Italian Villas on the Maine Coast: Buonriposo

In 1905, Mr. & Mrs. Ernesto Fabbri, he the son of a Morgan partner, she a granddaughter of William Henry Vanderbilt, commissioned Grosvenor Atterbury, the architect of Forest Hills Gardens, to design their summer cottage on the Eden Street shore north of Bar Harbor village.

Buonriposo entrance front, rendering from Architectural League of New York Yearbook, 1905

Although very large, the rambling stucco house, in a style that blended the Italian with Arts & Crafts, was a complete antithesis to the Fabbri's enormous  and more characteristically Vanderbiltian  Beaux Arts town house on Manhattan's East 62nd St., a gift from Mrs. Fabbri's mother, Margaret Vanderbilt Shepard.
Ocean Front, Buonriposo, before 1917
Early handcolor view of the first Buonriposo
Floorplans of the original Buonriposo
 In 1906, the Fabbris decamped for Italy for  several years, where the influence of the simpler Italian Renaissance took hold in their tastes.   Upon their permanent return in 1914, the exuberant French palais on 62nd street was sold, and replaced in 1916 by a restrained and cerebral house on E. 95th St., designed jointly by Grosvenor Atterbury and Mr. Fabbri's brother, Egisto, an amateur architect.
The second Buonriposo, built on the footprint of the first, in 1919
Two years later, in 1918, the Bar Harbor cottage burned, and in 1919 was replaced by a design, also by Egisto Fabbri, drawn up by local architect Fred Savage. The new house, built on the earlier foundation,  was more formally elegant than its predecessor,  in a Mediterranean style that would not have been out of place at Cap d'Antibes.  The plan was also more formal.  The main house was two and a half stories, but the servant's wing had four levels, with all the features and services --laundries, sculleries, pressing rooms and rooms for male and female staff---essential to the comfort of a Vanderbilt heiress.

Buonriposo II, architectural elevation.

 The formal gardens, with their tall arborvitae imitating European cypresses, were looser, and more European in sensibility, than those of many of the stiffly designed and maintained estates of the era.  Beatrix Farrand was the designer.
Buonriposo, the formal garden by Beatrix Farrand.  This garden shared a decorative wall with the garden of  Sonogee, the home of Mrs. Fabbri's uncle Frederick Vanderbilt next door (click HERE for that house)
Although no interior views of Buonriposo have surfaced, it is said that the interiors were in the same simple, cool reserved style as those of the New York house.  Mrs. Fabbri, long since divorced from her husband, died in 1954.

Bayview, the Bar Harbor cottage of Theresa Fabbri McMurtry,. Bradley Delehanty, architect, 1933
Mrs. Fabbri's daughter, Mrs. George McMurtry, who lived further down Eden St. in a handsome Charleston colonial estate designed by Bradley Delahanty, had no use for her mother's property, and Buonriposo  was demolished in 1963.  For many years the site was marked by a high granite wall along Eden St., but that too has fallen victim to time and neglect.

Rubble from the demolition still litters the beach below the bluff the where Buonriposo sat.  A daughter of the house that replaced Buonriposo a decade later tells of finding small treasure amidst the fragments---a terra cotta angel, a gold mesh evening back with Mrs. Fabbri's initials, and a belt buckled engraved 'Edith' with a date.


La Petite Gallery said...

This is so interesting. I always watch for your new posts


Algarve property apartments said...

The structure of Italian villas really amazed me. It has a very unique design and you can say that it is a very strong structure just like what you can see in this post. That villa is just so great.

districtreia meeting said...

For me italian structures are one of the best. I have visited some Italian properties when we were in Italy and I proved that. The villas in this post are one of its proofs.