photography by Adam Cohen
Jimmy Buffet may sing of “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,” but for one local family, getting a new perspective on life has had more to do with altering their longitude.
The Arnolds were perfectly happy living in San Jose. Their Old World European-style home was rustic, yet elegant, and fit their “townie” lifestyle to a “T.” It was familiar and comfortable, convenient to work and their daughter’s school, and ideal for entertaining (something they do a lot of). Suffice it to say, they had no plans to move.
As much as they loved their house, the Arnolds always had an affinity for the beach, so when a prime piece of real estate went up for sale in Ponte Vedra Beach, they snatched it up with the intention of making it a second home.
At the time, a house already sat on the property, but the cement block structure was clearly unsalvageable and had to be demolished, giving the the Arnolds the opportunity to start from scratch.
From the get-go, the couple had a very distinct vision of what they wanted their home-away-from-home to be. For starters, they wanted it to look and feel “completely different” from their existing home. Where their San Jose house is formal with dark-stained, hand-scraped wood and heavy furniture, they desired an ultra-casual beach house full of light and devoid of clutter. They wanted to limit the size to 6,000 square feet or less to create a home that was in keeping with its Ponte Vedra Beach environment. They also knew they wanted to work with architect and interior designer Michelle Balfoort of Balfoort Architecture in Stuart, Florida.