In our luxury and estate home construction work over the past couple years, we’ve seen a definite trend toward waterfront living, whether on the ocean, the St. Johns River, or the intracoastal. In fact, of our current projects, two-thirds are on the water. The reasons for living on the water may seem obvious, but they vary from client to client. We have clients with boats who completely embrace the on-the-water lifestyle, while others are happy to enjoy the view and cool breezes from their custom outdoor living spaces. (See our July 2, 2013 blog post, “The Great Outdoors.”) One way or the other, there’s always something to look at when you live on the water – people, wildlife, sailboats and powerboats, or ever-changing waves.
While there are still some vacant properties remaining, many new projects are teardowns of existing structures. Waterfront properties vary in size, so we strive to orient the home to maximize views of the water. One of the keys is prioritizing the rooms that will have a view. The importance of hiring an architect experienced in waterfront design is paramount, because they will be able to capitalize on the characteristics of the property, so that the structure fits the landscape and invites the unique elements and views into the residence.
Also, there are special construction techniques, material needs, and repair and maintenance concerns for waterfront property that must be considered. Building codes, permitting and environmental regulations for beachfront homes, which would bear the brunt of any hurricane event, run the gamut from a very robust, deep foundation system and concrete block construction to impact-rated window glass. Each exterior finish material has distinct maintenance requirements that must be factored in when designing a residence. We have found that our clients want a balance of finely-crafted exterior finishes with a medium to minimal level of maintenance. They understand that more yearly maintenance is required, but the enjoyment and experience of waterfront living is worth the extra investment.
All in all, we’re able to assist our clients in “navigating” the channels and narrow passes that come with constructing the waterfront residence of their dreams. I’m sure each would tell you that living on the water is well worth it. We consider waterfront home construction one of our specialties. So, whether you’re considering your first or fifth waterfront residence, we’d love the opportunity to discuss the process with you.