In 1905, Mr. & Mrs. Ernesto Fabbri, he the son of a Morgan partner, she a granddaughter of William Henry Vanderbilt, commissioned Grosvenor Atterbury, the architect of Forest Hills Gardens, to design their summer cottage on Eden Street in Bar Harbor.
Although very large, the rambling stucco house, in a style that blended the Italian with Arts & Crafts, was a complete antithesis to the Fabbri’s enormous and more characteristically Vanderbiltian town house on Manhattan’s East 62nd St., a gift from Mrs. Fabbri’s mother, Margaret Vanderbilt Shepard.
Ocean Front, Buonriposo, before 1917
In 1906, the Fabbris decamped for Italy for several years, where the influence of the simpler Italian Renaissance took hold in their tastes. Upon their permanent return in 1914, the exuberant French palais on 62nd street was sold, and replaced in 1916 by a restrained and cerebral house on E. 95th St., designed jointly by Grosvenor Atterbury and Mr. Fabbri’s brother, Egisto, an amateur architect.
In 1918, the Bar Harbor cottage burned, and in 1919, it was replaced by another joint effort between Atterbury and Egisto Fabbri. The new house was more formal, and more elegant, smaller without the third floor of its predecessor, more authentically Italian than the earlier version, and in style would not have been out of place at Cap d’Antibes. The formal gardens, with their tall arborvitae imitating European cypresses, were looser, and more European in sensibility, than many of the stiffly designed and maintained estates of the era.
Although no interior shots of Buonriposo have surfaced, it is said that the interiors were in the same simple, cool reserved style as those of the New York house. Mrs. Fabbri, long since divorced from her husband, died in 1954. Her daughter, Mrs. George McMurtry, who already owned a handsome Charleston colonial estate designed by Bradley Delahanty, further down Eden St., had no use for the property, and Buonriposo was demolished in 1963. For many years its site was marked by a high granite wall along Eden St., but that too has fallen victim to time.