A young couple, Morgan and Blake Smith, thinking they would live in their house for years to come, had the builder put in a lot of fancy upgrades. Then the baby came, making more space a bigger priority than maximizing their investment. The next owner will benefit from their aesthetic choices and thoughtful planning.
“I picked every item in this house and I really want other people to enjoy it,” Morgan said.
They chose a good location too – the Vero Lago subdivision – which has two gated entrances, one off of 57th Avenue it shares with Bent Pines Golf Club and one off 53rd Street.
Vero Lago, Bent Pines and the four Waterway Villages nearby are all beautiful, their roads and plantings mutually enhancing each other, creating a park-like setting over a large area.
The lush plantings along 53rd Street on the sides and within the median, as well as the paved path, most of it under shade, has become the exercise promenade for mothers with children in strollers, jogging partners, dog walkers and even equestrians.
Vero Lago was begun in 2005 by Centex, based in Texas, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services listing agent Chip Landers said. “In the ’80s and ’90s, Centex was the biggest builder in the U.S.”
The company put in about 200 of the 525 homes in Vero Lago, and then, after the real estate recession, Tapestry Homes, based in Fort Lauderdale, took over the remaining lots and built out the rest of the development from 2013 until 2018. The Smiths built in 2015.
Within Vero Lago, the Smiths also chose well. Each block has an oblong lake and they have an end-on view, affording more privacy, breadth and expanse to the back yard. The Smiths put in a 4-foot aluminum fence for their dog and expanded the pavers closer to the water.
Landers pointed out Tapestry Homes offers homebuyers a “rare” opportunity, allowing them to customize “reasonably-priced homes,” while other builders in the same price point often stick close to the basic model design.
“We’re small, so we’re able to be customer-centric,” Tapestry Homes President Peter Osterman said.
The most popular model in Vero Lago is the Arlington, which is what the Smiths own, at 4980 55th Street. The first upgrade they opted for was deep crown molding throughout the house, which has 10-foot ceilings. They put in a smooth-coat finish on the plaster walls, “which is more labor intensive, because you cannot hide any mistakes,” Landers said.
“The Arlington is the most popular because it has good entertainment space,” Morgan said.
The foyer lets onto the open-floor-plan kitchen, breakfast nook and great room. Morgan upgraded the expansive kitchen island and counters to granite, put in taller cabinets with soft-touch close, and chose a steel double-wall oven with warming tray – the stove top situated to the side – instead of a single oven below with a stove top.
She upgraded the shelves to pull-out drawers, making pots, pans and Tupperware easily reached and arranged. The pantry also has big drawers and vertical storage above for cutting boards and cookie trays.
The great room has a built-in entertainment center, the trim and white wood echoing the crown molding and kitchen cabinetry.
The separate dining room was upgraded to include a coffered ceiling, as was the master bedroom.
The master suite got as much attention as the kitchen. Morgan joked she got a custom walk-in closet instead of a honeymoon. It has a built-in vanity, jewelry insert, dresser, assorted shelving and hanging spaces eight feet high.
The master bath was upgraded from a tub to a double-sized walk-in shower, with two rainfall shower heads. Taller cabinets, granite counters, brushed pewter fixtures and towel rods were additional upgrades. Morning news shows on the mounted flat-screen above the mirror make shaving informative.
One of the guest bedrooms has been converted to baby Charlotte’s room, with custom shelving, dresser and pull-out diapering station.
The second guest bedroom is Blake’s “man cave,” a misnomer, since it’s neat as a pin, although there are water buffalo horns mounted over the couch.
The laundry room was upgraded to include a long folding counter, a bank of cabinets and a laundry-tub sink.
The three-car garage got extra storage too, and the floor was painted with anti-skid paint.
The coup de grace: The whole house is upgraded to an integrated Nest temperature control and home electronics system.
The homeowners’ fees are $238 a month and include individual lawn care, lawn irrigation, cable TV, the community pool, tennis courts and community clubhouse, the latter with an exercise room and party space set up for catering.
- Address: 4980 55TH Street
- Neighborhood: Vero Lago
- Year built: 2015
- Lot size: 70 feet by 150 feet
- Home size: 2,200 square feet
- Construction: Concrete block
- Bedrooms: 3 • Bathrooms: 2
- Additional features: Gated community, three-car garage, huge kitchen island, stainless steel appliances, double oven, custom cabinetry throughout the house, crown molding, four-foot fence, expansive paver driveway and porch, lake view, coffered ceilings, gutters, granite counters, Florida Power & Light electricity
- Listing agency: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
- Listing agent: Chip Landers, 772-473-7888
- Listing price: $374,900