Water has the power to transform, to heal and to calm. Even the early Romans understood the importance of water, as baths were a part of their daily social ritual. Today, we seek out the soothing effects of water through our travels and through our homes. To live by the water is the ultimate pleasure enjoyed by a privileged few.
Bay Point, a historic gated community in Miami’s Upper Eastside, offers just this sort of promise. Situated along Biscayne Bay, Bay Point has lured the city’s most prominent denizens to its shores with charms such as its own police and 24/7 security. Relaxed fluidity is in abundance here, with the past and present harmonizing in surprising synchronicity. Mediterranean revival and art deco masterpieces, dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, blend with newly constructed residences realized by some of the city’s most ambitious visionaries today. One of these new homes — a fully furnished turnkey estate with 111 feet of frontage on Sabal Lake, represented by Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber of The Jills®, the world’s No. 1 real estate team with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Florida — embodies the Old World-meets-New World rhythm of Bay Point.
Italian restaurateur Nicola Schon, known for the impeccably designed Quattro on Lincoln Road, drew inspiration from the Colonial house that originally existed on the half-acre lakefront site. Schon decided to reimagine his one-story as an homage to his Italian roots.
“I respected the architecture of the previous house,” says Schon. “I decided to bring Italy to the project.”
He means it literally. He turned to Luigi Vitalini for architecture, Fabrizio Cocchi for interior design and Antoniodeluca™ Farms Inc. for landscaping and botanical garden — all based in Italy. Even the craftsman and manufacturers came from his homeland.
“The marble, the millwork, the flooring, all of the appliances in the kitchens and bathrooms and even the furnishings are from Italy,” he says. “I wanted to have the highest-quality materials in this house. I spared no expense, and I cut no corners.”
He spent nearly five years — and many trips flying between the continents — perfecting his vision for the residence. It shows.
“Nicola has beautiful taste and a high design sensibility,” notes Jill Hertzberg. “At every point of the house, it feels very fresh and very today.”
Agrees Jill Eber: “When you walk inside this house, you say ‘wow.’ It will appeal to someone with very fine tastes.”
For all its classical sophistication, the 7,002-square-foot house has a breezy, lived-in quality befitting its waterside location. The formality of a European design vocabulary is tempered by plantation-inspired touches such as spacious lanais and steep-pitched roofs that feel deeply rooted in Florida’s tropical milieu.
“I didn’t want to build something modern,” says Schon. “The house is not intended to be a fashion moment. It’s meant to have a sense of timelessness.”
Inside, you can see Schon’s vision unfold in six bedrooms and seven-and-one-half bathrooms. The living room is an entertainer’s haven, with a fireplace and French doors opening to the lanai. The kitchen, graced with an Officine Gullo stove from Florence and a beautiful sink made out of slab marble, marries elegance and function with ease. Comforts abound, too, such as a spa with a sauna and steam room and gym, a studio/office for quieter moments and staff quarters, located in a completely separate wing of the house accessible via a separate entrance.
Schon paid as close attention to the outdoor spaces as the indoor spaces. The lanai itself serves as an exterior dining space at one end and a seating niche sheltered from the sun and breeze at the other end. Views from the lanai extend out past the lawn and heated pool to the lake and private concrete dock. An outdoor kitchen with grill, refrigerator, icemaker and wood-burning pizza oven offers the future homeowner another opportunity to enjoy the lakeside setting with friends or family. A lush landscaped botanical garden, completely dug from scratch and encompassing 170 different types of plants and trees, offers a connection to nature that Schon saw as essential.
“In Europe, we love to spend time outdoors,” says Schon. “Everything was conceived based on the orientation of the sun, on giving shade during certain moments of the day. We planted trees and plants in certain locations that change with the seasons — so there will always be something blooming during the year. You can see the house changing in color, with nature.”
Schon also thoughtfully considered the unseen aspects of the home. He made sure to incorporate state-of-the-art smart home technological integration, a cutting-edge security alarm and cameras, and impact windows. The property is also self-sustainable off the grid, featuring a generator that runs the entire house and pool. In addition, the home has a well to provide drinkable water in case of an emergency.
It’s difficult to imagine the “what ifs” in a home so carefully conceived to be in harmony with nature. This is a home where troubles drift away with the wind, where the challenges of life float away on the lake. To live here, with the water as your backyard, is an audacious act. Dare to relax. Dare to live a life of beauty.
By Dresden Scott
This article originally appeared in the winter 2017 issue of Homes & Estates.
4445 Lake Road
Miami, FL 33137
Represented by: The Jills
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Florida