story by Liesel Schmidt | photos by Stephen Gray
Homes in Destin Pointe on Holiday Isle are naturally situated to take full advantage of the views the location commands almost as a lookout point for the Gulf of Mexico, East Pass, the lakes, and—of course—Destin Harbor. And in a prestigious community so fortunate to be nestled amidst such a captivating backdrop, the houses are nothing short of impressive in their appeal and design—even if their presence is sometimes intended to be more subtle and charming rather than over the top with opulence.
Such was the aesthetic for the recently completed three-story home built by Allen and Nancy French, as the couple drew on the inspiration of homes common to the coasts of New England in choosing their weathered-gray cedar shake siding and white stucco. But despite its respective nod to the Nor’East, the home’s views are all Destin—and that’s the very thing that captured the Frenches’ eyes and their hearts when they bought their little slice of paradise. “We’re in the perfect place, overlooking the dunes out to the Gulf,” says Allen, “and we love being able to watch the fishing fleets head out each morning.”
Each of the three levels capitalizes on their picture-perfect location, but the four-story tower with 360 degrees of unobstructed views is perhaps the best seat in the house—and one of the home’s most unique spaces and one of Nancy and Allen’s favorite features. Not that, with 4,000 square feet of living space, there is any shortage of things to love. Flowing throughout, reclaimed Amish barn wood flooring unites the spaces to bring in an element of rusticity and natural warmth into an otherwise coolly Coastal aesthetic. So, too, do the exposed woods of the pecky cypress beams and ceilings that draw the eye upward, offering balance to the home and adding charm that sharply contrasts some of the sleeker elements of marble—most notably those in the spacious kitchen, where Calacatta marble claims pride of place on the massive center island and lines the perimeter of the room atop custom cabinetry. For any home chef, the kitchen is a dream come true, fully equipped with a white porcelain La Cornue oven and cooktop, Subzero refrigerator, and various other exquisite features to complete the package, all accented further by a beautiful abalone backsplash that runs continuously from counter to ceiling.
Drawing one outside, the kitchen opens out onto 1,300 square feet of covered deck space outfitted with a summer kitchen perfect for grilling greatness on a Big Green Egg as well as a gas grill. Mere steps away, an infinity pool offers a cooling dip in its crystal clear water, while an indoor/outdoor bar with a sliding window provides easy access to refreshing drinks made to order. “We love outdoor living, so we designed the home to allow us to do that in as many ways as possible—and all of it gives us an even greater opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our location,” says Allen, who, in his role as the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization Trees on the Coast certainly appreciates the magnificence of nature. “Our mission has always been to enhance the beauty of Okaloosa and Walton counties, one tree at a time.”
With five bedrooms and five and a half baths, the French home is unquestionably spacious enough for the couple, who retired to the area from their native city of Alpharetta, Georgia, where Allen ran a successful practice in Periodontics and Nancy flew the friendly skies as a flight attendant for Delta. But it was family they had in mind when they planned its footprint, as the couple often host their children and grandchildren whenever the opportunity arises. As one might assume, the main floor master suite is fit for a master, with a spa-like bath suited for luxuriating after a long day. Once again, cool marble is the dominant feature in the space, with a tide of marble tile flowing across the floor and Calacatta marble counters atop the vanities, the visual appeal almost uninterrupted by a curb-less marble shower with rimless glass whose minimalist design is complimented by an imported porcelain English soaking tub.
From first approach to last glance, the French home is quiet in the impression it leaves, offering a counterpoint of elegance amidst all of the naturalness that evokes class without outshining the effect of what makes this such a breathtakingly beautiful place to call home.