Judith and Maximilian Thyssen had no idea when they decided to leave Germany to live abroad for a year that their stay would turn into two, then three … then six years.
The couple considered places all over the world but zeroed in on Florida. They started their search in Miami and made their way north to Vero Beach, which Max was familiar with through commercial real estate ventures. Here, they discovered the home at 275 Riverway Dr. in Seagrove West that they subsequently purchased and transformed from a traditional style into a modern transitional masterpiece.
They wanted something with clean lines that didn’t compete with the spectacular open water, explains Judith.
“The design can take on whatever persona you want. It’s livable and not overdone,” says Sally Daley, founding broker associate of the Daley Group at Douglas Elliman.
“It’s an absolute fortress,” continues Daley, adding that the spectacular house and elegant pool are built on pilings.
“This house has had nothing but fine builders attached to it,” Daley adds. The original builder was Pierce Brothers in 2003, with a 2011 renovation by Errol Adels & Banov Construction, and a recent update by Builders East.
“It’s a total merger of form and function and there are so many superior things about the house,” Daley continued, noting the positioning of the house on the lot to optimize privacy and the fact that it is a two-story, complete masonry build.
One of the real showstoppers is the long view of the Indian River Lagoon through a wall of glass across the rear of the formal living room, which draws your attention as soon as you step over the threshold into the grand two-story, foyer with black and white marble flooring, built-ins and an elegant staircase with wrought-iron railings leading to the second floor.
The home has an open, spacious feel with defined spaces created by a variety of creatively and strategically placed walls and furniture. The formal living room at the center of the house has two distinct seating areas. One’s focus is the floor-to-ceiling gas fireplace clad in marble with hues of movement throughout.
“The spaces relate to each other, yet they’re private. It’s open concept with defined spaces,” adds Daley.
Judith and Max have laid claim to the eastern wing of the house, where there’s an office with a full bath adjacent to the primary bedroom. It’s the perfect retreat, from the river view and pool access to the gloriously posh bathroom with two walk-in closets, a soaking tub, a water closet, dual sinks and a shower equipped with multi-jets and steam.
“The layout really works for us because we have the kids upstairs. You could also put guests upstairs,” says Judith.
The formal dining room is to the left of the front entry. Partial walls topped with marble add a touch of elegance to the square room, which Daley notes works well for furniture placement.
Further down the hall is a door leading to the laundry room, powder room, kitchen, family room and a covered breezeway and a detached two-car garage.
A large, quartz island counter with bar seating creates a division between the kitchen and family room, so everyone can be together while dinner is being prepared in the gourmet kitchen, using Miele appliances and a SubZero refrigerator.
There’s no shortage of views from here, with windows on three sides of the family room so you can enjoy the ever-changing beauty of the natural world.
Three bedrooms and two baths provide various sleeping options for guests on the second level.
One en-suite bedroom overlooks the river with access to the sunset balcony running along the back of the second floor.
On the other side, two bedrooms share a Jack and Jill bathroom, each with balcony access, one east-facing and one west-facing.
The rooms are large, allowing for flexibility of use. “They could be used as a second office, a gym, a homeschool or a playroom. They could be whatever you wanted them to be,” says Daley.
Outside, a covered area just off the living room provides a quiet space to sit and watch boats pass along the Intracoastal Waterway or keep an eye on the children in the black-bottom saltwater pool, which Judith says was intentional. “We wanted the pool to match the river.”
The house is cited with a due west view that is prime for sunset viewing.
“You have a completely open, uninterrupted view across a wide stretch of the river. With 179 feet on the water, the lot is 71 percent wider than most others,” says Daley.
The Thyssens added a cabana – a seamless addition that serves as an extension of the house with a fireplace, wet bar and summer kitchen, overlooking the pool and river.
“In Florida, outside living is everything. This is really a second living room-dining room,” says Daley.
It’s the family’s favorite place to sit during the cooler weather. They enjoy gathering by the fire after dinner, shares Judith.
Seagrove West is a guard-gated, riverfront community located between Castaway Cove and The Moorings. Amenities include tennis, pickleball and a marina in the quiet, family-centric neighborhood, which is just minutes from Saint Edward’s School and beachside shopping and dining along Ocean Drive.