Ballinger Award

  • Villa Mora
    (c) Steven Brooke

2022 Robert I. Ballinger Awarded to Villa Mora

In 1921 Addison Mizner designed 89 Middle Road for Alfred and Elizabeth Kay. The Kays, who were involved with Palm Beach Day Academy and the Garden Club, named their residence “Villa Audita,” a combination of their daughters’ names. The style of the residence is considered Mizner Mediterranean Revival. Mizner used the same plan for two other residences at this time, the Winn house on El Bravo Way and the Woodward house on Seminole Avenue.

In 1923, Marion Sims Wyeth designed a two-story garage cottage for the Kays. Wyeth later worked on an alteration and addition to the residence in 1954 for the owner William L. Hanley. At this time, the address changed from 582 South Ocean Boulevard to 89 Middle Road. Wyeth’s most significant contributions are the loggia off the south wing and a grand entrance portal to the west elevation. The new entrance on Middle Road was successful in reframing the house to its new orientation. 

Now known as Villa Mora, the house exemplifies the work of Mizner, Wyeth, and now Rafael Portuondo. The current owners, the Morassutti family sought to integrate a new wing onto the historic residence while maintaining the architectural character of Mizner’s work. The Morassuttis selected Portuondo Perotti Architects and The Cury Group for their project, who have extensive experience renovating historic estates.

Every detail was carefully considered, including the new family room wing and the redistribution of interior space. Even the garage cottage was updated and honored as a significant aspect of the site. All of the materials, such as the handmade terra cotta barrel tile, are closely tied to the original palette. At just over 100 years old, Villa Mora has been adapted to suit the needs of the Morassutti family.

President & CEO Amanda Skier states, “The addition designed by Rafael Portuondo for the Morassutti family is a study in restraint. At one story above grade, the addition provides the square footage required for modern living while respecting the hierarchy of Mizner’s original design and Wyeth’s new entrance facade to Middle Road.”