After selling our "Island Cottage Oceanfront Inn" in Flagler Beach,
Our NEW adventure has been the complete restoration and reconstruction of a 3 acre estate surrounded
by salt-water marsh (shown above).
But, ... the home and the dock look lovely. Why the need for renovation ??
Well, ... I can assure you, what you see in this photo is NOT what the place looked like when we toured the property.
When we first viewed the property in January, 2019, the 1,400 square foot dock house structure and wrap around porch shown above was almost entirely caved in, badly rotted, and scarily unsafe - the aftermath of hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2017 and 2018.
Sadly, the previous owner was financially unable to repair this structure which continued to deteriorate by the day.
The ramp connecting the lower dock was completely submerged and encased in barnacles and the boat lift was inoperable.
The electrical system that once fed the dock house and the boat lift was irreparably corroded from the
salt water intrusion following the two hurricanes.
The PVC pipes which formerly carried fresh water and electric to the dock house were also split and shattered from the two storm events.
The once supportive sub-structure, consisted of enormous wooden pilings that had been driven into the mud back in the 1960's
(the date this structure was originally built). The pilings were all badly rotted, worm-riddled and encrusted in barnacles, ... and
the support beams were also collapsing from dry rot.
Every piece of this sub-structure needed to be replaced before the dock house and wrap around porch could be rebuilt.
Did I mention reconstruction of this entire structure would have to be built over rushing water 45 foot deep??
Additionally, the north half of the marsh walkover was underwater at high tide and needed to be raised and totally reconstructed.
The damage didn't end there!
The in-ground pool was beginning to crack and the plaster was sloughing off in many areas compromising the pool's integrity. The pool heater was no longer working and the vacuum system was broken. It was time to rebuild and replace everything !
The screened in Summer Kitchen was surely lovely at one time, but after being neglected for several years, the BBQ grille was severely rusted and inoperable, the cabinetry was rotten and spongy, the sink and faucet was stained, rusty and crusted in calcium deposits and the refrigerator was old and no longer working.
The mature landscaping on the entire property was overgrown with weeds, vines and underbrush which camouflaged
the lovely trees and shrubs beneath.
The east face of the home had 12, giant, highly poisonous, oleander trees which, for safety's sake, would have to be cut down and replaced.
The exterior stairway to the main, 2nd story entry was quite grand, although the concrete steps and balusters were cracked and
broken in several places, and every one of the solid brass exterior step lights were badly corroded, each needing to be replaced.
There were over 50 of these in total!
The second story of this awe inspiring edifice was lovely, but upon closer inspection, one soon realized all the carpeting was badly pet-stained, the master bedroom fireplace was broken, the kitchen stove top was cracked and split, the hood was rusted and failing, the built-in convection oven and dishwasher both had to be replaced and the Monogram Built-in Refrigerator failed shortly after we closed and had to be replaced.
Two of the four central air conditioner units were dying and the entire roof needed to be replaced.
However, the spectacular views from this floor captured our attention - and we could tell the home had good bones!
There was also a working elevator which accessed all 3 floors. This added to the appeal!
As we moved on to the 3rd story we were greatly disappointed since there were only 2 bedrooms and an inordinate amount of wasted space. Additionally, the entire floor was carpeted, and like that on the main floor, it too was very badly pet-stained.
The two bathrooms looked as if they had never been cleaned, evidenced by the rust stains and thick calcium deposits everywhere.
The tile was cracked in several places, the sink and bath faucets were corroded and thickened with calcium deposits,
the caulk around the windows and tub was black with mold and the porcelain tubs and marble vanity tops were
pitted and stained beyond repair.
This floor at one time had lovely wooden blinds, on the front facing windows, but sadly, every one of them was badly damaged and irreparable.
In spite of these issues, we were able to see the potential!
The ground floor of the home was totally uninhabitable - SERIOUSLY !!
At one time the owners had used this cavernous area as a party room which housed a home-made bar in the northeast corner.
The bar was crude and amateurish and no part of it was salvageable except for the bulldog mosaic featured on the front center.
The wooden doors to the outside were solid black and the two picture windows were outfitted in black wooden blinds that were
severely broken, unrepairable, and encased in thick, sticky spider webs.
The entire concrete floor was painted black, the interior doors were also black and even the ceiling was trimmed in a black grid pattern.
The walls were painted in a deep maroon gloss paint that was not intended for use on concrete block. Consequently, the walls were blistered top to bottom and from one end to the other. The walls further displayed thick, sticky spider webs in every corner.
The previous owner's four dogs lived on this ground floor level when they were not outside, rolling around in the marsh.
The dog hair was 5 inches thick in many areas , and the walls were plastered with a line of dog hair glued to saliva blended with slimy, marsh mud. The odor was strong enough to make your beard grow and the atmosphere was literally like entering a frightening,
dark, foul-smelling dungeon!
OK - it was really difficult to get past this !
However, this floor also had an over-sized, two car garage replete with a spacious work shop area. Mark loved that!
One last surprise!!
The property also housed a dilapidated, 3500 square foot pole barn with a
leaking roof, an unusable bathroom, and badly rotted, moldy and collapsing walls and doors.
While I pictured bulldozing this structure, Mark immediately pictured himself building his next boat in this space!
So, after our tour, Mark and I drove back to Island Cottage and began mentally assessing the possibilities, the extent of the
work that was necessary and the cost of all the materials needed for the various projects.
Our renovation estimate came to $450 K ... minimum ... not counting our labor.
We quickly realized one would have to be crazy to tackle a massive project such as this.
However, after returning to this Georgian home several times, we soon realized we were just that crazy!
The rest is history.
We closed on the property in late July, 2019.
Now, after one full year of working side-by-side, 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, we have made considerable progress and have successfully converted this tired, peninsula home to a masterpiece of perfection and functionality.
This 3 story, 3 bedroom marsh front peninsula home now boasts 9,800 square feet of sheer southern luxury featuring 5 bedrooms PLUS a nursery off the master bedroom and a spacious, 3rd floor Guest / In-Law Suite.
The carpeting on the main level has been replaced with a thick, plush carpet.
Luckily, the tile in the foyer, hallway, bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen and family was lovely and has therefore remained untouched.
The master bedroom, with its stunning, 180* marsh views, now has a working fireplace and the addition of the nursery mentioned above.
A closet has been added to the former study which has now been repurposed to a spacious bedroom.
The walk-thru pantry and freezer was a new addition, the stove top, major appliances and the two A/C units have all been replaced, closets were added, altered and resized throughout, quartz counter tops were added to the laundry room, and
most of this main floor has been repainted.
The swimming pool, which is also on the second story two steps down from the main floor, has been totally rebuilt and now has a working heater and vacuum system.
The screened in Summer Kitchen and Dining area is in the process of being rebuilt with new kitchen cabinetry to include a state-of-the-art infrared BBQ grille, a new double sink and faucet, and a full-sized ice-maker refrigerator, and two of the screen doors
were recently replaced, ... one to the pool deck and one to the exterior stairway.
On the 3rd floor, all the carpeting has been removed and replaced with lovely tile that perfectly matches the tile in the main living area.
Some of the wasted space has been repurposed and has now become bedrooms 3 and 4.
These two rooms share a completely renovated, full bath.
We have also repurposed and redesigned the east bedroom to a newly constructed Guest / In-Law suite.
Formerly a large open room with limited windows, this area has been re-imagined to include a full kitchen with a washer/ dryer and two lovely windows, a totally renovated spacious bath with walk-in shower, and an open plan living room, dining area, and bedroom, all with spectacular east-facing views of the marsh.
Our plan is to add an exterior door and construct a sun deck off this suite complete with a private stairway down to the
pool level and further on to the ground level.
Our crowning achievement has been the conversion of the ground floor dungeon to a spectacular space including
a golf cart garage, a fully renovated, full bathroom, a dedicated media room, a billiards room, and a sprawling, grand ballroom
with a working fireplace, a 10' x 10' stage and a full bar, larger and more beautiful than the one at Island Cottage!
We replaced the solid black exterior double doors with cheerful French doors overlooking the lush, green marsh and
we even added a 12' x 18' concrete patio for outside dining.
To accomplish this massive alteration we literally tore down walls, added a total of two sets of French doors,
replaced the broken down garage doors with 3 new doors, changed out the dilapidated side entry personnel door, added closets and installed a labyrinth of light fixtures.
We hired a concrete company to raise part of the floor, and to grind down the black epoxied floors.
This 3 week process created enough concrete dust to fill 3 Olympic sized swimming pools!!
OK - a slight exaggeration, but you get the drift!
Finally we painted everything white with sea-foam green accents, added wall-to-wall in the Billiards and Media rooms and
had the entire grand ballroom tiled. The transformation is astonishing!
The dock house is now in the 12th month of reconstruction with work so monumental, it is almost too difficult to explain.
We hired a dock builder with a crane barge to set a total of twenty, 65 foot steel pilings into the mud to support the structure.
These beams extended two foot above the existing deck.
Massive steel I-beams were then welded to the steel pilings in a grid pattern, also two feet above the existing deck thus
raising the new sub-structure. This entire process took over 4 months to accomplish.
With the substructure now in place, Mark then began laying the stringers to support the decking.
This balancing act was extremely dangerous as he had to walk along the narrow I-beams carrying heavy lengths of lumber while
experiencing the dizzying effect of the rushing river 10 feet beneath him.
One day he saw the fins and the outline of a mid-sized shark swim under him.
That evening we named the shark "Cuddles" and pictured him licking his lips in hopes his next meal would fall into
his mouth from the structure above. Thankfully that has not happened, ..., ... yet!!!
There is still an enormous amount of work to be accomplished before this project is completed.
In its finished state, the structure should accommodate a vessel up to 65' in length in addition to several smaller boats. The 1200 square foot dock house structure itself will ultimately be fully enclosed with a additional screened in area. easily support a large party
The pole barn will be the final project and will ultimately boast room enough to accommodate
several flat bed trailers, ride-on mowers, golf carts plus an extremely spacious work shop and a place for every tool and toy imaginable!
Once completed, this enormous edifice with all its grandeur is sure to be the envy of the gated community that surrounds it.
ESTIMATED price: $1.6m with a 3.5% COMMISSION to SELLING REALTOR
"Before" and "After" photos will be added as the various phases are completed.
Keep this site in your "Favorites" for updates on this exciting project!