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A Total Makeover

Vero Beach Architect Harry Howle recreates a home in lost tree village

What was once a worn and weary circa-1970s 
house was transformed into one with distinctive 
architecture, street appeal and more life.

What was once a worn and weary circa-1970s house was transformed into one with distinctive architecture, street appeal and more life.

Ann Wells has long been a fan of the Florida lifestyle. So much so that for the past several years the chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Bank and Trust in Louisville, Kentucky, has owned a pied-a-terre in the Sunshine State where she and her family can get away, relax and spend time together.

The first was in John’s Island in the 1980s, and, as Wells says, “It was wonderful, and we loved being there, but back then we had small children and there wasn’t a lot for them to do.” There would be more activities farther south, however, so she made the decision to purchase a condominium in Lost Tree Village, a private beach and golf community in north Palm Beach County.

All was well until her four children grew up, married and came to visit. There simply wasn’t enough room at the Wells Inn. “I told my husband that our sons-in-law didn’t like sleeping in the dining room when they came, and I wanted to have a house, so everyone could have their own bedroom. He said, ‘OK, you can buy one if you can sell the condo.’”

That’s exactly what she did. The hunt for a house was on, and it didn’t take long before a real estate agent showed her a listing in Lost Tree. The location was perfect; the house left a lot to be desired. Built in 1978, it was literally stuck in a decade known for avocado-colored appliances and shag carpeting. The couple who owned the house had passed away, leaving it to their daughter, who had no interest in living there or making even minimal improvements in order to appeal to a potential buyer. The “For Sale” sign on the lawn looked as worn and weary as the house did on the inside.