Aerial view of the fabulous beach retreat of Gary C. Evans and Ashley Halsey prior to the extensive landscaping devastated by Irma.

August and September 2017 was unprecedented for hurricanes in the coastal areas of the U.S. and beyond. Harvey and Irma were the houseguests from hell.  These storms delivered a one-two punch we won’t soon forget.  Hurricane Harvey pummeled and parked over Houston, dumping torrential rains — leaving the core of Texas’ largest urban area a broken shell. The Texas Gulf Coast took a beating, too.

However, Irma was a bit more fickle.  She left a swath of destruction across Florida and beyond, but many of the damaged properties were vacation homes — “Second Shelters” we like to call them.  Here’s a look at how one Dallas couple weathered the storm, literally.  Their retreat, their happy place and sanctuary is located in Marathon, Florida, the middle key of the Florida Keys.  How they came through it, and what the future holds for the people and place is nothing short of inspirational.

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oak hill plantation | candysdirt.com

Situated near Tallahassee, Oak Hill Plantation — the home of T. K. Wetherell and his wife, Virginia — just hit the market. In case you are not familiar, T.K. was president of Florida State University from 2003 to 2010 and served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1980 to 1992. Virginia served as secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from 1991 to 1998 and previously served as a state legislator. The Wetherells are like royalty in Florida, and their Red Hills country home makes for a palace with a Southern drawl. The 1,000-plus acre spread borders on media mogul Ted Turner’s storied Avalon plantation — a 32,000 acre tract Architectural Digest calls “a naturalist’s paradise.” 

The Red Hills region is known for scenic natural beauty, a cause the Wetherells have taken to heart and worked to preserve. Here’s a look at the plantation home of the couple broker Jon Kohler calls “Florida’s First Couple of Conservation.” (more…)

key westJust saying Key West, Florida, can conjure up relaxation and the easy-going life — so when we found this historical home in Old Town we knew that our readers would fall in love just like we did.

This home, which was built in the late 1800s, sits on a corner lot in Old Town — and if you’ve never been to the Old Town part of Key West, let’s just say it’s where all the action is. In fact, this home is close to the historic seaport and Duval Street. (more…)

Florida

By Amy Dobson
Special Contributor

There’s an estate in Florida that is as impressive for its physical features as it is for the dignitaries that have visited there — that includes sitting presidents, foreign royalty, and high-profile international guests.

We’re not naming any names, but trust us there are good reasons why this house was long ago dubbed the White House of the South.

But when it comes to the property itself, this place is even more impressive than the regular ol’ White House. (more…)

Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale starting at $900k, Photo Credit Katie Enterline, HOM Colorado LLC

Breaking ground November of 2017 with expected completion by the end of 2019, Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale will bring elevated luxury and legendary Four Seasons service to Fort Lauderdale Beach like you’ve never seen before.

Katie Enterline of HOM Colorado LLC, a buyer’s agent in Florida who specializes in oceanfront development, gave us the scoop. “While I do residential resales in Denver, my specialty is in Florida, finding incredible projects that fit my clients’ individual needs from Palm Beach to Miami,” says Enterline.

Now let’s get down to business, and take a peek inside the exciting project experts say will put Florida at the forefront of real estate development.

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140 N Charles Street Alys Beach, Fla., is currently listed by Susan Baldwin of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, and Blake Morar of Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty for $5.875 million

With its private saltwater pool and courtyard, decadent waterfall, and breezy rooftop spa, the luxurious Florida compound known simply as Aspri Villa has us plotting an Instagram-worthy escape. Designed by renowned Florida architect Tom Christ, the 6,880-square-foot retreat is adorned with breathtaking architecture reminiscent of Bermuda – think white stucco and tiled roofs – and offers a premier address in Alys Beach, one of Florida’s most prestigious destinations.

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Alys Beach

All photos courtesy of Alys Beach

A beautiful beach off the Gulf Coast in Northwest Florida, a luxury home and vacation rental community with well-planned urban design, gorgeous architecture and knockout amenities — this venue is simply stunning.  

Alys Beach, off Highway 3oA in South Walton County is unique among planned residential developments in its striking architectural style, inspired by traditional homes of Bermuda and Antigua, it is reminiscent of Spanish-Baroque style but modern, with white stone walls, antique cypress wood,  and lush landscaping.  

Designed by the award-winning firm behind Seaside, Alys Beach sits on a bluff which affords glorious views of the Gulf. The 158-acre town is bounded by 1500 feet of white sand beachfront, and bordered on the north by a verdant 20 acre nature preserve with walking and biking trails through the wetlands.  

Alys Beach

It’s property that’s unique and well worth viewing … (more…)

5656 SOuth Shore Blvd Wellington Florida

With the news that Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs purchased an estate in Wellington, Florida for $15.3 million in cash across the street from Bill Gates’ equestrian estate, the town of Wellington, Fla., made national headlines. Wellington, a town of approximately 60,000 around 15 miles east of tony West Palm Beach has become a nexus of wealth and power due to one factor: horses and the people who ride them for show. Jobs and Gates, it just so happens, each sired a daughter with a love of and talent for show riding.

The news of the Jobs’ purchase came fast on the heels of June reports that Bill Gates had purchased what nearly amounted to a whole street in Wellington, simply to provide privacy. Gossip Extra detailed how Gates spent approximately $37 million in Wellington.

But why is this place so attractive to the moneyed elite?

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