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Home Is Where the Heart Is


by Lisa Burwell

We’re in a nesting state of mind for the fall! It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to cooking, entertaining, redecorating, touring museums and show houses, and meandering through gardens.

One of the best ways to understand a community and get a sense of its style is to sneak a peek at how people live in their homes. Long known as a community of secondary residences, more and more people are now calling Northwest Florida home year-round. National exposure was garnered recently when ABC’s Good Morning America listed Destin, Florida, as one of the ten most beautiful places in the country and GMA contributor Emeril Lagasse touted its virtues—proof that others feel the same way we do about our area. This, our first home and garden issue, is a nice change of pace for us as we explore magnificent homes and gardens in the area.

We all know that our piece of paradise from COLA 2 COLA (Apalachicola to Pensacola) has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, but what many may not know is how spectacular the homes are. This area just might be one of the country’s meccas for outstanding design; if you’re an architect, an interior designer, or an artist here, you are living in the place of your dreams. For more than a quarter century, New Urbanism communities like Seaside, WaterColor, WaterSound, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach have been putting our area on the national stage. Here the well-heeled have found a unique setting for their secondary homes and given them all the attention to detail normally lavished on primary residences. The region continues to be discovered for so many different reasons that it is on the verge of becoming a household name.

Our cover feature celebrates a home located in The Retreat, a secluded and private community on Scenic Highway 30A in Blue Mountain Beach, Florida. The spectacular home with views of the Gulf of Mexico was the venue for this year’s annual Cultural Arts Association Designer Showhouse for the Arts and it did not disappoint. Interior designers and artists from across the Southeast each designed a room, showing off their talents and enhancing the beauty of the home. They did this with a common goal—to raise money to support the arts in Walton County under the auspices of the Cultural Arts Association. To say this is a dream home may actually be an understatement! Check out the article “A Show House Showstopper” by VIE’s staff writer Ainsley Rogers.

In addition to showcasing homes in the area, we feature one of our favorite places, Bastide Home and Garden, also located on Hwy. 30A. “Quintessential Quaintness” will give you a sense of how this charming shop is equal parts spa, meditative, and retail therapies.

We hope you enjoy this issue and will be inspired with ideas for your home!

To Life!

—Lisa Burwell

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