Homes of the Treasure Coast
Three women turn traditional home into sleek retreat
A need, interest and desire — fueled by a casual conversation and finally a cold call — would result in the complete reimagining of a home in PGA in Port St. Lucie.
Homeowner Jeri Wilson, originally from New Jersey, still owns a home in the town where she grew up.... Read more
Preserving old-time charm
Project to restore Stuart bungalow included delays and lots of hard work
In the heart of downtown Stuart, on a beautiful, historical street, the mission to save a 100-year-old family home and preserve its original charm required time, an adaptable budget, and professional expertise by a team of specialists.... Read more
Asking price for Vero Beach grand mansion shatters county record
When real estate prices began to climb over the last few years, oceanfront properties were no exception. Now, a home has gone on the market in Vero Beach at a record-seeking price for Indian River County... Read more
Couple spends two years renovating, updating house with a great river view
A waterfront home lies on a broad expanse of the Indian River just south of old Fort Pierce, the original military supply post for which the town is named.
South Indian River Drive offers some of St. Lucie County’s most picturesque waterfront scenery, as well as historical residences... Read more
Spacious Orchid Island home combines craftsmanship with West Indies architecture and a dash of Hollywood
A broad and elegant mansion in Orchid Island has a legacy in Vero Beach that stretches from Baltimore to Hollywood and extends to the NFL. The house was the creative brainchild of one of Vero’s most influential builders... Read more
Beachside home gets a new look from the floors to the roof
For anyone who has ever marveled at the skills of a fine interior designer, April Milicevic’s Riomar home in Vero Beach would seem to exemplify her preternatural gift for the art.
Milicevic and her husband, Mike, purchased the house in 2017 when they decided to enroll their youngest daughter at St. Edward’s School just down A1A. After... Read more
The Right Mixture
Spacious Stuart home combines unique features from Colombia to Connecticut
In parts of Colombia, the Spanish word for the hibiscus flower is cayena. In many cultures, it symbolizes abundance, well-being and happiness. Over a small bridge, onto an island off Sewall’s Point, a house bears the name Las Cayenas, and carries the exact attributes symbolized in the flower.
Las Cayenas became a residence that Susan and Edgardo Abello willed into being. Read more
Project to combine two penthouse condos produces masterwork
If the glory of the Roman empire had a vernacular for home design, the recent transfiguration of a South Hutchinson Island condo would be expressed as E duobus unum: Out of two, one.
Great art successes often spring from great collaborations. Like Rogers and Hammerstein, Scorsese and DeNiro, Lennon and McCartney. In this work of art, Patty Downing and Katie Astras, of Patty Downing Interiors, achieved their opus working with two homeowners who had acquired two penthouse condominiums, and a single masterwork was the result. Read more
Grounds for communication
Homeowners and architects team up to build a magnificent home
John Ruskin, the Victorian era’s most prominent art and architecture critic, believed that buildings should deliver two kinds of goodness: doing their practical duty and being graceful and pleasing in doing it. Kim and Bob Gibson’s home in Vero Beach would fulfill Ruskin’s expectations.
The Gibsons chose Banov Architects to build a new home from the ground up, at the western end of Vero Beach in the Polo Grounds. Amy and Robert Banov are the principal owners and architects in their firm, and both are also general contractors, an unusual circumstance for architects. Read more
Beauty and brains
Vero Beach home on the Indian River Lagoon went from traditional to minimalist and tech-savvy
It’s a house with brains, beauty and talent. In Seagrove West, Max and Judith Thyssen acquired a home of conventional style on an expansive section of the Indian River Lagoon and in 2016 began transforming the residence into a modern, technology-savvy oasis.
The sleek interior of the house replaced what Max Thyssen describes as “a very traditional décor with lots of gold and beige tones.” Now, a clean design dominated by a palate of white, gray and black perfectly accompanies the smart-tech features the Thyssens built into the house. Read more
Couple blends the flavor of the Lone Star state with views off Sailfish Point
A team of four separate partners came together and fulfilled a mandate: create an elegant Sailfish Point residence with a touch of Texas flavor built in.
The project was a new construction home for Diana and Randy Hoover who were moving to Stuart from Houston. They were interested in a home structured for outdoor as much as...Read more
Worth the risk
Vero Beach cottage’s renovations connect past with present and the future
Working with a client who is willing to take a risk is always gratifying for an interior designer, especially one as talented as Allen Holmes.
A multipurpose designer with an eye for detail, the fifth generation Floridian’s family settled Fort Drum in the late 19th century. His Hobe Sound design studio has developed a loyal clientele with Holmes as...Read more
Building for generations
Vero Beach cottage’s renovations connect past with present and the future
Perhaps one of the most durable connections to heritage is a home and a neighborhood, one that is built up, lived in and occupied by succeeding generations.
This is what has happened with Kit Fields. Five generations of her family have come to Painted Bunting Lane, in the Riomar neighborhood of Vero Beach, and made it...Read more
Built to last
Homeowners opt for houses that can withstand hurricane-strength winds
No builder will tell you he can build a hurricane-proof house, but many are willing to go beyond building codes, hoping the home will survive a sustained super storm.
“A home can be a bunker and still be a palace,” builder Jim Harkins says. The co-owner of H3 Homes has built more than 30 monolithic, poured concrete houses in Brevard, Broward, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties since 2007. The homes ...Read more
Arlo Guthrie is putting his beloved Sebastian home up for sale
Singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie spent more than 20 years converting a Coast Guard building turned fish cannery into his dream home on the Indian River in Sebastian.
Determined to retain the historical look of the original building, Guthrie overcame one obstacle after another to finally complete the home known as “The Crab House” in 2010.
Joie de Vivre
European-inspired estate blends classic elegance with family functionality
When Dr. Daniel and Marlena Husted doubled the size of their St. Lucie River estate in Stuart, they used design elements inspired by their travels around Europe.
Spanning 10 years, the project included addition of a guest house above the three-car garage and a master wing that doubled the square footage of the home.
Nature meets history on Indian River Drive
After seeing it for the first time, world traveler and nature-lover Diane Wynne knew she wanted to buy the Mediterranean Revival-style home with a rich history and sweeping views of the Indian River in Fort Pierce.
Custom architectural design connects elegant surroundings to nature’s charm
Riomar Bay, an elite riverfront neighborhood, is small enough to feel intimate yet graced with some of Vero Beach’s most elegant homes.
At 520 Bay Drive, a special residence deals in the rare currency of equitable indoor and outdoor space, utilizing water as its natural allure. The magnificent home is currently on the market for $3,995,000.
Teamwork brings quality workmanship, complex remodeling and elegant design to home on the water
A couple from Manhattan drove into the picturesque seaside town of Vero Beach and immediately knew the search for a home was over. Having scoured Florida’s east coast for a quiet getaway, their criterion was simple: They needed a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors with family, and Vero Beach seemed like the perfect place to escape from the city.
Bygone years blend perfectly with modern architecture to make a Riomar Drive home in Vero a picturesque retreat
Just like the early settlers, when Walter and Dale McGee first stumbled upon the little town of Vero Beach, it was love at first sight. “We were coming back from the Keys on our way back to Baltimore and the car broke down on A1A near Riomar,” says Dale, referring to the barrier island’s oldest neighborhood. Charmed by the character homes, mature oaks and proximity to the beach, she turned to her husband and announced, “OK, I’ll move here.”
Riomar’s humble beginnings
The year was 1918 and three Midwesterners, Dr. J.P. Sawyer, Dr. W.H. Humiston, and businessman E.E. Strong, were looking for a winter retreat far away from Ohio’s icy-cold winters. Scouring Florida’s east coast for the perfect place to golf, swim and fish, they came across Vero Beach and agreed they had found their little piece of paradise.
All rooms with a view
Nature provides the character for this fortress along the sea
Eduardo Leal and Agnieszka Szymanska built their dream home on North Hutchinson Island to stand the tests of time.
“He (the contractor) told us, ‘You are building a bunker here. If there is a hurricane, you can sit back and watch it,’” says Szymanska, a former ballerina with the Polish National Ballet Company and Vero Beach Realtor.
Couple enjoys remodeling that brings grand results for a marvelous home
Charlie and Peggy Russell can’t resist buying large homes and then completing extensive renovations, but their third home in Sailfish Point will be their last.
Originally from Kentucky, the couple has bought, remodeled and sold a dozen homes and condominiums in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Their oceanfront residence in Stuart was the biggest challenge yet, since it was just an unfinished shell when they purchased it three years ago.
If the walls could talk
Oral history has 95-year-old Vero Beach estate the site of a Roaring ’20s speakeasy
Known today as Crescent Moon, the 95-year-old estate in western Vero Beach has been the location of secret liaisons during Prohibition and a fictional tryst between an American journalist and a Nicaraguan Sandinista rebel portrayed in a Hollywood movie.
The 4.2-acre estate has a legendary – yet largely undocumented – past and was added in 1997 to the National Registry of Historic Places. Built in 1922 by New York couple Theodore and Blanche Hausmann on the then 15-acre parcel, the home was “used as a winter residence and an informal nightclub, or ‘speak easy,’ ’’ according to the historical significance cited in support of it being named to the registry.
Worth the wait
Arduous process produces contemporary gem in Diamond Sands
When Angel Arias began searching for an oceanfront lot to escape Broward County, he researched his way from Jacksonville south until he stumbled on to what he thought was a typo — a half-acre on Hutchinson Island for $385,000.
Arias bought the lot in Diamond Sands and began the two-year process to build a stunning three-story contemporary home with vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River. Right out of an episode of Miami Vice, the home, which was built in 2015, is an ultra-modern mixture of marble, stone, glass and steel with floor to ceiling windows designed for maximum enjoyment of the waterfront.
Villa Nirvana in Vero Beach fulfills a homeowner’s every desire
Entering through the doors of Villa Nirvana is like stepping into a dream home complete with every gorgeous detail any discerning person could desire.
The 3,255-square-foot modern beach home, with three bedrooms and three full baths, sits on .23 acres and has amazing 360-degree ocean and wildlife views from each of its three levels. Only 15 steps from the sand, the home was completely renovated in 2016 by owner Mahli Lieblich, a developer and restoration specialist from Miami.
Adventures on a treasured island
Western St. Lucie homestead provides great place to raise children and flocks of fowl
Suzanne Varn’s four children led a charmed life growing up at the end of the St. Lucie River surrounded by water and wildlife.
“We were like the Swiss Family Robinson,” says son David. “It was always an adventure. It was a really great time and we could explore the forest on our own little island. We loved having fish fries and cookouts on the deck.”
Roger and Pattama Lightle have custom-built their home to accommodate their collection of paintings by The Highwaymen
It is rare when a homeowner cares as much about what goes on the walls as how the walls are built, but that sums up Roger and Pattama Lightle’s Vero Beach house. It is a testament to solid construction techniques and the perfect gallery space for the couple’s stellar collection of Highwaymen paintings.
House of the moon rises above beachfront property
The Town of Jupiter Island broke the mold after William Brisben built his dream French estate Chateau de la Lune along the ocean shore.
Town fathers decided that the more than 14,000-square-foot residence, which was built in 2002, was too much house for a 1.5 acre lot and passed stricter development rules to preserve the look of the unique community.
Building on memories
Riomar home harkens back to a more genteel era
Long before there was John’s Island, Windsor or The Moorings, there was Riomar. Nestled just north of Vero’s South Beach neighborhood,the streets are lined with lovely live oaks, giving it a decidedly Old Florida feel.
In the early to mid-20th century, Riomar was a village unto itself. Everyone knew everyone and many of the residents were people of means who were well-known outside the village. There was the Grumman family, co-founders of Grumman Aeronautical Engineering (now part of Northrop Grumman), and the Brashears, former owners of the Drake Hotel in Chicago.
Renowned farm provides haven for horses and humans in Palm City
The lakefront home at Ludlum Farm opens out in all directions to horses and nature with magnificent views and breezes.
“It is very peaceful when you come in the gates and the horses love it here, too,” says Melissa Gelatt, who along with husband, Philip, bought the 55-acre horse farm in Palm City five years ago. The largest fully-operational dressage horse facility in South Florida — including Wellington — Ludlum Farm has its own covered dressage arena, a veterinary hospital and 68 stalls surrounded by beautifully manicured paddocks and pastures.
House with attitude
Remodeled beach home radiates Old Florida character
After Bill and Lisa Becker moved to Vero Beach in 1996, he would run past a house around the corner, thinking to himself, “what a great place to raise a family.” One day he saw a For Sale sign. He took it as an omen and the couple bought the house.
“I envisioned my children playing in the yard among the trees, riding their bikes and skateboards and walking to school,” Becker says.
The couple’s three children attended St. Edward’s Lower School when it was three houses away in the prestigious Riomar Country Club neighborhood on the beach south of the commercial district.
Historical house full of love
Owners ready to part with special property after 43 years
Ankona Acres is 5 acres of old Florida with a horse farm and riverfront lifestyle not found anywhere else on the Treasure Coast.
Originally built in 1903 on Indian River Drive, south of Fort Pierce, as the main home for a pineapple plantation, the home has been expanded several times from the original cross-ventilation design that captured sea breezes in pre-air conditioned days. The 4,000-square-foot main house has survived a raging brush fire and a banyan tree that crashed through the roof during one of the 2004 hurricanes.