Television personality Bob Vila, known for his work on "This Old House," and his wife Diana Barrett have recently purchased a historic home in Palm Beach for $12.5 million from renowned interior designer Leta Austin Foster and her husband Ridgely. The property, located at 345 Pendleton Lane in the heart of Midtown, was a part of the Foster family for nearly half a century.


The Fosters, who acquired the 1940s house for $180,000 in 1975, sold it through trusts in their names, as indicated by courthouse records. The house, a Georgian Revival-style residence, features five bedrooms and encompasses 5,340 square feet of both indoor and outdoor living space. Designed by the late John L. Volk, a prominent Palm Beach architect, the house is one of the original structures on Pendleton Lane, with most others still standing.



Vila and Barrett, who are selling their lakefront home on Everglades Island for $52.9 million, are now the fourth owners of the Pendleton Lane property. The house, a landmark since 2022, is known for its characteristic Volk features like a curved staircase, spacious rooms, and French doors. It also includes a patio and swimming pool in its informal garden setting.

The Fosters, who have used the house both as a residence and a rental property, now live in an apartment above the Leta Austin Foster boutique in Via Mizner. Bob Vila, a former chairman of the Palm Beach Architectural Commission, is famed for his roles in "This Old House" and "Restore America with Bob Vila."

The sale, finalized on December 7, was recorded a few days later. The house, decorated by Leta Foster in her signature eclectic style, stands on a quarter-acre lot near the lake. It was listed for $15 million by Jeff Cloninger of Sotheby’s International Realty.

While the Fosters and the Vilas have not commented on the sale, it's reported that Chris Vila, one of Vila and Barrett’s children and a real estate agent, represented his parents in the transaction.

The house's landmark status ensures that any significant exterior alterations require approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The property's history includes previous owners like jeweler Milton A. Ellen Fuller and Richard Collier, grandson of Florida developer Barron G. Collier. The house's modest architecture reflects the simpler style of Palm Beach homes in the 1930s and '40s, contrasting with the more extravagant Mediterranean-style homes of the 1920s.

Posted by Discover South Florida on

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