The board of directors of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables recently celebrated its benefactors who support the George Giving Society — an annual fund campaign. Donations are unrestricted and benefit historic preservation and its resources.
The invitation-only event was at the elegantly renovated 1926 home of Coral Gables residents Ray Corral and Alina Meledina. The property was one of the first homes built on Country Club Prado. The street — best known for its historic entrance on SW Eighth Street — is one of the most photographed sites in Coral Gables.
The afternoon was picture perfect and as bright as the natural sunlight that welcomed the group.
Guests delighted on savory and sweet treats that included among other delicacies — Saint Andre cheese and raspberry spinach tea sandwiches and local whole organic strawberries served with handmade organic whipped cream. Champagne flowed nicely as guests moved freely around the home enjoying camaraderie.
All gathered during the lively presentation by Ray and Alina, each detailing the ups and downs of restoration all the while trying to keep the historic authenticity of the property. From plastering the walls, to refurbishing the stone fireplaces, to bringing back the luster of the original Cuban tiles, to carefully restoring the decorative wood balustrades on the spiral staircase, at the end, all proved to be worth the attention.
According to Alina, “It was a labor of love.”
Ray, a mosaic artist who creates one-of-a-kind works of art, designed many of the decorative pieces found throughout his home — details that add a touch of modernity to the historic. From the ornate mosaic dining room tabletop, to the creative tiles on the bathroom floors, to the glistening pool’s exquisite pattern inspired by the relief on the stone fireplace in the living room, each work captures a special kind of charm that adds color and newness to the 93-year-old property. Old certainly does not have to be boring and this house is young at heart.
Attendees included The Hon. Don Slesnick and his wife former Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick, Josephine Johnson, Jane and Steve Maranos, Barbara C. Zwick and friend Karen Moore, and many others. Joining the hosts, Ray and Alina, were HPACG board of directors Karelia Martinez Carbonell, president; Mary Anne Danguillecourt, secretary; Lisa Bennett and Ann Goodman, past presidents; new member Brett Gillis, and returning members Pat Button, Alice Goldhagen, and David Mitchell.
Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to promote the understanding and importance of historic resources and their preservation. For additional information or to become a member, visit www.historiccoralgables.org.
Karelia Martinez Carbonell is president of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables.