Palm Isles home: ‘Old Florida’ feel with modern touches

Husband and wife Gary Embrey and Rebecca Rickey are selling their lovely home in Palm Isles to move close to their Ohio relatives, which will be a loss for the community, but a gain for the next owners who will benefit from the couple’s self-professed “neat freak” upkeep of the property.

Rickey is well known in the area as a past-executive director of the Heritage Center, a key historical landmark in Pocahontas Park, retiring in 2014 after 10 years in the position. Further experience as a historical preservationist preceded that post, so she knows good architecture when she sees it. Her husband is an engineer, and both were in the Navy, coming to the marriage with the same regard for spit-and-polish presentation, form-follows-function space and an aesthetic broadened by international travel.

They have been the sole owners of 152 35th Square SW, which was built in 2003. Rickey chose the house while Embrey was away on duty. Her mother, who knew Florida well, “said the house reminded her of old Florida, what Fort Lauderdale used to be like in the 1950s.” The open floor plan and expansive lanai overlooking the lake were two of the features that made Rickey want to buy the home.

The house was custom-built by Spencer Simmons, “a one-man shop known for his good-quality construction,” Berkshire Hathaway Home Services listing agent Bob Faller said.

Both Rickey and Faller noted Palm Isles is a choice, smaller development among those on 1st Street SW, with only 39 homes on the square, the lake at the center. There are two common green-space areas, one along a canal perpendicular and leading to the 1st Street SW Canal maintained by Indian River Farms, which will please adventurous walkers and dog lovers.

“It’s a very integrated group of people who live here,” Rickey said, “families with small children and teenagers, as well as retirees.”

The home is on a large lot, nearly a quarter acre, with a generous front yard and “huge backyard that could accommodate a pool or additional living space,” Faller said.

The home has four interconnecting hip roofs that give variety to the facade and translate into the soaring vaulted ceilings inside. The two-car garage juts forward, the wide driveway accommodating visitors. A roofed porch with columns and an arched architrave with arched windows on either side set up a lovely rhythm of counterbalancing curves and straight lines. The door is particularly nice, sidelights and a lunette transom window repeating the rectangle-arch, solid-translucent themes.

The foyer opens onto an expansive space, the dining room, living room, breakfast nook, kitchen and family room flowing into one another. The airiness of the space is emphasized by the flooring – large light ceramic tile throughout. The high ceilings bounce light from the French doors and windows.

The kitchen was recently remodeled, an open-angle breakfast bar 8 feet on one side and 5 feet on the other overlooking the family room, the perfect arrangement for a Super Bowl party. The miles of counters are small-patterned quartz, “the new granite,” said Faller. An island with storage beneath is a cook’s ideal prep area. “We’ve had four cooks working at the same time,” Rickey said, “circulating easily.”

The stainless-steel kitchen fixtures are new, the Bosch dishwasher so quiet a signal light the only clue it’s in operation. The oven and microwave are both convection for fast and even cooking.

The tumbled-marble backsplash adds a contrasting rugged texture to the smooth maple-finish cabinets and warm-toned quartz counters.

The family room has built-in bookcases on either side of an entertainment center, the crown molding and raised panels giving beautiful form to functional storage.

There are three guest bedrooms. One is at the front, currently used as an office. The other two are at the side of the house, separated by a shared bathroom, their placement maximizing privacy. All have big closets with built-in organizers.

The master suite is set apart on its own side of the house. The bedroom is distinguished by a deep tray ceiling and French doors letting onto the lanai, with a view of the lake. There are two walk-in closets. In the bathroom is a large garden tub, as well as a walk-in shower. Two vanities on opposite sides mean husband and wife don’t have to share. The cultured-marble countertops and sink are one molded piece for a sculpted look that’s easy to clean.

New light beige Berber-texture carpet was recently installed in the bedrooms.

Vital Statistics

  • Address: 152 35th Square SW
  • Neighborhood: Palm Isles • Year built: 2003
  • Lot size: 80’ by 127’, .23 acres • Home size: 2,200 sq. ft.
  • Construction: Concrete block with stucco
  • Bedrooms: 4 • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Additional features: Lake view, large back yard, spacious lanai, quartz counters, remodeled kitchen, kitchen island, breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, vaulted ceilings, elegant built-ins, two-car garage, split floorplan
  • Listing agency: Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
  • Listing agent: Bob Faller, 772-538-5206
  • Listing price: $299,000

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