Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Sweet Beachy House!

 There is something so calming about pulling into the driveway, putting the key in the lock, and opening the door to our sweet little Florida house. It makes us smile and sigh, ahhhh-----little house here we are! We are ready to enjoy the special little retreat you have become for our family!

 For about "6" years  when the girls were much younger we traveled to Florida for Spring Break. We stayed at the same hotel every year. It was located on the beach and it became our home away from home.

Ron and I discussed the financial aspects of what we were spending to rent a hotel suite versus what it would cost to purchase a home. We decided to take the plunge and buy a small home. That was music to our girls ears! The next February, 2004, Ron and I flew to Florida for a long weekend. We were prepared to find a property, and purchase it that weekend.

We had been in touch with a realtor and expressed our desire to see as many properties as she could fit into two days for us. We narrowed our search to two cities ahead of time that fit our criteria prior to our arrival. We wanted to get a good feel for what was available in our price range in both places. Important requirements were proximity to the beach, lawn and landscape maintenance care included in the quarterly fees, a community that had a pool, tennis courts and clubhouse. Golf courses are everywhere in Florida so that wasn't even an obstacle as far as location.

We left that trip with signed contracts and closed within 3 weeks! We bought a new home that had been built for a lawyer's assistant that was getting a divorce......but they reconciled so she never moved in. The house was put on the market.......YAY for us, and we snatched it up!

 The fun part came after the closing. We rented a large truck, and with the guidance of our realtor bought furniture from reputable companies directly from the show rooms and warehouses. We quickly learned the directions to our favorite Wal-Mart for all of the household items like dishes, pots and pans, etc. All in one weekend! Those were the days and we were a lot younger!

 Welcome to our Sweet Florida House
The comfort creature that I am, I had to bring something to "Welcome" our new Florida friends to 
our home. Why not my special little piece of Carruth from Ohio. I have always said that those "3" little birds remind me of our "3" daughters! :)

I decorated our house in colors that reminded me of the beach. My Mom helped me paint just about every room in the house, while my Dad was content to watch Emeril on TV and the ducks in the lake. Memories.......good memories!
 The house is full of soft pastels that resemble  the colors of sea glass. When making selections I didn't want any furnishings that were fussy. Sand, bathing suits and towels are allowed.....

In 2005 we had all of the landscaping removed and re-populated with new plants. We had purchased a pie shaped lot so when we landscaped we made a complete courtyard  enclosure on both sides of the house with Viburnum hedges. The hedges spanned the entire lot and  grew to a height of 6 ft. We added Jasmine trees along the walk way and on the arbor, which exude a beautiful fragrance during the summer months and blossom with tiny white starlike flowers. The Ixora shrubs give us a burst of bright orange with an evergreen type leaf in the beds for color year round.
 Ron's Bird of Paradise Plants

 We extended our lanai another 10 ft x 17ft toward the lake. Which allows for some great parties. What you can't see in this photo is the L-shaped patio lounge with overstuffed cushions from Pottery Barn. ( to the left of this photo) It has become a great place for my girlfriends to join me on those beautifully balmy evenings that Florida is known for..........we may or may not have wine in hand as we watch the sunsets! OR for the "perfect" occasion when Ron and I are able to share it together!  MEMORIES!

Our Courtyard

 "The Perfect Storm"
This year our shrubs were hit with the "perfect storm" of insects! We started with white flies, and  aphids, which killed a large section of the shrubs and weakened others. We were just told a new bug called Chilli Thrips has now hit us. They are small insects that many times go undetected. They are native to southern Asia and were first detected in Florida and Houston, TX . (Of course the section hit the hardest was directly in front of our entrance door!)
Unfortunately, we have to replace about "10" diseased shrubs. As much as we felt "sick" about losing such a lovely wall of privacy, we are thankful that this hurricane season was a quiet one........there is always Miracle Grow for the hedges!

Remember Florida friends..........check your landscaping. If your leaves are a bit curly, get your landscaper on site right away to treat them. This year appears to be an insect "perfect storm" that has not occurred to this degree in quite some time.

I hope you all enjoyed visiting our little piece of paradise.

See you on Foodie Friday!