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Bronxville Historical Conservancy Presents 2019 Preservation Award to Olinda and John Simon For Restoration of Elm Rock Road Home PDF Print Email


Nancy Vittorini, Sarah Chapin, Olinda Simon, John Simon, Marilynn Hill

By Ellen de Saint Phalle, Member of the Board, Bronxville HIstorical Conservancy

Jan. 15, 2020:  More than 130 members and their guests attended the Bronxville Historical Conservancy’s Annual Meeting and Holiday Party on December 11 at the Bronxville Field Club. 

The evening’s celebration included recognition of the outgoing co-chair, Judy Foley, and board members Tom Welling, Nick Stephens, Jim Hudson, Stafford Meyer,and Jane Staunton.  It also included the welcoming of new board members Mark Wood, Rick Shearer, Bill Fredericks, Saskia Martin, Mike Heraty, and Maggie Marrone. 


New Board Memebrs: Mark Wood, Mike Heraty, Saskia Martin, Maggie Marrone, Bill Fredericks and Rick Shearer  

Co-chair Bill Zambelli gave special thanks to the party’s organizers, Board members Lisa Rao and Judy Foley, before turning to the highlight of the evening: the presentation of the 2019 Preservation Award to Olinda and John Simon for the historic restoration of their Elm Rock Road home.


Board Member Lisa Rao and outgoing Co-Chair Judy Foley 

Zambelli thanked his fellow Preservation Award Committee members Erin Saluti, Marilynn Hill, Corky Frost, and Maureen Hackett.  The committee received several impressive nominations for consideration. 

In her nomination of the Simon residence, Vicki Ford wrote, “The house represents a point in time in Bronxville village development when spacious large homes were surrounded by gardens…as a community it is important we recognize and demonstrate appreciation for extraordinary accomplishments in restoring historic property.”  Nancy Vittorini helped Ford create the portfolio for the project’s submission.

Erin Salutu presented the award to the Simons on behalf of her committee and the Conservancy echoing Ford’s remarks, “The residence stands as a paragon for architectural restoration within the village.” 

Saluti shared the home’s noteworthy history: Built in 1904, on the site of one of Bronxville’s early farms, this large stone and shingle Dutch Colonial was originally home to T. Channing Moore, who served as President of the village from 1916 -1919 and went on to serve as a NY State assemblyman for several terms. The Moores inhabited the home for 55 years, until it’s next residents, US Senator Charles Goodell and his wife Jean and family (including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell).


Following the Goodells, the home was purchased by His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco, who used the property as a dependency for the Pondfield Road residence of his daughter, Princess Lalla Meryem. 12 Elm Rock then became home to many members of the royal family and their staff.  In 1992, John and Olinda Simon purchased the home where they raised their family.

On August 2, 2016, the unthinkable occurred. A massive fire broke out in the master bedroom, destroying major portions of the Simons’ historic home. But rather than become discouraged, the Simons turned this disaster into an opportunity to restore the home as closely as possible to the original 1904 design.  Relying on the resources of the history center and the Conservancy, and employing a carefully selected team of professionals, over two-and-a-half years the Simons painstakingly restored what had been lost in the fire, as well as what had been changed in the years prior to their ownership. 

In the interior, the Simons reintroduced the original bedroom layout (the king had reconfigured these spaces into connecting suites to accommodate his nieces - who were attending Sarah Lawrence - and their live-in chaperones).  They reinstated the original large pocket doors in the keystone arched room entrances, reproduced the design details of the fireplace mantles, replicated the original oak floors with border, and rebuilt the balconied grand staircase - three times - before it was restored to satisfaction. 

On the exterior, the team reinstated the third-floor dormers as close to the original as today’s code would allow, and rebuilt a previously unknown rear dormer, that the fire revealed had originally existed. They removed a 1950’s bomb shelter, restored an original hitching post on the side of the veranda, and rejected the front entrance door design twice before finally accepting it as accurate. 


Olinda and John accepted the award with thanks to the Conservancy and their project’s restoration team: Architects Michael Bolster, Dean Davis, and Roger Blaho; Contractor Paul Fontana, Cum Laude Group; and Interior Designer Sarah Chapin, Chapin Interiors. 

Commenting on their desire to restore the house, Olinda said, “Bronxville is a special place.  We are lucky to live in this village with so many talented and dedicated people who truly care about supporting and preserving Bronxville’s rich history and unique character.”

The Conservancy accepts nominations for the Preservation Award January 1 through November 30 each year.  Award categories include: Architectural Restoration; Conservation of Architectural Elements; Renovations and Additions; Garden and Landscape Design; Craftsmanship and Fine Art; Preservation of the Historical Record; and Stewardship and Advocacy.  Projects must be complete at the time of submission.  Self-nominations are welcome.

For more information about the Preservation Award and other programs and events sponsored by The Bronxville Historical Conservancy, please go to:  

Photos of home courtesy Bronxville Historical Conservancy

Other photos by Peter North

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. 


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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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