The Coastal Star

Business Spotlight: Red Cross has designs on Birthday Cake Castle

La Florentia, aka the Birthday Cake Castle, is this year’s Red Cross Show House,

and is on the Intracoastal Waterway just south of downtown Lake Worth.

Photo provided

INSET BELOW: Elkins; Register; Sheen

By Christine Davis

    The 39th Red Cross Show House serves up a sweet confection this year, with its choice of Lake Worth’s historic La Florentia, also known as the Birthday Cake Castle.
    With rooms galore, and plenty of nooks and crannies, the house is a verifiable 7,000-square-foot feast, which will be open to visitors March 5 through April 4, with a special preview party on March 4.
    Recently bought by Scott Levine, the house was built by Sherman Childs in 1925, receiving its nickname when past owner Upton Close gave the house to his wife, Margaret Fretter Nye, as a birthday present in 1954. Cakey qualities include candle-ish pillars, icing-like swirls of thick plaster, and even a birthday cake stained glass window.
    Speaking about windows, the house has 52 of them; some are colorful, others are trefoil. It also has an impressive stairway, carved-wood and silver-inlaid doors, and more than 20 interior designers will decorate “slices,” both inside and outside to make sure the house lives up to its name.
    The turret, or top layer, will be embellished by Efua Ramdeen with Susan Wyatt. Ramdeen, a graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, founded her Boca Raton company, Frocktail Décor & Design, LLC, a year and a half ago. For the show house, she’s collaborating with Wyatt, of SGW Design Studio, Los Angeles.
    “I’ve been visiting show houses for years in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, and two years ago, I thought, this is so awesome. I think I can do one of these rooms,” she said, adding that this will be her first.
    “The Red Cross Show House a great way to contribute to a good cause, and it’s a fun way to design an intriguing space, so I told Red Cross I’d love to participate.”
    On the designer walk-through day, she was immediately attracted to the turret, she said. “It’s a very small quaint space, and I was drawn to the beauty of its architecture with Moroccan motifs and plaster carving and I decided I wanted to make the room even more interesting.”
    She’s chosen the theme, “Under the Night Sky,” and her pretend resident is a well-traveled astronomer. “He’s been to the Orient and has hunted,” she said, “so in the room’s vestibule, there will be a shag runner in a leopard print and a deer’s head mounted on the wall. The room itself will be whimsical, but also polished, sophisticated, and somewhat masculine in feel, with lots of gold and brass accents, and the ceiling will be covered with a starry blue fabric.”
    Other designers participating in the show house will be: Joseph Cortes and Kevin Marnell, HomeLife Interiors; Lisa Erdmann, Rhonda Grammer and Eden Tepper, Lisa Erdmann & Associates; Piper Gonzalez, Piper Gonzalez Designs; Melissa and Noe Guerra, NXG Studio; Todd Hase; Timothy Johnson and Fernando Wong, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living; Karen Kirk and Karen Brams, Island Living & Patio; Jeff Lincoln, Jeff Lincoln Interiors; Frank Maguire, Quigley Maguire Collections. Mimi Masri, MMDesigns LLC; Stephen Mooney, Stephen Mooney Interiors; Andrew Mormile and Nicholas Skidmore, Forte Interiors Design Build; Scott Robertson, Scott Robertson Interiors; Jill Shevlin, Jill Shevlin Design; Melody Smith, Melody Smith Interiors; William Bainbridge Steele, William Bainbridge Steele Design; Veronica Volani-Inza, Veronica Volani-Inza Interior Design; Keith Williams, Nievera Williams Designs.
    The Red Cross Show House’s Birthday Cake Castle is at 1 Fifth Ave S., Lake Worth. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
    Tickets to the preview party are $200 per person. General admission is $35 per person at the door. In addition to tours of the home, guests may also shop at an on-site boutique. For information, call 650-9133.
    Mid-October, the George family’s Abeleina Properties Inc., owner since 1915 of 326 and 400 East Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, listed those two commercial buildings for sale for $21.5 million through Howard Bregman of Marcus & Millichap. The properties are currently under contract. “They won’t close until the beginning of April or late March,” Bregman said, who did not disclose price or the prospective buyer’s name. “There was a tremendous amount of interest, and we selected a buyer who has put down a substantial nonrefundable deposit.”
    The 326 building leases space to long-time businesses including the Green Owl Restaurant and George’s Shoe Repair. The 400 space includes Huber’s  Pharmacy and Kilwin’s. All have lease contracts.
    Three parcels of land adding up to 1.77 acres in Boca Raton on the Intracoastal Waterway are listed for sale for the first time since 1978 for $6.2 million.
    The actual address is 7901 NE Eighth Court, but it’s easier to locate if you know that it’s nestled between Walkers Isle and Boca Bay Colony, said the listing agent, Matt Thoren, president/broker of Landmark Appraisal & Realty Group.
    Its current owners, Mildred and Dick Olson, call it Banana Patch, he said. “It’s amazing and very tropical. It has specimen trees and 35 different varieties of bananas, as well as fruits and vegetables.
    “The Olsons built a stilt house on the property. It looks like Old Florida from a hundred years ago.”
    Dick Olson, who bought the property from the H. Kobayashi Company in 1978, researched the property, Thoren said, and Olson discovered its interesting history, naming Henry Flagler and George Morikami as previous owners.
    “The Olsons (who currently live in Martin County) want to let someone else enjoy the property,” he said. Concerning zoning, “it can be kept as three separate parcels, or we are confident that one of the three could be split in half. It could be built into four or five lots.”
    The Banana Patch can be bought in three parcels with listing prices of  $1.6 million for one of the pieces and $2.3 million for each of the other two. For information, call 373-2186.
    Fite Shavell & Associates Realtor Jack Elkins, a specialist in luxury waterfront properties with an expertise in Manalapan, Hypoluxo Island, Point Manalapan and Palm Beach, maintained his position as a top producer in 2014. Elkins and his team handled 25 transactions totaling $155 million. He also is responsible for an additional $55 million in sales nationally, in which he was a referring agent.
    Jessica Rosato, luxury residential specialist with Nestler Poletto Sotheby’s International Realty, recently was installed as the 2015 president-elect for the Greater Palm Beach Women’s Council of Realtors. She will serve alongside incoming President Christel Silver; Michaela Kennedy, vice president of membership; Joyce Crawford, treasurer; and Janelle Dowley, secretary. Rosato received the Rising Star Award from the Women’s Council last year and served as the organization’s secretary in 2014.   
    At its 2015 annual installation, the Realtors Commercial Alliance Palm Beaches announced Carol Bernton of Keyes Commercial as president. Other officers installed for a one-year term include: Alan Steinberg, Keyes Commercial, as president-elect; Robert Goldstein, Hospitality Consultants, as secretary; and Scott Field, Realty Associates, as treasurer. John Beall, Keller Williams; Mark Dreyer, Re/Max Advantage Plus; Michael Golieb, American Property Exchange; Christina Morrison, Carmel Real Estate Management; and John Schmidt, Cornerstone Realty, will serve as 2015 directors.
    In December, members of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches gathered at the Quantum House, a hospital hospitality house at St. Mary’s Medical Center for families whose children are receiving treatment for serious medical conditions.
To give holiday cheer to those families currently in residence, the realtors and affiliates provided a hearty holiday meal and delivered gifts through its “Chef for a Day” program.
    Brian Katz, president and COO of Katz & Associates Corp. announced that Roxanne Register has joined Katz & Associates as vice president of leasing and sales. Register, based in the company’s Boca Raton office, will focus on expanding the company’s South Florida retail leasing efforts.
    With more than 30 years of commercial real estate experience, Register was most recently vice president at CBRE and focused on providing representation to retail tenants, owners and landlords in South Florida. Prior to that, she founded ReCor Realty Advisors LLC in Boca Raton. She has also served as director of leasing with Schmier & Feurring Realty.
    Register joined Katz & Associates with a portfolio of Landlord representations that include Delray Village Shoppes on Linton Boulevard and Uptown Atlantic on Atlantic Avenue, as well as Addison Place on Jog Road.
    Bethesda Health recently named Mildreys Hereira, Ed.S, MSW, CIMI, as its oncology patient navigator. For patients and families who have a new cancer diagnosis or are diagnosed with recurrent cancer, she identifies patients’ potential barriers to care, such as psychological stressors, diverse cultural values, transportation, child care, financial problems and end-of-life issues.
Hereira earned a master’s degree in social work and a post-master’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and The Florida Coalition of Oncology Nurse Navigators. The services of the oncology patient navigator  are free. For information, call 292-4792.
    Boynton Beach resident Brian Sheen, founder of The Florida Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Boca Raton, recently launched an online program that provides alternative choices to children and adults suffering from ADD, ADHD, anxiety and stress.  After 15 years of research and development, The 7 Keys for Attention Development is a product of Sheen’s work at his nonprofit alternative health school. “We are so pleased to continue to provide alternatives to help people get off these powerful toxic drugs like Ritalin, Strattera, Zoloft and other medications.” said Sheen, who has a PhD in hypnotherapy from Nova Southeastern University.
    In January, at an installation lunch at the Delray Beach Club, members of the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce thanked 2014 Chairman of the Board Scott Porten and welcomed 2015 Chairman Dan Castrillon, as well as its four new board members: Noreen Payne, Northwestern Mutual/The Ruhl Financial Group; Lee Cohen, Carner, Newmark, & Cohen, LLP; Sean Hackner, Freedom Steel Building; and Stephen Murray, Delray Downtowner.
    Also, the Delray Beach Chamber recently installed its Ambassador Program’s new leadership team. Payne, director of recruiting for The Ruhl Financial Group of Northwestern Mutual, is the 2015 chair; Allison Turner, CEO and owner of Business Consultants of South Florida, is the 2016 chair; and Rich Pollack, owner of Pollack Communications, is the 2017 chair.
    The Ambassador Program consists of volunteers from the Delray Beach Chamber membership who assist the chamber in the promotion, volunteer support and development of various chamber sponsored events.
    Some Manhattan supermodels head south for sunshine, a chic setting, and a visit with Christy Chis — a former esthetician with Mario Badescu in New York, who’s now at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. As a long-time facial specialist at MB Salon, Chis cultivated a cult following from such beauties as Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell.
    “I am very honest with my clients and take time to learn their needs and wants,” Chis said, “and I only use the very best products. Once they follow my direction, my clients see results.”
    Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa recently received the 2015 AAA Five Diamond designation.

    Emily Serpico, a new graduate of Palm Beach State College’s Cosmetology program, is competing in Season 8 of Face Off, the Syfy cable network’s reality competition series that pits special-effects makeup artists against each other in creative battle.
Serpico is the youngest contestant in the history of the show; Face Off Season 8 premiered Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 9 p.m. on Syfy. While she is sworn to secrecy about the results, she will say the experience was “amazing.”

Christine Davis is a freelance writer. Send business items to her at

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