This past week, “Real Housewives of Miami” star Lisa Hochstein released some of the planned interior design sketches for her new home with her husband Lenny in Miami Beach, Florida. For the past year, Lisa and her plastic surgeon husband have been battling it out with local preservationists who have argued against the couple tearing down the historic waterfront mansion they own.
According to Reality Tea, as of this month, the battle is over, and Lisa and Lenny can finally move forward with their renovations.Even though the home was built by Florida’s first registered architect in 1925, this was not enough to gain the mansion a spot on the historical registry.
Several years ago, the couple bought the $8 million mansion on Star Island. They then decided that they wanted to tear the home down and rebuild, citing functionality and modernity issues.
“It is really not functional or safe. As a matter of fact, the engineers have said that the balconies can fall at any time,” Lenny Hochstein said in an interview with ABC News. Although they were able to get the preliminary city approval for the changes, the Miami Beach preservation society caught wind of their plans and were working to prevent demolition. The Hochsteins were not allowed to make large improvements at that time.
“This is a matter of preserving the historic resources of a community,” said Kent Harrison Robbins, the attorney for the Miami Design Preservation League. The preservation societies hoped that the home would be designated as a historic site, ensuring that it could not be knocked down or extensively rebuilt.
“From the sounds of it, this mansion was going to need some serious work either way,” says Gary Kapner, COO at Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors. “Though the couple may not see the increased value of having their home in the historic registry, this new home is likely to appreciated and be a great living space in its own.”
While some homeowners might seek historical designation for their homes because of the associated value that comes with it, it comes with a certain amount of responsibility. A homeowner of such a home can’t choose to replace solid wood floors with linoleum ones just because it’s cheaper, for example. According to Scott Spencer, who works as a loss prevention manager for Chubb Personal Insurance — the preferred insurance partner for the National Trust for Historic Preservation — renovations done to pre-1945 homes typically costs 20% or more than renovations for a newer home.