Fort Lauderdale's Historic Bonnet House

The Bonnet House is located at 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
This past weekend I had the pleasure of touring Fort Lauderdale's Bonnet House Museum and Garden, one of South Florida's last untouchable pieces of beachfront property.  This palace sitting on 35 acres of beachfront land can be found at 900 N Birch Rd in Fort Lauderdale (just off of E Sunrise Blvd).

The Bonnet House was once the estate of Chicago-born artist Frederick Clay Bartlett and his wife, who were gifted the property by the father of his wife, Hugh Taylor Birch. The  property is home to several separate buildings and has lush gardens and ponds as far as the eye can see. 
The official map of the Bonnet House grounds. (source:
The main house is amazing (unfortunately no photography is allowed) with every inch of the house decorated uniquely by the artists.  The house is a plantation-style house, featuring Mimi-Dade pine, terrazzo floors, bright, Florida colors and unique themes in each room.

It's amazing taking a look back in time and seeing how these massive buildings were constructed to withstand hurricanes and hot Florida summers.  Each individual brick used to build the houses was made on-site.  Many of the materials and fixtures inside of the houses were imported from other parts of the country, each with their own purpose in the home.

The decor in the courtyard is inspired by the Florida landscape with many of the pathways being formed with local coral reef limestone.  The plants and palm trees on the property are all native to South Florida.  
The family's connection to the ocean is evident in the fact that many of the rooms (and even the welcome sculptures) are nautical themed, featuring doorways and rooms that are decorated using shells that were found on the Fort Lauderdale shores.  
Although the courtyard is breathtaking, the real attraction is inside of the home.  There is art hanging on every wall of the home, most of which was created by Bartlett and high third wife  Evelyn, who lived on the estate until she passed away in 1995.  Being wealthy art collectors, some of the art on display was created by some world-renouned artists.  

The entire enclosed courtyard was painted and decorated by Evelyn herself.  The home is stunning and filled with art pieces. You could wander the property for days and still find pieces of work you have yet to discover.
The landscape is beautiful with tropical colors as far as the eye can see. The property has beach-front access, wetland mangroves, sand dunes and a maritime forest. It really is a one of a kind property in South Florida.  The wildlife found on the property is also very unique, as there were once as many as 42 monkeys living in the forest (although the number is down to just 2 today).  There are swans swimming in the estate ponds and frogs and insects can be heard in every corner of the property.
It really was amazing taking a few hours to explore the Bartlett estate and see all that the Bonnet House has to offer. It's one of the most unique homes left in South Florida and has been deemed a historic site to ensure that the home remains in tact as the original artists intended.

I highly suggest taking some time on a weekend and visiting the Bonnet House to take a step back in time and explore one of Broward County's most treasured estates.