, mimicking the stacked townhouse style the family had come to so love in their northeastern urban homes. Ornamentation varied to keep with Mizner’s original sense of whimsy.

The lot coverage was doubled from approximately 2400 square feet to 4500 square feet and the total floor areas expanded from some 5900 square feet to 9600 square feet. In particular, the first floor and its entrance areas increased from just over 2300 square feet to just under 5000 square feet. Construction began in September of 2007 and was completed in October of 2009 with interior design work continuing up to the winter of 2012.
The Ballinger award was first presented by the Foundation in 1987 and honors the late Robert I. Ballinger Jr., former chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission. Struck by noted sculptor Edward Grove, the medal itself bears the likeness of a bust of Ballinger that was sculpted by Ballinger’s wife, Didi Ballinger, and, on the reverse, the name of the house being honored and its owners.