Inspired by the Palace of Versailles, developer Joseph Leone builds a Beaux Arts mansion that is pure perfection down to the smallest detail.
By Michelle F. Solomon
The 60,000-square-foot Beaux Arts mansion, Le Palais Royal, is the closest to a modern castle that America has seen in quite some time. Developer and designer Joseph Leone, who grew up in Italy and France, created the Hillsboro Beach, Fla., expanse with the Palace of Versailles and other great European castles in mind.
As he walks through the impressive space, the visionary knows every square foot down to each detail and precisely what has gone into each crevice. “Every room has a different flavor. Every room is like a precious jewel,” says Leone, who previously was a jewelry designer and whose perfection in creating each detail in Palais Royal makes the 11-bedroom, 18-bathroom house a masterpiece. Influence is French and Italian flavors, says the designer.
“I wanted to create a castle,” he says, “but I didn’t want it to have a feeling of a cold castle. Here, you can live in a beautiful castle with all the comforts of modern technology. There is no cold feeling either; there is warmth because of how Palais Royal was built and the location,” he says.
Warm feeling, indeed. Le Palais Royal is on almost five acres of pristine ocean and beach in Hillsboro Beach and takes advantage of the beauty and tranquility of the splendid setting. The property features almost 500 feet of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean and a 492-foot double dock on the Intracoastal waterway. There are more than a few one-of-a-kinds that Leone has ensured to make this property unlike any other. More than a half a million sheets (or leaves) of genuine gold leaf was used throughout the house with some of the most spectacular displays of the leafing found on the 22-carat gold entrance gate to the home and the 26-foot fountain plated in gold leaf. The process of leafing is an intensive craft and it took twelve artisans from France, who specialize in the application of gold leaf, to painstakingly apply the leafing at Le Palais Royal. “They worked close to non-stop for over six months just on that,” says Leone.
The $2-million marble staircase with steel iron railings took two years to complete. If something was delivered less than perfect or workmanship was less than 100 percent, Leone would have it done over or send it back. Mahogany doors from Brazil showed up with different colorizations or blemishes from the natural wood. Leone had wood sourced over and over, some from South Africa, until each door’s surface matched one another exactly. This was the type of detail that makes the property priceless, he attests. “It was a challenge for everyone, but you feel the quality when you walk through the property — the craftsmanship and attention, it’s all there.”
The home office was inspired to resemble the French Presidents office at the Élysée Palace in France and an underground showroom garage houses 30 cars. A chandelier in the main lobby has been outfitted with a motorized pulley that can be raised and lowered for cleaning. The chandelier at 8 feet wide and 5 feet tall, used to grace an Austrian church and was obtained through an auction in London. In total, there are 320 sources of decorative lighting, which include sconces, and a variety of chandeliers in every room of the palace.
Electrical outlets and air conditioning vents are nowhere to be seen — hidden from view. Plumbing pipes were wrapped in aluminium and a cast to ensure there was no noise from water running through the house “Everything has been soundproofed. Even the air conditioning, the plumbing system and rain evacuation,” which means rainwater will never be heard in the house as it drips through gutters. A special light projector that is installed in the finest museums has sensors to light up artwork throughout the home, so that each work of art looks as if it’s backlit. Le Palais Royal also has the first private IMAX in-home theater in the world with a 15 foot by 23 foot screen and seating for 18 people.
The developer said he wanted to build something to share with America the way the French gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States. “The way in which this Palais was built, it will last forever,” he says.
For a private tour, contact Silvio Sulichin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 (305) 934-9742.