Gracious home in eco-friendly golf community beckons

The upscale country club community of Indian River Club is known for its nature-loving residents and civic-minded volunteers, and the lovely home at 208 Oak Hammock Cir. SW likely will attract a couple who fit right in with neighbors, who play together and take care of each other, said Beth Livers, the listing agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

The custom-built 3-bedroom, 3-bath, 3,008-square-foot courtyard home is loaded with attractive features, including impact windows, crown molding throughout, wood-trimmed windows, sold core doors, stone floors, and granite kitchen and baths.

There is a beautiful screened pool and spa patio with lake views, a separate guest cabana, a paver driveway and 3-car garage – located in a gated golf-course community.

Like many who live in Indian River Club, homeowners Carol and Dan Mastronardi love the 120-acre, par-72 golf course with the prestigious “Audubon Certified Signature Sanctuary” designation, with sandhill cranes, roseate spoonbills and numerous water fowl a common sight from the greens.

“The Audubon designation was very important to us, as well as the core-group of volunteers. Indian River Club is an oasis in the Highlands neighborhood,” Dan said.

Caring for the environment extends outward to the surrounding community, with a troop of 70 dedicated volunteers nurturing the nearby Indian River Academy elementary school, which is becoming known for its academic achievement, civic-mindedness and landscaping, thanks to their help.

The Mastronardis have owned two homes in Indian River Club. Once avid golfers, Dan Mastronardi said, “We’re at the end of that cycle,” so they’re selling the house, but staying in the area.

“Vero Beach is not on the map yet, making it one of the best values in the U.S.,” Dan Mastronardi said. And the quality of construction in Indian River Club makes it one of the best values in the city.

“The house has real stone floors, a custom pool and a wall that separates our courtyard from the house next door, not just a hedge, making it like a private compound,” he said. “The high-impact glass and solid construction made us feel very secure when we left on trips or when storms came through.”

Finding newer, superior construction within a community that captures a vanishing aesthetic, Dan Mastronardi said, makes Indian River Club unique. “It’s like old Florida or South Carolina. It’s a low-country environment.”

“It’s like it’s always been here,” Livers agreed. To get that look the developers built curved roads and arranged lots around natural features, moving old oak trees at $10,000 a pop if there was no other way to preserve them, she said.

Indian River Club opened its golf course in 1995 as a key community draw and then turned to residential layout and construction, Livers said, who has listed and sold properties at Indian River Club since its inception.

Unlike most golfing communities, the original developer didn’t seek to maximize profits by rimming the holes and fairways with residences as the course took shape.

A heavy mature stand of pines, a white sugar-sand marsh and lake area, hammocks of old oaks and an ancient sand ridge with a 50-foot elevation make this course endlessly fascinating for flora-and-fauna enthusiasts.

Noted golf-course designer and native-Floridian Ron Garl made sure tees range from challenging to less so, making the course attractive and appealing to golfers at all levels. Indian River Club also avoided the “cookie-cutter” look of other developments, Livers said, by first drawing up the architectural guidelines and then allowing about eight contractors to build houses within those rules.

The development was originally platted for 400 houses, but to preserve more native habitat (13 acres for the Florida scrub jay and gopher tortoise, for example), only 240 homes will be built. There are 205 homes now, which include 24 condominiums. All irrigation, for the homes, common areas and golf course, use reclaimed water from Indian River County and the St. John’s Water Management District. Slow-release organic fertilizer is used.

The Mastronardis’ house was built in 2008 and is among the few homes in Indian River Club with a courtyard design. The front door leads straight to the courtyard, “which I call the surprise entrance,” Livers said, because the first thing you see is a deep-blue pool, surrounded by pavers, with a fine-screened metal superstructure high above.

“We have views from every room,” Dan Mastronardi said. “Either you see the courtyard pool or the long view of the lake, which is spectacular. It’s unique.”

The clubhouse offers more expansive views from its palatial porches and outside dining area. Basic club fees are modest, with a one-time $2,500 initiation fee and $450 yearly membership fee. (Golf membership is separate.) The HOA fee, $1,468 a quarter, includes use of the fitness center, community pool, lawn maintenance and irrigation.

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