Earlier this week, we saw two Buzzworthy houses that will be open this weekend. The first, Windsor Square’s Villa Abbondanza, at 535 South Norton Avenue and listed at $2,699,000, is a rare opportunity to purchase a wonderful historic house with a spectacular garden. The word “Abbondanza” means abundance in Italian, and was given tongue-in-cheek by the husband referring to the exuberant garden, filled with colorful plants, which can be viewed and appreciated from virtually every room in the house. It could also have described the wonderful energy of the colorful house filled with family life for many years.
Built in 1923 by Golden Age architect Marshal P. Wilkinson, Sr., the home was renovated by the current owners in 1989 with Tichenor and Thorpe Architects. The garden is the work of owner Cheryl Lerner, who created one of the first front gardens in the neighborhood.
Ahead of her time, Lerner took out the lawn in 1989 and installed climate-appropriate plants that transformed the space from a bland, water-thirsty lawn to a stunning garden that has been widely published and showcased on tours. And, more personally, she extended the family’s usable space on this very narrow lot.
Lerner told the Buzz that the time she spent studying in Italy inspired her to create a colorful garden that nurtures the soul for her home and family. Her color palette inside and outside the house was influenced by Henri Matisse( for his color combinations) and the Shakers (who used deep, strong colors with white).
Lerner said she considers herself “an assembler” more than a designer or decorator. She described her work as “curating” objects and spaces for the home and garden. Lerner is someone who figures out what works and designs spaces, both indoor and outdoor, which both invigorate and soothe. There’s so much to see in her garden…and yet, it’s incredibly calming. (Full disclosure: this writer was the fortunate beneficiary of Lerner’s curatorial efforts when we recently opened our house for a garden tour.)
Alert: This is not your typical gray-and-white staged open house! But it’s a must see if you love gardens and outdoor living!
Switching gears a bit — here’s your chance to have a Larchmont address! If you’re like us and covet the idea of living on Larchmont Boulevard, and you’re looking for a house with good light, this one is for you.
122 South Larchmont, listed at $2,499,000, is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath Country English home tucked behind a hedge and gate between First and Second Streets in the Windsor Square Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. The house was built in 1923 but has been updated and renovated. It was recently sold to the current owners, who have decided to move on to larger quarters, according to listing agent Jill Galloway.
There’s room for improvement in the front garden and the back yard but, in both cases, there’s ample space for a great designer to help you make your own spectacular Villa Larchmont!