One Good Turn in Vero Isles

Bob and Nikki Moses build a contemporary riverfront residence with a twist---literally

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The home is set back on its lot and employs projecting and receding spaces to break down its scale; both elements help it blend in to its location. Photo by Aric Attas
The home is set back on its lot and employs projecting and receding spaces to break down its scale; both elements help it blend in to its location.

The Moseses have been in Vero forever,” says Bob Moses, grinning as he recalls how his parents discovered our seaside village in the early 1970s and built a house in Vero Isles. Bob couldn’t wait to visit, bringing a few college buddies with him, playing endless rounds of golf and creating long-lasting memories.

Today, some of those same golfing buddies still visit, staying with Bob and his wife, Nikki, in their new two-story, four-bedroom home overlooking the Indian River Lagoon. Contemporary in design, with the open living area and pool portion of the house rotated to take full advantage of sweeping water views, it’s a slice of heaven.

That heaven got its start a few years ago when Bob, an automobile dealer in Charleston, West Virginia, was checking out Vero Beach real estate listings on the internet, hoping to find an older house he and Nikki could eventually rebuild. One day, a 1960s-era home on a quiet Vero Isles street popped up on the screen. It had potential written all over it.

Thermador appliances, Pompeii quartz countertops, and performance fabrics that aren’t fazed by six grandchildren eating black raspberry jam create a functional kitchen in a contemporary style.
Thermador appliances, Pompeii quartz countertops, and performance fabrics that aren’t fazed by six grandchildren eating black raspberry jam create a functional kitchen in a contemporary style.

“I could tell from the Google map that the house had a really good view, so we bought it sight unseen. Our plan was to live in it for a few years, eventually expanding to have more room for grandchildren,” Bob explains.

Unfortunately, the house was below flood elevation requirements, so expanding was not an option. On to plan B: clearing the land and building new. 

“We’ve never built a house before, but we’ve always wanted to, and we wanted it to be contemporary,” says Bob. “Nikki and I were a little concerned at first, as there aren’t many contemporary homes in Vero Beach, so we knew we had to find the right architect.” 

Even before seeing the property in person, the Moseses knew the view would be spectacular. Photo by Aric Attas
Even before seeing the property in person, the Moseses knew the view would be spectacular.

They didn’t have far to look. Ed Weber had designed a contemporary home for the Moseses’ nephew, and he had an office in Charleston as well as one in Sarasota. “We were both impressed with Ed’s work, plus the way he listens to clients and involves them in the design process,” says Bob, who, while reading The Wall Street Journal one morning, came up with an idea. 

“I saw this house that was literally two glass tubes sitting on top of each other and the bottom one was rotated. I thought, ‘Hey, maybe we could do something like that,’ so I told Ed. A week later he called and said, ‘I think I have something.’ He had rotated the bottom half of the house so that when you walk in the front door the view is straight out to the river. It’s almost like the house is floating on the water.”

It was the perfect solution. The Moseses had an odd-shaped lot near the end of a cul-de-sac, and the front yard setback made designing a house with a straight two-story front face a challenge. Weber used that challenge as a benefit to the streetscape by breaking the scale of the house down with one- and two-story projecting and receding building volumes, and by setting the house as far back from the street as possible so you don’t know it is there until you come to it.  

Architect Ed Weber rotated the living area of the house on its cul-de-sac lot to take advantage of the river view. Photo by Aric Attas
Architect Ed Weber rotated the living area of the house on its cul-de-sac lot to take advantage of the river view. Architect Ed Weber rotated the living area of the house on its cul-de-sac lot to take advantage of the river view.

“Ed was so detailed and helped us so much,” Bob says. “He would drive over from Sarasota and go with us to pick out stone and wood, he’d go to the plumbing store. Whatever it took, he was there. Ed also brought Barth Construction on board; the project manager, Mike O’Neal, was great. We started construction in June 2018 and finished in October 2019. Everything came together so well. There’s not a single thing we would change.” 

Nikki agrees and credits interior designer Pat Bibbee in the five-star reviews. “Pat has helped us for decades, ever since we were newlyweds. One of the things I like about her is she’s versatile; she works with the architecture. Our home in Charleston is very traditional, so different from what we have here.”

As someone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen, Nikki was particular about the appliances she chose. “We opted for all Thermador appliances because of the design and technology. The induction cooktop is wonderful. I can customize the surface every time I cook, and cleaning it is a breeze. We also have two dishwashers. Even though it’s not a new idea, it’s new to me. We love having our family and friends here, and a second dishwasher keeps cleanup moving quickly.”

The outdoor bar adds another comfortable space where Bob and Nikki Moses can spend time with family and friends. Photo by Aric Attas
The outdoor bar adds another comfortable space where Bob and Nikki Moses can spend time with family and friends.

With family in mind, Bibbee chose performance fabrics that hold up to sticky fingers and spilled milk. “The stools around our island are covered in a material that looks exactly like white leather, but it’s a man-made marvel,” Nikki enthuses. “With six grandchildren under the age of 6, it’s perfect. Black raspberry jam is our favorite, and it wipes right off. All of our furniture is bionic like that.”

An avid kayaker, Nikki made sure Weber included what she calls the “boathouse,” a designated room on the main level of the house where she and Bob store their kayak gear. With direct access to the river via a floating dock, it’s away from the outdoor entertainment area and infinity pool, a popular splash spot and one of Bob’s favorite places to be.

“I keep the water at 86 degrees, and I’m in it at least once or twice a day. When the grandkids are here they live in it.”

Another feature the younger set finds appealing is the elevator. “I went back and forth about putting one in,” Bob admits. “Then, when I thought about the fact we’re all getting older, I looked at it almost as an insurance policy.”

There are many things Nikki and Bob Moses enjoy about the house where they and family members spend the better part of the year, but it’s the small surprises that delight. 

“One morning, Bob called us to hurry down to the dock,” says Nikki. “There was a river otter casually lying there cracking open a shellfish and enjoying his breakfast.

Bob Moses wouldn’t change a single aspect of the 4,800-square-foot coastal contemporary home. Photo by Aric Attas
Bob Moses wouldn’t change a single aspect of the 4,800-square-foot coastal contemporary home.

“Another day we watched a mother dolphin teaching her baby how to catch a fish. The baby, too small to swim on his own full-time, was doing a fish version of drafting on his mother’s body. She would catch a fish and toss it up into the air, and the baby would let go of her and swim towards the fish and try to catch it,” Nikki smiles. 

“We built this home to share with family and friends, and that’s what we’re doing,” Bob adds. “For Easter we had seven adults and six grandchildren here and it was wonderful. Vero is an amazing place and we’re all so happy my parents discovered it years ago.” `

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