The key to successful gardening in Florida is to cooperate with nature
These Connecticut empty-nesters found the perfect spot to build their dream home in John's Island. "We love the people and the relaxed, low-key vibe; we really just fit in here," Nancy Ozizmir says.
Members of Grand Harbor Golf and Beach Club claim the people are the heart and soul of the club. Now those people are the club's owners, and it's a bright new day. Member Kathy Tonkel notes, "We are very optimistic and pleased with the direction the club is going."
“When I think about Vero and my home there, I’m always smiling. There’s something about the similarity between Cohasset and Vero Beach — they’re both small and inviting, and the beauty of the ocean and nature can be seen everywhere … The way I see it, I have the best of both worlds,” smiles Andrea Wade. The Surf Club condo Wade chose as her new home is now fully renovated, decorated and breathtaking.
“I’ve always loved it here. I worked for Croom Construction every summer and during school breaks since I was 13, but never really thought I’d return,” admits Charles Croom. But after 10 years working in Orlando, the move back to Vero Beach was the right thing for he and his wife Jennifer. “What was appealing to me when I decided to join the company my father started was to continue the legacy. I’m where I was meant to be.”
“We both knew we had something special here.” Suzan Phillips and Susan Schuyler Smith barely knew each other when they came to the conclusion together that they’d do anything they could to save McKee. For five years, the two Susans and the “Saturday Morning Gang” met each week to fight for the beauty that opened twenty years ago as McKee Botanical Garden.
In late 2017, Valerie Grassano was on the hunt for a new place to call home in Vero Beach. She found an ideal build opportunity on a vacant lot in The Anchor at The Moorings. Her new home exudes peace and harmony. Calming shades of blue and teal, inspired by the colors of the pool and surrounding water, gently play off white walls and wide-plank white oak floors, stained a deep mahogany. “It was meant to be,” says Grassano, reflecting on a moonlit night shortly after their move. “We were having dinner outside when we heard swishing sounds. The dolphins … were welcoming us home.”
“George runs this store better than I ever did and has better ideas,” says Gail Williams. Her son disputes this characterization, however. “My mother built a very successful business, and what I am doing is building on that success.” George knows the value of following a winning formula, and that is a primary focus today because, after all, his mother has been in the furniture business in Vero Beach for 40 years.
The British West Indies-style home designed by Moulton Layne and built by Croom Construction became home to Dave and Nancy Herbert in 2021 after they spent decades of moving around to follow a career in financial services. Their home in the Floralton Beach area of the barrier island, has a casual, open and airy plan with large windows that create a bright indoor living space.
As a second-generation farmer in Sebastian, Mark Dellerman was the first in his family to delve into pineapple farming. “I’m just a dirt farmer,” he says. “I like to provide a good-eating pineapple to the local community. I barely pay my expenses each year, but to be able to wake up and kick the dirt like I did all my life is a blessing … I couldn’t be any more blessed, being a dirt farmer.”
Stephen Bischoff came to Vero Beach with his family to retire. After about 20 years in the roofing business in Miami, and another 20+ years with his business in Vero starting in 1997, he thinks he might be ready to turn over the hammer to his sons. Is he ready to fully retire? He sighs, “I don’t know if I will ever totally retire, but now, thanks to my sons, I get to be a senior advisor, and that feels just right.”
The National Register of Champion Trees, a program that began in 1940, recognizes extraordinary trees for what they are: champions. Four trees have been recognized locally, two at McKee Botanical Garden and two inside the city limits in Vero Beach, and Nanette Haynes, the city’s ground maintenance manager, wants you to look for more.
Vero Beach interior designer Jennifer Elmore creates welcoming spaces by bringing in patterns and textures to showcase the best in an Indian River Shores home. Darker antiques are seamlessly integrated with contemporary furnishings, coastal elements and vibrant fabrics which gives Kathy Bantleon’s home a bright tropical feel.
Every brunch calls for some kind of savory egg-based dish; we’re partial to the frittata. Everything you love about a quiche but without the fuss of a crust, frittatas make for great brunch fare because they can be served hot or at room temperature. A simple whisk of eggs and dairy poured over sautéed vegetables, they’re extremely forgiving and flexible.
It took almost two years before the Bells finally found the perfect property in Central Beach. The problem was that it came complete with a classic 1950s cinder block house and carport. Both had to go.
Over the years, the Garden Club has been quietly beautifying Vero Beach, one project at a time.
Oprah once told Chris Madden to "leave your footprint on this planet.” The interior design star and Vero Beach resident is doing exactly that — one sandy toe at a time.
Whether they are planning their next pickleball game or kayak adventure, relaxing by the waterfront pool or enjoying happy hour on the balcony while watching dolphins cavort in their cove, Sally and Bruce Taylor are delighted they traded up to a “forever” second home in John’s Island that embraces their casual lifestyle and can grow with their grandchildren.
Home is where you design it. Meet the Dudzik family and explore the John's Island villa they made their own.
As she always planned, Rennie Gibb has returned home to Vero Beach and now welcomes others to the community she never stopped adoring.