Private haven holds a special appeal for gourmet cooks

The West Indies-style home at 2819 St. Barts Square offers fine interior finishes, a spacious lot and lots of privacy in the gated Antilles community on U.S. 1, a short drive north of downtown Vero Beach.

The back yard, with its mature plantings, shuts out the world and adds an outer room to the house. One can read on the covered patio or laze in the sun on the stone pavers that surround a freeform salt-water pool perfect for doing healthful laps.

Listing agent Debbie Bell, who is with Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services Florida Realty, notes the appeal of the home’s “West Indies” plantation-style architecture.

The architecture looks airy and light, but the building materials are substantial, only mimicking a wood frame house. Traditional building members, such as the wide eaves, the cornice brackets and the clapboard siding, are applied to rock-solid, concrete-block construction. The many-mullioned doors and windows are glazed with impact glass and the roof is metal, all of which are likely to keep insurance rates lower.

The façade, with its projecting wings and centered but recessed front door, says “privacy” and the topiary-like plantings in front say “traditional.”

Inside, the high tray ceilings, crown molding and heavy doors carry the traditional theme throughout the house, light streaming in everywhere from generous windows.

But a more modern sensibility takes over in the rear of the house, with an open floor plan that makes the expansive kitchen and family room a fluid space. These two rooms, which let off the back yard, will have friends and relatives wishing for a holiday invitation to this choice address.

The spacious island kitchen, which features light gray granite countertops and rich, dark-wood cabinets, attracted current owners Jeanine and Mel Michalewich to the house. “My wife is a gourmet cook,” Mel Michalewich said. While delightful recipes unfold and the big game is on, “We can all still talk to each other. She excels at French and Italian cuisine and I’m good at eating it.”

They have put in all new stainless steel appliances and added a wine refrigerator, readying it for the next group of gourmands.

Off the back is a combination salt-water pool and elevated Jacuzzi, allowing bathers to go from hot to cool and back again. “Salt-water pools are lower maintenance and it’s better for your eyes and hair,” Michalewich said.

The back yard, with 20-foot-high plantings, is also fenced, he said, making it a relaxing place not just for humans, but for a dog, too.

Each of the three bedrooms has its own bath, “and there is still the half bath for guests,” Michalewich said. “So not much sharing is necessary.”

The couple also added plantation shutters to most of the windows and sliding-glass doors, making short work of battening down the hatches or closing up when going out of town.

His and her walk-in closets, a walk-in pantry and large laundry room make for easy living in this nearly 3,000-square-foot home with attached 2-car garage.

Bell said the house, at $444,000, “is the lowest-priced home in the community with a private pool. They are motivated sellers and will entertain all offers.”

The home is within the newish gated community, Antilles, which has a pleasant variety of traditional architectural styles with a Caribbean look. The first homes were built in the community in 2005.

The community clubhouse has a large dining area and lounge, with a kitchen to handle catered affairs. There’s also a community pool and tennis courts.

The homeowners’ association fee includes cable, all landscaping upkeep, mowing, irrigation, trash collection and use of the recreation facilities.

Antilles is close to downtown Vero, with its lively art-gallery and restaurant scene, and to the seaside shopping and dining district just across the Barber Bridge on the barrier island.

The Michalewich home is only a short drive from the beach, Bell said, but since it’s on the mainland, it comes with fewer weather worries than an island house at about half the price.

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