In the height of the great depression and the infancy of the now world-renowned Sea Island Resorts, Eugene and Carlotta found what they needed most: privacy and escape from the disturbances of Broadway. With Carlotta at the helm, the playwright and his wife built what was to be “their home until the end.” Commissioning the architect, Francis Louis Abreu, Carlotta requested that their beachfront home evoke the feel of an “austere Spanish” hacienda. Directing the architect and landscape designer, Miesse Baumgardner, Carlotta ensured that O’Neill would have a home built for an artist and, on June 22nd 1932, the couple moved into their Sea Island cottage.

Born to Diego and Marie Jova Abreu, the owners of a sugar plantation in Cuba, Abreu became a prominent architect known in Florida and Georgia for his distinctive designs that blend Spanish and Mediterranean influences. Incorporating his signature styles into Casa Genotta, the cottage features barrel-tile roofs, twisted coral columns, a cloister arcade, antique lanterns, intricate ironworks, monastery doors and elaborate masonry. In 1928, Abreu was hired to design parts of The Cloister hotel on Sea Island, in collaboration with Addison Mizner. During the construction of the now reborn Mizner hotel, he met James Robeson, and formed a new firm called Abreu & Robeson. The duo was contracted by the O’Neills in November of 1931 to erect the first home the couple had ever built.

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