In Fort Lauderdale. Bonnet House.

Oh Florida…The land of sunshine, mucho shopping, and artificial everything. Fun-loving people abound, that is if your idea of fun does not include playing scrabble. Nerds and misfits are not admitted into this republic of sun.
Mind you, I am not complaining. Sunshine and 80-degree weather in February sure beats the miserable rain and snow back home, but my nerdy self will not be able to stand this much fun much longer.
Sunbathing (not), eating (much), and malling (too much) took their toll on my body and sent my weary soul in search of something more ethereal. Bonnet House was a sweet, if brief, interlude from the affluent but blah world of Fort Lauderdale.
Built in the 1920’s on an uncharted territory of then pristine Florida, it was a winter retreat for the American artist and art collector Frederic Bartlett. His estate stands as a nemesis to the soulless city around. Sincere and pure, it is built in the plantation style according to Mr. Bartlett, and in the style of ancient Pompeii according to Alla. An open-air atrium of lush vegetation with a fountain in the center is enclosed within the walls of the living quarters whose interior could only be accessed from this atrium. The house and the objects decorating the compound are rather crude and more of a curiosity than objects d’art. The owner, though, was a brilliant decorator who effortlessly mixed and matched the finely carved wooden furniture with crudely carved and painted elephants, carousel horses and giraffes, iron cast monkeys that once had graced the foyer of the Plaza hotel, Czech glass assembled into a chandelier, and refined Art Neuveau vases. The seemingly unmatchable elements were made to fit together perfectly by the touch of an artistic hand.
The house sits in the midst of a 35-acre plot of a lavishly green park whose serenity is assaulted by the sight of the latter day hotels looming from behind and over the tallest trees.
The sight of the hotels brings you back to the reality of the affluent but plastic world of today’s South Florida.


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