Courtyard home offers privacy, abundant natural light

A small, wooden placard reading Casa CAVU – “ceiling and visibility unrestricted” – sets the stage for what is hidden behind the large mahogany doors of 630 Sable Oak Lane. After crossing the threshold, the space opens into a courtyard paradise.

John and Lucy Tucker moved to Vero Beach in the late 1970s, lured by friends for a Cardinals-versus-Dodgers spring training game. But it was the city of Vero Beach that hit one out of the park for the Tuckers. “We came to Vero, fell in love and bought a condo,” says Lucy.

As time went on and their family grew, the couple needed more space and built a home in Sea Forest before outgrowing that house and finally purchasing a lot in Bermuda Bay.

The courtyard is Lucy’s favorite feature in the house. When visitors drop by to visit, they gather in the courtyard under the covered loggia, away from the public eye. This private space is used daily for everything from early-morning coffee to family cookouts and evening cocktails with friends.

“A house is a house. It has a bedroom, it has a kitchen, it has a living room, but the loggia is special. Every night I sit out there.”

The outdoor area is viewed as another room, and Lucy has defined the space to fit her lifestyle. Around the freeform pool is a wall covered with foliage that accents the colors of the orchids growing freely among the trees. The space offers multiple seating options at different levels, a feature Lucy requested. “I thought the courtyard was such an important part of the house it needed something special. It’s gorgeous at night when it’s all lit up.”

This space is an extension of the home with its seamless flow between the inside and outdoor living areas. The summer kitchen and pool bath make it easy to entertain, allowing gatherings to spill out of the house and sandy children a place to wash off.

The guest quarters are situated over the summer kitchen and accessed by a private staircase. The cozy space offers a private seating area, bedroom and bathroom with views of the pool or the lake. The window seat located at the front of the property is a great place to curl up with a drink or book and offers a bird’s-eye perspective of the neighborhood.

“You know how it is when you have a place in Florida. You’ve got lots of friends. It was like running a hotel. People would move in; people would move out. It was nice to have a separate space,” explains Lucy. “We added on up here and made the living room large enough to hold a sleeper sofa if you need it.”

The main rooms of the house are dispersed around the courtyard and can be accessed by two entry points, one near the formal living room and the other through French doors central to a wall of transom windows. An open-plan family room, kitchen and breakfast nook lie just beyond the wall of windows where light permeates through glass block transoms which give the room a dramatic, upscale feel but offer more than just an architectural accent by opening the area up and illuminating it with natural light.

“The amount of light in this house is fantastic,” says Kelly Fischer, Realtor with Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty. “Houses like this tend to be dark. They did a great job designing so that you don’t feel closed in at all.”

Having an abundance of light throughout the house was a major consideration during the design process, according to Lucy. The home was designed by Armin Wessel and built by Seacoast Development, using a variety of architectural design features including tray ceilings, custom trim, columns, and tongue and groove wood flooring, to add depth.

The bright kitchen features a built-in desk, island, breakfast nook and breakfast bar that open into the family living area. Toward the front of the house, a guest bedroom, laundry room and garage access are situated for privacy and easy access for guests to the outdoor areas.

The formal dining and living rooms sit just beyond the kitchen area. Their proximity to the kitchen and a powder room allows for flawless entertaining. A wood-burning fireplace adds warmth to the formal living room, and the cultured, marble countertop on the wet bar lends itself to a more sophisticated ambiance.

In the formal dining room, a large picture window overlooks a small grotto that houses more of Lucy’s extensive orchid collection. “This space would be great for a statue or fountain,” she suggests.

Further back, the library runs along the western side of the house. The beautiful floor-to-ceiling dark, oak paneling and built-ins were the handiwork of two Irish craftsmen, according to Lucy. Bay windows at the front brighten up the room and oversize French doors at the rear open onto a private patio with lake views.

A series of windows provide an unobstructed view across the lake from the master suite. “You have all the privacy in the world,” says Lucy, pointing across the lake edged with oak trees. The suite includes a tray ceiling that adds height and opens the room up; dual walk-in closets, and his and her bathrooms with a shared shower provide an extra layer of privacy and space.

“Indian River Shores is a great location because you are close to town, but not ‘in’ town,” says Lucy, who also enjoys the variety of wildlife inhabiting the area, the proximity to the beach, the Village Shops and John’s Island Creek.

“I ride my bike all over the place. It’s easy to wheel the kayaks over to the creek, and from there you can go out to the river or wherever you want,” offers Lucy. “I love all the wildlife. A Chuck-will’s-widow lives right outside the front window; and I’ve seen egrets, raccoons, a fox and osprey, too.”

Bermuda Bay is a guard-gated community located in Indian River Shores. Community amenities include a heated pool, tennis courts, clubhouse and deeded beach access. Just outside the gates of Bermuda Bay, the Indian River Shores Public Safety Department offers police, fire and emergency medical services, and the Village Shops and beach are only a short walk away. It’s only a few minutes’ drive to reach Ocean Drive shopping and dining, Riverside Park, Riverside Theatre and the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

Vital Statistics

  • Address: 630 Sable Oak Lane
  • Neighborhood:  Bermuda Bay
  • Year built: 1997
  • Lot Size: 54 feet by 219 feet
  • Home size: approximately 3,700 sq. ft.
  • Construction: concrete block with stucco
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 4 full baths and 1 half-bath
  • Additional features: Waterfront, beautiful courtyard, security system, guest quarters, library, summer kitchen, pool, garden tub, storm panels, wet bar, 2-car garage and deeded beach access.
  • Listing agency: Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Listing agent: Realtor Kelly Fischer, 772-205-3058
  • Listing price: $ 1,000,000

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