Worth the wait
Even with this spectacular view, sometimes you just want some shade. By remote control all of the floor to ceiling windows have shades, which roll down, blocking heat from the impact windows. ROB DOWNEY PHOTOS
Arduous process produces contemporary gem in Diamond Sands
BY GREG GARDNER
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.
“This is the first and last house I have built,” said Arias, an immigration attorney. “It took two years of our lives. We had a group of people who helped us since it was the first time we built a home. It was a tedious process. I can deal with picking out sofas, but we were involved in everything including the door knobs and towel racks. The decorator said it was a joy to work with us because they were just a like a horse and you just want to let the horse run. We are not older people and we are not old school.”
With service for six, the breakfast nook table has ocean views from every seat. The open airy kitchen with a large island is accented by iridescent backsplash tile.
When the couple’s daughter Charley was first talking, she asked, “When are we going to the big house?” The name stuck and the Arias family refers to their getaway home as The Big House.
The couple has hosted family and friends for weekend retreats and there is no shortage of entertainment options. The pub room has a pool table and kegerator that Arias stocks with the favorite beer of whomever he is hosting for the weekend. Where else can you sip a cold one while playing pool and looking at the ocean?
Six guests can chill in the plush chairs in the downstairs theater room with big screen TV. Fishing in either the Atlantic Ocean or Indian River is also an option. Sidewalks offer bicycle riding for miles both north and south along State Road A1A. And there is always the very private beach for long walks.
The pool, spa and sunrise deck offer the ocean views without the sand. The summer kitchen with fireplace and artisan cooker is ideal for cookouts. The Big House is one of three completed in the 45-lot subdivision. It has 6,804 square feet under air conditioning and a total of 10,233.
The wallpaper in the pub room looks like it came from the fuselage of a B-29 bomber.
Fifty people recently enjoyed a wedding on the beach and a reception at the house with a DJ.
“It is unbelievable how much space this house has,” Arias said. “In reality, you don’t have a lot of space but we didn’t want a bunch of walls. We wanted to open it up, make it airy so it seems bigger than it actually is.”
OPTS FOR HIGH CEILINGS
Height restrictions cap the home at 35 feet, but Arias chose to have three stories instead for four, opting for high ceilings. The ground floor has a six-car garage, foyer, family room, theater room, cedar sauna and a full bathroom. A beautiful floating staircase rises to the main floor, which has the formal dining room with balcony and riverfront views, kitchen, great room, pub room, and a guest bedroom suite with balcony. The staircase railings are glass, which adds to the open feel of the home. The couple had gates and latches installed at the tops and bottoms of the two staircases designed to keep their daughter safe. There is also an elevator.
Huge by any standards, the kitchen has Thermador appliances including an espresso machine and six-burner gas cooktop with griddle. The enormous center island has two dishwashers. There is a breakfast nook with a table and five seats at the center island. Large impact sliding glass doors open out to the pool and covered summer kitchen. The outside railings are minimal with wires to maximize the view through them.
The upper floor is home to the lounge with terrace, two bedrooms with full baths, master suite, bath and large walk-in closet, and an office. “I thought I would work out of that office,” Arias said. “With the view from that seat of the river and the ocean it was impossible to work. ‘This can wait until Monday,’ I used to say.”
With a panoramic view of the ocean looking north, the master bath has an Aquabrass soaking tub, marble floor with inlaid mosaics and a steam shower. Views from the master bedroom and veranda are spectacular.
HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS
Arias likes to see the seasons change from the house. “I was naïve and I did not know how big the waves could get in the winter when it is cold. And then in the summer the ocean is calm. I love that tranquility when you have the beach to yourself.”
A sea turtle nest was marked with tape at the end of the short walk to the beach. The home has minimal outside lighting as required by county rules where turtles nest.
Shades for all of the windows can be lowered by remote control and everything from the temperatures in the six zones to surround sound music in every room can be adjusted from a smartphone. There are televisions in almost every room. You can never get too thirsty with four wet bars, one on every level. As you enter the main floor there is a huge climate controlled wine rack with almost 500 bottles.
In the master suite, sliding glass doors open out to the balcony and 180-degree vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.
Built with concrete block and poured steel, the home, its metal roof and impact windows are ready for the worst hurricane.
“This was the first contemporary home in the neighborhood and we designed it to fit comfortably with the other homes,” principal architect Randall Stofft said. “It was nice contrasting the pallet of materials using textured stone, smooth stucco, stainless steel and Spanish cedar.”
The original concept for Diamond Sands homes called for a British West Indies style. Arias had to appear before a review board of three homeowners to get his home approved. One said no, it was too modern and two said yes.
I didn’t want to build a cookie-cutter house,” Arias said. “We never played by their rules, but we got away with it. This is a very special place. There is so much to do here. I don’t have to worry about entertaining.”
The Diamond Sands home is listed by Lisa Adams with Illustrated Properties in Stuart for $5 million.