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Destin Quarters: A Villa by the Bay

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By Liesel Schmidt

To focus in on a single thing in the 14,000 plus square feet claimed by the Asher home just off the bay in Destin would be a massive undertaking—literally, as this considerable structure certainly has many, many details worthy of note. From the breathtaking exterior whose white stucco facade is evocative of palatial villas situated on the coastside cliffs of Spain to the farthest reaches of the property abutting the docks, each aspect of this spectacular structure makes a statement.

While its aesthetics might give one the expectation for that statement to come with the slight whisper of a Spanish accent, the Ashers actually hale from Kentucky—but their love of Spain and their fondness for visiting its picturesque vistas is evident throughout the three-story home they built from the ground up in 2013. Imbuing each element with a balance of traditional touches with just enough modernity to keep it from looking antiquated, the spacious and sweeping spaces of the Asher home speak to their style and showcase their love of simple elegance.

With 23 rooms in total, there is no shortage of space to entertain guests and host visitors for longer-term stays. And one could easily argue that that’s precisely the concept behind the home where Betty and Tony Asher return after their busy days running the executive search firm they founded and co-own, assisting colleges and universities all over the map in finding top-level executives to keep their institutions of higher learning at the top of their game. It’s a taxing job to be sure, and one that keeps the couple very much on the move.

With so much travel on their itineraries and keeping their schedules tightly packed, coming home to the calm beauty of the bay is therapeutic—and that beauty is something they love to share with their family and friends. Hosting dinner parties and opening up their guest rooms to their loved ones is something the Ashers treasure—and with seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, and an entirely separate apartment space above the garage, doing just that is a simple matter. “We love to entertain, and it seems that—of the many places we’ve lived—living here in Florida has been the place that has really been the one that attracts family to come and stay with us,” Betty laughs.

Not that that would come as a surprise to anyone walking through this amazing home, as one of the very features that makes it so amazing are the views of the bay that it commands from its many massive windows. The color palette lends well to keeping things feeling open and airy, with light, neutral colors on the walls and warmly toned hardwood floors running throughout. And tying right back in to the Asher’s love of Spain is the tile backsplash behind the 6-burner stainless steel gas stove where Betty lets her chef-skills shine. “I find cooking therapeutic, so the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house, and whenever I look at that backsplash, it reminds me of wonderful memories I have of traveling to Spain,” Betty explains of the feature tiles that depict a view of the Mediterranean coastline with cypress trees. “I’m not one who easily gets attached to things, but that’s a very special touch in our home,” she goes on.

Complimenting the space are the creamy custom cabinets that line the perimeter of that large kitchen, with light granite countertops whose veining perfectly blends the coloring of the floor with greys and darker browns to marry the hues of the home. Centering the space is the kitchen island, its deep, chocolate color providing a beautiful contrast to the lighter tones that prevail in the room and offering just one more piece of evidentiary proof of the Asher’s appreciation for design.

Naturally, that appreciation continues in the master suite, the sanctuary space for this business-minded couple to escape the stresses of their day and let their breathtaking views soothe their souls. Adding to their luxury is a sitting room overlooking their glittering pool, walk-in showers, and a steam-room to create a spa-like feel where tension can all melt away.

If melting it away doesn’t quite do the trick, looking out at the serenity of the water certainly will, and the Ashers certainly make the most of their location with lush landscaping, pool, and a dock where they keep their boat ready and waiting to be taken out for a day out on the water. “We built our home here specifically because we love looking out at that—being close to the water and watching sunrises and sunsets is a wonderful gift.”

It’s a gift they come home to after jet setting keeps their eyes focused on work—a visual reminder that taking a moment to look up and refocus is all you need to recharge and find your landing place.

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