Brown Harris Stevens just listed one of the most significant historic estates in Palm Beach, owned by billionaire businessman Peter M. Brant and his wife, supermodel Stephanie Seymour.
Known now as Buttonwood, the landmarked building is one of the last remaining homes of its kind on the island. Built just after the turn of the 20th century, it is considered an architectural gem. The frame vernacular house at 245 Dunbar Road was first built on the Intracoastal Waterway and moved, by logs, to its current location.
“245 Dunbar is one of the oldest homes in Palm Beach with many of its original details kept intact,” says Whitney McGurk, who has the exclusive listing with Liza Pulitzer and Alan Quartucci.
The asking price is $28 million.
“Very rarely does such a home like this come to the market,” he continued. “With the oversized lot, on such a desirable street, this property is very unique. The size of the house, guesthouse and grounds make this property ideal as a compound.”
According to local historians, the house on Dubar originally belonged to Elisha Newton “Cap” Dimick, the town’s first mayor who is credited with helping turn the area from a ghost town to a resort community.
Brant, a magazine publisher and art collector, and Seymour, one of the original supermodels who has posed for the likes of Richard Avedon and graced the covers of countless fashion magazines, have owned the home since 1999.
The couple, who live primarily in Greenwich, Connecticut, has also owned homes in the Hamptons, including an oceanfront home in Sagaponack, which they sold in 2021 for $26 million.
They have been active in the real estate market in recent years. Last year, they bought side-by-side townhomes in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood in Manhattan for nearly $20 million, according to reports.
In 2020, they purchased a landmarked ocean-to- lake estate in Palm Beach for almost $47 million across town from the Dunbar house.
The house has, over the years, also been called the Dimick House or the Orangerie, because when it faced Lake Worth it was surrounded by oranges, according to an article written by Walter C. Willcox for the Historical Society of Palm Beach.
History would have been lost had it not been for E.T. Stotesbury and his wife, Eva, who built the famed mansion El Mirasol, the famed Mediterranean estate. Willcox wrote that they took “extraordinary steps,” not once, but twice to move and preserve the house. In 1917, Stotesbury purchased 10 acres of land that extended to the Atlantic Ocean, including the Orangerie, from Dimick for $85,000. By 1919, they had purchased two large adjacent parcels, as well, and were proceeding with plans to build El Mirasol.
They gifted the Orangerie to a woman and it was moved in January 1920 under the supervision of the Stotesburys’ architect Addison Mizner to a lot on the north side of Wells Road (Mizner incidentally also designed Brant’s Palm Beach home across town).
However, the Stotesburys came back into possession of the house when they expanded El Mirasol, and moved it once again, to its current location, in 1924. It was a large buttonwood tree on the property that led to its current name, according to The Palm Beach Daily News.
Now situated a few blocks away from its original site, the two-story house with its sweeping veranda wraparound porch sits on one of the most desirable streets. It boasts an oversized lot with 195 feet of depth and 100 feet in width.
Since purchasing the house, Brant and Seymour have renovated the main house, though were careful to keep its historic charm.
The main house offers five bedrooms and there is an option to turn a downstairs library into a sixth bedroom.
While interior photos were not released, a video shows the home has retained a traditional, oldworld style. An octagonal conservatory, which was added during a restoration project in the early 1990s to match the octagonal living room, remains. It earned a Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s Ballinger Award in 1992, The Palm Beach Daily News reported.
The house was not officially landmarked until 2017.
There is also a four-bedroom, four-bath guest house on the property, which Brant and Seymour have also remodeled.
A rectangular pool and a sunken hot tub sit between the two houses, with a cabana along a tall hedgerow that provides plenty of privacy.
The well-landscaped garden offers several sitting and dining areas.
“This exquisite house lives like a family compound and is ideal for large families or for the discerning buyer looking to purchase a romantic Palm Beach classic,” the listing says.
This article appeared in the March/April edition of Behind The Hedges Palm Beach. Read the full digital magazine here. For more on Palm Beach real estate, click here.