Byron Simonson (1902-1972) may not have the universal name recognition of fellow architect Addison Mizner, but just like Mizner, he had a hand in shaping the architectural landscape of historic Palm Beach.
Once a protégé of both Mizner and Maurice Fatio, Simonson is perhaps best known for designing Palm Beach’s Colony Hotel and La Coquille Club in Manalapan, a modernist hotel frequented by jet setters that was ultimately demolished in the mid-1980s to make way for the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach.
(La Coquille Club, Historical Society of Palm Beach County)
After establishing his own architecture firm in 1945, Simonson eschewed the columns and arches associated with Mediterranean style and adopted a Mid-Century Modern approach to design. While his work was lauded, few of his creations remain today. Many were destroyed in the 1908s when post modernism fell out of favor.
“The Geckoes” at 6800 Washington Avenue in West Palm Beach
This is what makes “The Geckoes”, a 1956 Simonson home nestled in our very own Southend such a rare gem. Located at 6800 Washington Road, four houses off the Flagler waterfront, the house was constructed in Simonson’s “Bungalow Style” of design.
While the owners have updated the house’s systems, they have stayed true to the mid-century modern aesthetic by retaining the exposed beams and cypress ceilings and restoring the original built-in cabinetry.
An open floor plan provides amazing flow between the kitchen, dining room and living spaces and creates a great feeling of space that is perfect for entertaining. The home’s clean, chic and modern vibe evidences the talents of Simonson and makes one lament that there are not more reminders.
Those appreciative of Simonson’s work now have the chance to own a piece of Palm Beach history. The Geckoes is listed for sale by Kiely Real Estate. Interested parties can reach Jefferson Kiely at (561) 371-8994.
Kiely Real Estate
6319 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405