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La Joie de Vivre in historic French Country Village in Coral Gables


La Joie de Vivre in historic Coral Gables

By Ann Goodman, Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables         

The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG) recently celebrated the JOIE DE VIVRE in the French Country Village at the historic home and garden of Ivette and John Hofmann on Caligula Avenue.  Upon entering this masterfully restored estate, guests were transported to another time and era—that of the roaring 1920s in celebration of the French “joy of life”.

Coral Gables founder George Merrick’s grand vision for “America’s Most Beautiful Suburb” originally called for 14 internationally themed villages, but the hurricane of 1926 ended the Great Florida Land Boom and only seven of these were built. Today, these villages are all historically designated.

The Hofmann’s home is one of five in the village designed by local architect Edgar Albright. The three main architects were Albright, Frank Forster and Philip Goodwin.  The afternoon was like a page out of master architect Philip Goodwin’s book, French Provincial Architecture as Shown in Various Examples of Town & Country Houses, Shops & Public Places Adaptable to American Conditions, which was published in 1924 and provided the inspiration for Mr. Albright’s designs.

Guests were greeted with an exhibit of colorful images of French landscape, architecture and market scenes by award winning photographer and HPACG board member, Alice Goldhagen. Juan P. LLuria, a certified appraiser of art and antiques, estate liquidator, and specialist in French 18th-century art and design, provided a dynamic presentation about the design inspirations for the Village.

Later, guests sipped French wines and enjoyed gourmet fare donated by Madruga Bakery and Liberty Caffé.  Chanteuse Kim “Kimona 117” Ryan and pianist Elliot Sneider captivated guests with renditions of jazz classics such as “My Romance,” “Honeysuckle Rose” and a tribute to the legendary French performer Edith Piaf.

President Karelia Martinez Carbonell and board members Lisa Bennett, Pat Button and David Mitchell welcomed Beau Genovese and Tom Cabelka, Albert Menendez and the Honorable Maria Santovenia, Kathleen, Don and Jeannett Slesnick, Ray Corral, Zeke and Gina Guilford, Steve and Julie Siegfried, and French Country Village neighbors Nora Portuondo and Susanne Kayyali among many others. Mary Anne Danguillecourt, Brett Gillis, Ann Goodman and Alice Goldhagen co-chaired the event.


Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG) is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to promote the understanding and importance of historic resources and their preservation. For additional information or to become a member, please visit   

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