By Christine Davis
Brimming with vitality and bounding with energy, Gina and Garrett Benders’ charming Mediterranean-style, two-story home on Andrews Avenue will be one of the stops of the March 11 Delray Beach Home Tour. The tour will include seven homes in the beach area of Delray Beach and benefits the Achievement Centers for Children & Families.
“We have a full house,” Gina Bender said of her six-bedroom, seven-bath waterfront home with more than 9,000 total square feet. The Benders have three children: Draper, 17, Quillen, 15 and Olivia, 14. Also part of the family are a cat, Zazu, and 3 dogs: Molly, a springer spaniel, Milkshake, a West Highland white, and Layla, a pit bull.
“We are just missing a goat and a chicken,” she adds.
The home was a collaborative effort between Garrett, a real estate developer, and Gina, a designer and antiques dealer. They relocated from Atlanta and moved into their new home in 2005. Randy Stofft of Randall E. Stofft Architects was the architect and Curtis House of Louis Anthony & Associates, designed the interiors.
Set up perfectly for this family, the house is divided into rooms in the main part of the house (the dogs move pillows around and settle into the comfy sofas and chairs in the living room) as well as offices for Gina and Garrett.
The big kitchen opens to the family room, where the children enjoy hanging out, even though they have a family room, just outside their cluster of bedroom suites upstairs. The guest room, also on the second floor and overlooking the water, is often taken over by friends of the children, which is just fine with Gina as that makes it easier to keep track of her teens.
The master suite is privately located in the north of the house on the second floor — and includes a gym, large bathroom and closets, and a sun-filled bedroom with French doors that open to a balcony offering water views.
For Gina, relocating gave her the opportunity to create the “new old” home of her dreams, using ideas from Addison Mizner’s architecture and pictures of old Palm Beach homes that she collected from books and magazines.
Architectural features include a tower staircase topped with a dome and adorned by a hand-painted mural, highly decorated Moorish columns, wrought-iron railings and grillwork, French doors, archways, deep brown natural woodwork, tea-stained stucco, stone floors as well as plank floors, decorative ceiling treatments, and tiles of all types, colors and sizes that Gina enjoyed finding.
Thank goodness, Gina said, that some wares from her Atlanta shops didn’t sell. Those pieces worked perfectly in her home’s decor, an eclectic mix of Indian and Spanish antiques, with rich woods and jewel-toned fabrics.
Outside, the grounds are a tropical paradise. Enclosed in a courtyard are patios, a summer kitchen, pool, spa and fountains. Along the waterfront of their home is a dock.
“I loved creating this house,” Gina said. “It came together beautifully and the location is perfect. It’s great for entertaining, and, since it’s close to the beach, our house is where the kids’ friends come. Actually, they are doing more entertaining than Garrett and I.”
The tour, which benefits the Achievement Centers for Children & Families, is on Thursday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Homes are located between the Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, from Vista Del Mar to Pelican Lane.
The Achievement Centers for Children & Families in Delray Beach, a social services agency serving 700 children and 150 adults, aims to help families achieve self-sufficiency, as well as providing the children of these families with the educational resources to help them succeed in school. The tour, in its eighth year, is the centers’ signature fundraiser.
Ticket price is $100 and includes parking with continuous trolley service between the homes and a “Taste of Delray” catered luncheon. Reservations are required. Confirmed guests will receive a map of the homes one week before the event. For information call (561) 266-0003.