Elegant French connection along la rivière in Marbrisa

Ethel Haselton came to Florida looking for someplace warm where she and her husband, Forrest, could get away from the harsh Chicago winters. Her initial foray was spent with a friend vacationing in Vero Beach. That trip was all it took for her and Forrest to put down roots.

The couple had lived in Vero Beach for 10 years when they discovered the Marbrisa development, explains Ethel. “There was a dirt road in here, and I came right in and picked out this lot. That was 21 years ago.”

A self-proclaimed “house person,” Haselton knew precisely what she wanted when she designed the French-inspired, two-story riverfront home at 741 Marbrisa River Lane.

“I liked the fact that all the houses are different. It’s not a cookie-cutter neighborhood,” she notes. Paired with the meandering lanes that weave in and out of moss-draped oak trees, she had found the perfect spot to build a home.

The stylistic elements of French provincial architecture are prevalent throughout the Haseltons’ home, with symmetrical façades, a centered front door, shutters and numerous doors, transoms, and windows to let in plenty of natural light.

Each room has access to the outdoors via French doors and exudes a casual elegance adorned with deep crown molding, tray and coffered ceilings.

“The classic elegance and timeless architecture never go out of date,” says Debbie Bell, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Realty who has the house listed for $2 million.

The home’s two-story foyer provides a grand welcome. A few steps down, the foyer opens into the great room with a gas fireplace at its center. You can sit by the fire and watch boats cruise by on the Indian River Lagoon or folks walking and biking along the historic Jungle Trail – a scenic shell road popular with bikers and walkers that runs along the back of the property.

“The main rooms take advantage of the natural light and river views,” notes Bell as a boat sails past.

Just off the foyer, the south wing is home to an office and the master suite, allowing for the homeowners to have plenty of private space. Rich wood creates a warm and inviting atmosphere from which to work or just hide away for a bit of peace and quiet.

The generous master suite opens to the river through bay windows, ensuring a constant “flow” of beauty with unencumbered river views. Double crown molding finishes off the room with an especially elegant touch.

The master bathroom offers a luxurious experience with a jetted garden tub, his and her walk-in closets, polished marble floors, water closet and bidet, dual vanities and a seamless shower.

On the opposite side of the house, breakfast is a treat in a nook overlooking the river. In the spacious kitchen, a six-burner Italian gas stove and Thermador hood take center stage in the granite island where many a delicious meal has been prepared. Just down a hallway lined with pantry space, the laundry room is conveniently located near the entrance to three-car garage, alongside a full bathroom with pool access.

The wet bar is located just off the formal dining room. For evening social affairs, the French doors in the formal dining room can be opened onto a small garden grotto with the sounds of a soothing, trickling fountain.

The second floor can be accessed via elevator or the grand staircase near the front entry. On the upper landing, a cozy seating area provides the perfect spot from which to read a book or watch the sunrise from a small balcony.

Two bedrooms with en suite baths share a sunset balcony overlooking the river; and at the front of the house, a third bedroom and bathroom allow plenty of private space for guests.

Outside, from the screened lanai, Haselton enjoys watching all the activity on the Jungle Trail and the river. She says she loves the house, but the river is what she’ll really miss. “When my kids come, if they don’t see a dolphin the first day, they think it’s bad luck.”

The covered lanai is the perfect spot to lounge before hopping into the pool or spa or enjoy drinks as dinner is prepared in the summer kitchen. The gas-heated pool can be warmed up quickly for winter guests on cool days.

“Marbrisa is truly ocean-to-river,” says Bell, who will hold an open house on Jan. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Marbrisa is a private, gated community with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Jungle Trail and Indian River Lagoon to the west. Two clubhouses provide all the amenities you could ask for. An exercise-fitness room, Har-Tru tennis courts, pickleball courts, a screened pool and day docks can be found at the west clubhouse. Across the road, the oceanfront clubhouse offers granted beach access, a pool and kitchen.

Vital Statistics

  • Address: 741 Marbrisa River Lane
  • Neighborhood: Marbrisa
  • Year built: 1997
  • Construction: Concrete block with stucco
  • Architecture: French provincial
  • Lot size: 100 feet by 164 feet
  • Home size: 5,228 square feet
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 5
  • Pool: Gas-heated swimming pool and spa
  • View: Expansive river views taking in the Intracoastal Waterway with its steady parade of beautiful boats
  • Additional features: Gated entry; gourmet kitchen; custom cabinets; bidet; wood and marble flooring; granite countertops; wet bar; gas fireplace; shutters; office; elevator; laundry room; three-car garage; summer kitchen; screened enclosure; and private dock with lift
  • Listing agency: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty
  • Listing agent: Debbie Bell and Nancy Jones, 772-473-7255
  • Listing price: $2,000,000

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