With generously proportioned rooms, the house at 309 Chapel Hill offers privacy, thanks to its hillside lot in a Midtown Palm Beach neighborhood.
Chapel Hill Road in Palm Beach is aptly named.
That’s because the tucked-away cul-de-sac is bordered on the north by the Royal Poinciana Chapel — hence the cul-de-sac’s name.
But the short lake-block street also traverses a hill on one of the highest points in town, rising toward the lakefront from Cocoanut Row.
There are only a few homes on Chapel Hill Road, and they rarely enter the market. But one just did. Priced at $15.995 million, Robert Dettmer’s home at 309 Chapel Hill Road — with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and 5,050 square feet of living space, inside and out — is listed with broker Linda Olsson of Linda R. Olsson Inc.
When Dettmer and his late wife, Patricia, moved to Palm Beach from Greenwich, Connecticut in 2007, they bought the courtyard-layout house from the late Ann Downey, a longtime Palm Beach interior designer.
“It’s a very open house,” Dettmer says. “That’s what convinced my wife to buy it. She was impressed with the high ceiling in the large living room.
“If you stand in the living room, you can see the courtyard and the patio in one direction, and if you look the other way, you see the loggia and the pool.”
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The 1981 house was developed by the late Robert Gottfried in his signature “Gottfried Regency” style. The architecture features a blend of classical elements with a symmetrical façade, pilasters and ball finials at the roofline.
Ceilings in most of the rooms rise 12 feet, and floors are finished in marble, hardwood and tile. The layout is designed with plentiful windows and glass doors to bring natural light into the interior. Generously proportioned rooms flow easily from one to another, making the house ideal for entertaining.
The foyer directs traffic immediately into the living room to the north, and as Dettmer points out, the open-air courtyard and a canopied patio are to the west, with the loggia and pool to the east.
Flanking the loggia are the main bedroom suite and a library that can double as an ensuite guest bedroom. Both bedrooms have doors that open onto the pool area and patio.
West of the living room, the dining room also views the courtyard, and the kitchen is just adjacent.
Upstairs are two guest bedrooms, and completing the floor plan are a powder room, a sitting room designed for use by household staff, and an attached two-car garage, which houses the laundry and a half-bath.
Design details include a wood-burning fireplace in the living room and a wet bar off the foyer. Bath fixtures throughout are by Sherle Wagner International.
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Since the home was Downey’s residence, it was picture perfect when the Dettmers first encountered it, Dettmer says.
“It didn’t need any construction work, and Ann helped us decorate the house; that was part of our deal.” The furniture, curated by Downey, is available through separate negotiations.
Downey was known for her colorful interior palettes. One change the buyers made, however, was to paint Downey’s orange living room off-white, Robert says.
The grounds and gardens were also pretty, he adds.
“The courtyard is kind of unusual. Ann decorated it and we didn’t change it. It’s decorated after the Plaza Athenea Hotel in Paris. My wife and I had been there, and when we saw this home’s courtyard, it was a nice surprise,” Dettmer says.
Other details include an electrical connection to charge a Tesla, a full-house generator and electrically operated shutters.
The cul-de-sac has only five houses, Robert says. The street’s privacy and high elevation — a key issue for many buyers concerned about flood-plain regulations — are other selling points.
“It’s a few minutes to almost every place in Palm Beach, and also it’s very quiet and we are 15 feet above sea level,” he says.
With the recent death of his wife, Dettmer says, the time has come to downsize to a senior-living community in West Palm Beach: “We were married 67 years and I am 91. I’m going over to the Fountainview. Pat and I spent a lot of good years here. Now I am ready to move on.”