Home at First Sight
By Liesel Schmidt
Despite the fact that it’s located mere minutes away from the beach, there’s nothing even slightly “beachy” about the home located at Captains Circle in Destin. Boasting more than 4500 square feet under-roof, the house is more akin to a compound, with two levels of living spaces featuring everything from a climate controlled storage area to a media wing. And that’s just the house. Situated on nearly an acre of land nestled between the thick forestry of a nature preserve and the calm waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay, the property exudes affluence and luxury, featuring outdoor entertaining areas equipped with a full summer kitchen and private boat slips.
The home itself is a grand specimen to behold, its beige stucco exterior offering architectural elements that would typically be found in the Mediterranean. From the tiled roof to the portico covered curved driveway and the meticulously manicured lawn, every last inch is designed to amaze and astound…and rather than seem underwhelming by comparison, what lies beyond the front door more than lives up to anticipation.
Although it was only built in 2001, the six-bedroom, four and a half bath home looks as though it has claimed its place along the Bay for centuries, standing strong against the ever-blowing winds of change all around it. Regardless of its classical, old-world inspired design, however, the house is hardly behind the times, artfully infused with touches of modernity and technology features that bring it well into the digital age.
A certain air of formality seems never to wane here, ever at the ready to receive invited guests to a grand meal or a lavish celebration. With its high, coffered ceiling; beautiful fireplace; and expanse of windows offering views of the terrace and bayou, the formal living room offers the perfect gathering space, seamlessly flowing into a formal dining room linked to the kitchen by way of a butler’s pantry and a wet bar. As one would expect, the kitchen is certainly one to impress. Its perimeter outlines traced by limestone and stainless steel counters set atop sleekly finished cabinets play to every chef’s dream with top-of the line stainless steel appliances that could easily inspire even the most reticent cook to test the limits of their culinary skills.
Limestone flooring runs throughout the home, leading from one space to the next in a tide seemingly set on a course through the large family room towards the outdoors, finding its limits only at the sensory-activated glass doors that slide aside with merely a whisper. Much like the indoor spaces of the home, the outdoor area is designed to the last detail, finished with a fully equipped outdoor kitchen worthy of a master chef. Steps away, the terrace and patio provide ample space for large gatherings, and the pool can be heated or cooled at the touch of a button that also controls a light and water feature that is nothing if not show-stopping.
Back inside, the first-floor master suite occupies its own private wing, claiming three massive walk-in closets and a bathroom appointed with a jetted tub, dual vanity area, and a large walk-in shower.
Understandably enough, it took only the carefully crafted description of an online listing for the house to literally sell its owner, Young Kim, on it when he was on the hunt for a property that would offer a bit of peace and escape from his daily life in Jackson, Tennessee. Having come to the US from Seoul, Korea, in 1981 to pursue his education and explore his entrepreneurial side, Kim has since been making his mark as a successful businessman, first by establishing a family entertainment center in Jackson and then expanding his reach as a commercial real estate property developer.
A look at Kim’s portfolio offers indisputable proof that business has been good, thriving well enough that he could easily run it remotely—and so he chose to do just that, setting out in search of a secondary home that could satisfy the four must-haves on his wish list: privacy, security, scenery, and waterfront access. And the home he now claims in Destin checked every single box and then some, suiting his tastes “to a T,” as he puts it, in every last detail, from the strength of its concrete construction and the high ceilings right down to the separate pet entrances that seemed perfectly designed for his 9-year-old bichon frise, Beamer.
It could easily have been too good to be true, so Kim enlisted the help of a local close friend who would serve as his eyes and report her findings back to him while he was tied up in Jackson. The listing did nothing to exaggerate the grandeur of the home, nor did it over-report the superiority of its features. And so, after getting the seal of approval from his advisory panel, Kim purchased the home in fall of 2016, ready to claim his piece of paradise along the Emerald Coast.
“I really love it here—it’s become a place that really calms me and gives me a sense of peace,” Kim says of the home that, though initially intended as a vacation property secondary to his home in Jackson, might soon become his primary residence as he expands into acquiring rental properties in the Destin area. “I’m not going to sell my home in Tennessee, but I don’t have to rush back there,” he says. “I can stay right here as long as I want, and I’d love to get more involved in this community as it becomes more like home.” And with his boat docked in its slip and Beamer happily nearby, Kim seems in no hurry to leave the home that has become his new “comfort zone.”