Junior League’s Tour of Homes showcase group, unique residences

VERO BEACH – Wandering through five dazzling beachside residences, fortified by fresh OJ and mostly-home-baked cookies, with mini-tours provided by friendly young women in Scarlett O’Hara hats, proved a quite pleasant way to spend a few sun-filled Saturday hours.

The Junior League of Indian River’s 18th Tour of Homes, “A Glimpse of Vero,” is a major fundraiser for the educational/charitable women’s organization, and was co-chaired this year by Nicki Maslin and Amy Harwick.

The “Start Here” spot was Riverside Park, where a cluster of ladies in sundresses smiled from beneath their bright brims and dispensed tour book “tickets,” refreshments and info.

Visitors could choose to begin from either north A1A, at Disney’s Wabasso resort, or south at St. Ed’s Upper School, where, clutching cookies and guide books, they set out by car or aboard a “trolley.”

On the tour’s south end, The Silver Sands seaside home of a local artist – an abstract expressionist – is quintessential Florida, a graceful older dwelling that offers an appealing glimpse into the homeowners’ life, vibrantly illustrating how art can be a comfortable and enriching part of daily life. In each room, precisely placed art works perfectly compliment the artist’s creative decorating style.

The second south A1A home was a Corona Lane beauty with an Anglo-Caribbean feel, eye-popping living room, fabulous pool and, from almost every room, an hypnotic view of the teal green water of the Atlantic.

One of the best “wow” views of many on our beachside is revealed just as visitors reach the crest of the Wabasso Causeway bridge heading west from A1A, when you first look down upon Marsh Island. It is a small island, nestled against the causeway, on which sit a circle of homes surrounding a little lake, a handful of beautiful watercraft occupying a marina on the south end.

From the upper deck of the mission-style Marsh Island Marina home, you gaze directly down onto the marina and could, with a bit of a leap, jump smack into the water. An intriguing little oculus in the foyer and design that makes good use of the ever-present breezes and a carriage house, currently the studio of a local artist, were among this home’s appealing features.

At the opposite end of the island sits a Caribbean Georgian estate crowned with an ornate cupola and widow’s walk. The owners had graciously retreated to their yacht for the day as their home filled with admirers. To shield the carpeting from hundreds of footsteps, visitors donned blue paper foot coverings donated by Perkin’s Medical Supply, and clopped from room to room like a herd of Smurfs.

Everyone stopped to ooh, ahh and comment on the stunning kitchen, and the styling throughout had West Indies flair.

Further south, The Indian Trails Estate offered one fantastic feature after another, with an astonishing art collection displayed throughout and unique, eclectic decor proclaiming the owner’s sophisticated taste. A highlight here was the glowing kitchen, in tones of butterscotch, cabinets and fridge door crafted from bird’s-eye maple, polished to within an inch of its life.

Vero Beach resident Amy Lovelady, and her mom, Ellen Lee, visiting from Waco, Texas, chatted eagerly as their trolley headed toward the next stop.

“This is such a lovely weekend,” said Ellen. “What fun, all these lovely homes. It’s so exciting.”

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