St. Johns Newest Community
The Markland Manor House adds to the rich heritage of the area. The classic, architecture combined with impeccable interior detailing and extensive landscaping, made a memorable impression on all who attended. Paul Basham, who led the design effort noted, “Attention to detail was critical in the design of the Manor House–given our goal to authentically reflect the rich tradition of 19th-century Greek-Revival manor homes.”
The Markland Manor house is the amenity centerpiece of the community and its architecture is inspired by the historic grand homes of nearby St. Augustine. The tree-lined walkway leading from the community gatehouse to the Manor House provides a dramatic and formal entrance that complements and frames the building. The first floor of the Manor House is warm and expansive with a gathering room, card room, several large televisions, and a coffee bar for residents to enjoy daily. The second floor is dedicated to residents’ health and wellness with an impressive array of Life Fitness strength and aerobic equipment, free weights and a yoga/spin studio equipped with an innovative “on-demand” fitness class system. The elevated location of the fitness room provides inspiring views of the pool grounds and expansive central lakes.
The exclusive, resort pool adjacent to the Manor House has a zero-entry area, lap lanes and fountain jets, and is framed by private cabanas, shaded pergolas and lounge areas on all sides. Beyond the pool, and beside the 30-acre lake network, is a fire pit and event lawn where residents and friends can gather to enjoy community concerts and share stories.
Outside of the Manor House and pool, residents and guests can play tennis by the lake on the two hard surface tennis courts which have been adapted for pickle ball use as well. Numerous neighborhood parks are purposefully spaced throughout the neighborhood so that young children can play “sandlot” games of soccer and football within earshot of home. The central playground features a Kompan “Explorer Dome” designed to inspire imaginative and collaborative play and the grand lawn for any variety of field sports. All of the amenities within Markland, as well as nearby shops, are connected by a series of linear parks and sidewalks that promote residents to walk and bike in their travels or they can use a golf cart on the roads within Markland.
Those in attendance at the grand opening took note of the quality and early delivery of amenities. Lisa Vernon of Keller Williams noted, “I saw the plans for Markland when I visited Palencia a while ago, but they did not do it justice. To see it all built is just magnificent.”
While Debbie Pappas of All County added, “Having the main amenity center available to future residents as their homes are being built makes it easier for realtors to convince potential buyers to move into the community.”
Hines took an unusual approach in the planning and development of Markland and rezoned the property from over 800 homes down to only 345 homes.
Walter O’Shea, managing director of Hines explained, “By limiting the number of homes, we have been able to create a unique offering in St. Johns County. Residents will enjoy more access to the amenities in Markland than in much larger planned communities - residents will have more use of the pool, fitness equipment and the tennis courts as there are less people competing for these facilities. In addition, the reduction in density has allowed us to offer larger lots to homebuyers. The added lot depth and width will allow builders to offer homeowners the ability to have a home, a pool and still have a backyard for the children to play. Finally, we hope that Markland responds to families, couples and individuals who want an amenity-rich lifestyle but want to do so in a setting where you see more familiar faces and get to know your neighbors.”
Markland is centrally located on International Golf Parkway just east of I-95 with model homes open daily. Our six outstanding home builders offer a diverse mix of house plans with pricing that ranges from $300,000 to over $700,000.
Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with locations in 192 cities in 20 countries. feet. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a pioneering commitment to sustainability, Hines is one of the largest and most respected real estate organizations in the world. Visit hines.com for more information.
There have been several exciting new developments at Shearwater, the new master-planned residential community on County Road 210, as the community further comes to life.
The community has officially opened the Kayak Club, its expansive new amenities center, and has welcomed its Lifestyle Director, Dylan Read, who heads up Shearwater’s event and activity programming for residents.
“Shearwater is starting to buzz with activity and families enjoying their new home and lifestyle,” said Read, who visits with residents regularly to develop events and activities based on residents’ desires. “Families have been loving the newly opened Kayak Club, and we have already hosted a number of events that are fostering connections among residents. They moved here to have a stronger sense of community and that is exactly what we help create.”
Shearwater’s lifestyle programming further brings the community’s amenities to life with a variety of activities, including annual traditions and signature events to groups, clubs and classes. Shearwater has already hosted S’mores and More, Coffee on the Porch, sports tailgating parties, a running club, fitness classes, tennis lessons, and more. Combined with residents who are happily using the amenities on a regular basis, Shearwater has become a hub of family-friendly activity.
“We have always liked the area, but worked here and didn’t live here. We began looking around and found Shearwater, and there is nothing else like it. We heard about the amenities center and now that it is open, it is very nice,” commented Derek Garcia, a new resident who recently moved into Shearwater. “The Kayak Club made the decision for us to move into Shearwater, along with the trails and having the Lifestyle Director on staff…there is already so much to do, with so much more coming.”
The centerpiece of the Kayak Club is the Clubhouse, which includes multiple gathering spaces in addition to The Hub, a Wi-Fi café serving coffee, lattes and grab-n-go food items. Shearwater also includes the winding Lazy Bird River—the longest in Northeast Florida; ‘The Perch’—a three-story waterslide tower; multi-lane lap pool; resort-style lagoon pool; and four illuminated Har-Tru tennis courts, including a stadium court. Residents can also enjoy the oversized Fitness Lodge, which includes cardio and strength training equipment and a large group fitness workout area, as well as Wellbeats Virtual Fitness Classes™ on Demand. Plus, 13 miles of paved, natural and boardwalk trails weave throughout the community, with a kayak launch on Trout Creek—with direct access to the St. Johns River—coming in Phase II.
Shearwater’s newly unveiled free-range playgrounds are unique themselves, featuring KOMPAN play equipment. KOMPAN works with schools, parks and childcare centers around the globe, and conducts focus groups to follow societal trends in playtime preferences. The company also infuses its education and experience in early childhood development psychology into the design and function of the equipment. Shearwater chose this equipment because, “we believe in their philosophy, which is backed by scientific research: the right amount of play and creativity creates healthier children, social inclusion and more efficient learning,” said Jill Flores, Shearwater’s community director.
Overall, it is an exciting time as Shearwater continues to come to life!
by Interior Designer Crystal Spencer
Starting college or returning to dorm life this Fall? To make the most of your little shoebox room, it should be both functional and comfortable. An efficient room is all about good space planning and being wise with storage and organization. To create a stylish and comfy dorm room that feels like home, include these decor items and tips:
Use layered bedding with plenty of throw pillows. Buy pillows with zippers and replace poly-fill pillow inserts with more comfy down/feather inserts. Swap a couple pillows with your roommate for a more coordinated and balanced look. Shopping tip: Etsy.com is a great place to find nice, reasonably priced pillow covers. JoAnn's and local fabric stores sell down/feather pillow inserts.
Wall decals, photo collages, murals or wall paper that are removable wall can banish boring walls. Product websites: WallPops.com; EasyWallz.com; Roommatesdecor.com; MuralsYourWay.com.
Washi tape can also be be used to create designs or stripes on walls or doors; or tackle an artistic DIY wall designs using ideas from Pinterest.
A large textured or patterned area rug adds softness and comfort. Layering fun rugs on top of a carpet remnant is an inexpensive way to add style.
Curtain panels make a room! Hang them over windows and/or open closets using decorative tension rods. Shopping tip: Target, Wal-Mart, and JC Penney carry tension rods with decorative finials. Roomdividersnow.com carry wide-width tension rods.
Storage ottomans and poufs add color and texture to your space and provide extra seating when friends visit.
Three light sources are helpful. Use desk and bedside table lamps along with a thin floor lamp, or floor lamp with shelving. Add rope, patio or string lights for extra ambiance.
Use a wall-leaner mirror, or free-standing jewelry cabinet with mirrored front; both are useful and pretty.
Including a tall, thin faux (or live) floor plant or a small faux flower arrangement really adds some life to your space.
Have fun and make the room your own!
Room Details. If possible, obtain information (measurements, furnishings, etc.) about your dorm room ahead of time. It will make shopping easier.
Get Inspired. Most retailers have dorm decorating ideas and tips on their websites. Pinterest, Houzz and YouTube have loads of inspiration and DIY ideas. Specialty sites like
Dormify, decor-2-ur-door.com, American Made Dorm & Home, and Havenly offer ideas, style quizzes, products; some even offer online designer services.
Design Direction. Since you will likely have white/beige boring walls in your room, choose whether to place color and patterns up on the walls and windows, and keep your bedding more neutral (with pops of color); or, whether to keep the walls more neutral and put to the focal colors and patterns on your bedding.
Roommate Coordination. If possible, communicate with your roommate-to-be about decor style, direction and color preferences in order to plan a coordinated look in your room. Even friends don't always have the same decor style, so don't feel the pressure to be matchy-matchy, unless you want to be.
Imagine yourself kayaking along Trout Creek or spending a Saturday afternoon at your amenity center’s Lazy River, and then simply walking to your beautifully designed home set on a preserve lot. Maybe on Sunday you decide to play a game of tennis on the clay courts. On Monday morning, you walk your child to school at an A-rated St. Johns County elementary school. This is just a taste of what life could be like at Shearwater, one of St. Johns newest master-planned communities.
Located near Timberlin Creek Elementary School on the CR 210 corridor, the community is built on five key concepts; healthy living, engagement, design, connectivity, and stewardship. Shearwater boasts 1,500 acres, with 600 acres devoted to natural preserve that include nature trails and kayak launch points on neighboring Trout Creek. Unique features like the lodge-style Kayak Club amenity center and well-appointed playgrounds situated under a canopy of trees celebrate outdoor living.
"Shearwater is more than a residential neighborhood—it’s a lifestyle. We designed Shearwater to provide an abundance of recreational activities that center around active living and community connections. Event and activity programming is developed based upon residents’ desires, and the Kayak Club provides a variety of spaces for residents to connect with each other and enjoy favorite pastimes. All of this and more is available right at residents’ doorsteps. We are thrilled that Shearwater is starting to come to life,” said Jill Flores, Shearwater’s Community Director.
It is hard to believe the beauty of the natural setting until you visit the community itself. Bernard Diggs, a local Realtor with New Diggs Team, frequently brings his clients to Shearwater. “As a real estate agent in St. Johns, it brings me joy when I bring a home buying client to Shearwater and their face says it all upon entering the picturesque community and while sharing with them the future development plans. Immediately my clients get a sense of relief that they have not only found their new home but dream community and lifestyle” says Diggs.
Builders include Mastercraft Builder Group, David Weekley, Lennar & Richmond American Homes. Home designs are geared toward coastal living with architectural styles that blend well into the natural environment and offer a feeling of old Florida.
For more information please visit www.ShearwaterLiving.com or visit the model homes located at…260 Shearwater Parkway, St. Johns 32092.
by Crystal Spencer
Room by Room Interiors
When consulting with a new client I always ask them this question: “What would you like me to help you accomplish in your space”? Overwhelmingly, the answer is the same: “Help my room look finished and pulled together”.
Here are a few strategies I use to give a room beauty, balance and a finished off look. Give it a go!
FURNITURE & LAYOUT:
Set the focal point and make it the star of the room! Create an intimate, cozy seating arrangement around that focal point (typically TV/fireplace or largest wall). It’s much better to ‘float’ the furniture in a space, rather than pushing it all up against the wall.
Use an area rug to ‘anchor’ your seating area with all/most of the furniture sitting on the rug, at least by a few inches. If your furniture cannot sit or touch the rug, then the rug is probably too small. Floating a rug is a no-no, but you can layer a nicer smaller rug on top of a less-expensive solid, outdoor or sisal rug for a trendy look.
COLOR, TEXTURE & PATTERN:
Pick at least 3 colors to use in your room and use them at least three times throughout your space. Use an invisible triangle or zigzag pattern to direct placement.
Use the ‘60-30-10-rule’ for color proportion. 60% as the main color, 30% as the secondary color, and 10% as the ‘pop’ color.
Layer in texture and patterns. Use three pattern sizes - small, medium and large scaled patterns for a designer look. For example: a large-scale geometric, a wide-stripe (visually half the size of the geometric), and a smaller polka dot pattern.
ACCENTS & ACCESSORIES:
You should have more than one light source illuminating your room; three is ideal using our invisible triangle pattern. Your lighting should be bright enough to function but not so bright that it is jarring.
Properly sized art, accents and accessories are vital for a pulled-together look. Scale is the design concept people struggle with the most. Most pick out things that are too small or too similar. Force yourself to go bigger than you’re comfortable with. Go big for that ‘star’ art piece. Ditch the dinky light fixtures over your huge island. Use a big, bold pattern on an accent chair. Use 3 different sized candleholders verses a pair of matching-size ones.
Last but not least, leave the eye a place to rest, by not over-decorating. If the room feels too busy or cluttered, edit and pare down until it feels comfortable and balanced.
If your space doesn’t come together like you’ve envisioned, avoid further frustration and call in a professional like me to help pull the room together for you.
Crystal Spencer Room by Room Interiors
by Jennifer Andreu Yarbrough
My grandmother, Mrs. Rita “Wynette” Andreu or simply “Grammy,” was quite the Holiday Hostess. From the moment we entered her house on Christmas Eve to the moment we left everything was perfect. Here are a few things that I learned from my Southern Grammy about how to make Christmas special.
Start with ambiance — I will always remember the smell of Grammy’s perfume intermingled with smells from a fire in the hearth, a fresh Christmas tree, and delicious food baking. If you have a fireplace, use it! The smell of a fire, even in balmy Florida, creates ambiance. Buy a fresh, cut tree or wreath, the smell is festive! While we’re on the subject of Christmas trees, even if you decorate thematically give ornaments made by your children and grandchildren a place of honor. I was so proud that amongst the Victorian-themed ornaments on my Grammy’s tree, my handmade ornaments were prominently displayed.
Set your table — Unveil your China and silver; go all out to set a lovely table! Grammy always used her beautiful cream and rose China set, demonstrating that this was a special meal---this was Christmas! Using nice linens and tableware let me know as a child to be on my best behavior, which helped me learn about manners and etiquette. Also, include a low-profile centerpiece that reflects your taste and style. Go rustic or floral, or opt for a Florida centerpiece, like I am this year, with shimmering sand dollars, star fish, and small white Christmas trees. Clean all of these items the week before Christmas, go ahead and set your table and mark a big item off your list! My Grammy was cool and collected on Christmas Eve, as every hostess should be, and preparation was the reason!
Cooking— I remember the year that I found out my Grammy’s cooking secret—I saw it lurking in the trash—a frozen pie box! All those years I thought my Grammy cooked every last item from scratch, but she confessed that she had not and that made all the difference in getting everything done and being relaxed enough to have fun. Ask people to bring things! People love to contribute! Just give them a little direction—side dish, dessert, breads, drinks, etc. My goodness, don’t stress yourself out!
Hostess Fashion— Any Southern hostess will tell you, you need to look your best. This is Christmas, y’all, it’s a special Holiday, so by all means make time to get yourself together---fix your hair, put on a little makeup and press your clothes—whether they be casual or your Sunday best. And, take a tip from Grammy’s playbook, get yourself a cute apron. Practical for keeping your clothes clean and cute enough to make a fashion statement!
Start Traditions— On the way to Grammy’s house, my Dad would turn on the car radio and really play up the Santa Tracker, we loved it! Before we departed from Grammy’s house we selected one ornament from her tree to keep. Start your own tradition—peruse Pinterest and give your guests “Reindeer Food” as a parting gift, or a “Christmas Eve” box with pajamas, hot cocoa and a mug. Sing Christmas Carols around the fire. Have a Birthday Cake for Jesus, sing Happy Birthday and blow out the candles!
Christmas is a special Holiday no matter where you are. Love the people that you are with and make sure to enjoy every moment, making memories that will last a lifetime. Merry Christmas, y’all!
by Susan Fowler, Events by Susan Lynne
Summer is a great time to have a party and invite friends and family into your home for food and fun. Create a party that will really encourage your guest by keeping it simple so that you are not stressed when they arrive. Here are some basic planning ideas for the perfect party!
Have the party at your house to reduce your costs and give you total creative control. Start setting up your party the day before so if you don’t like your original layout you can modify as you decorate. Decorate the parts of your home you want to use for your party inside and outside. This will allow for clear boundaries for your guests to only go where the party is happening. As you are decorating set up food and beverage stations in different locations. This will allow your guest to spread out and socialize. Have two beverage stations one for adults and one for the kiddos.
Set Up Stations
The words “keep it simple” should be going through your mind at all times especially when it comes to food. Try to keep all the cooking outside if possible or cook inside the day before. Your oven and stove will make your home very warm. You want your menu to be filled with food your guest can easily grab and go. Set-up different food stations i.e. a main station with your main food items, a fruit and veggie station, a dessert station, and two beverage stations. Have simple snacks set-up all over like peanuts or chips. For the beverage stations make punch and name it after something fun and personal to you. It can be your signature drink and your kids will love this almost as much as the adults. My personal favorite is mixing 2 two liters of ginger ale with one of the Welches frozen concentrate juices (mixed berry or orange pineapple apple flavors are the best).
Use Easy Decorations
To decorate use bright summer colors in moderation. Yes it is possible to over decorate. Your food can work as décor, brightly colored veggies and fruits displayed on clear or white platters i.e. (watermelon, berries, grapes, orange bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, carrots, and sugar peas). These are all bright colors and can be set-up outside. Balloons are cheap and can be used in so many ways. Tie a ribbon around your balloons and hang from the ceiling with tape or a tack. This saves you from having to use helium balloons and adds a lot to the décor. Outside use pin wheels, beach balls, sand pails, and shovels.
When decorating your food tables don’t just lay all the food out flat use different items around the house to add height like cake stands, glass, blocks, or books. Cover your table with one table cloth and take another table cloth and bunch it up and set a platter or beverage container on top to add more variety to your table.
Entertaining your guests is the fun part! Most of them will know each other and will socialize with each other. You can provide games inside and outside like corn hole, giant jenga, badminton, ping pong, bocce ball, and croquet and inside set-up a place for cards or board games. There are people that can’t be outside and this set-up accommodates all of your guests. Finally, have really great music playing in the background loud enough to be heard but not too loud that your guests can’t hear themselves talk.
Remember your guest are coming for you. So keep it simple and stay stress free so you can enjoy your party as much as your guest do.
by Cindy Baker, Sr. Designer
Inspirational Kitchens by Design (IKD)
Summertime is upon us and as many head to the beaches to enjoy the summer fun, a lot of us want to stay a little closer to home. Outdoor living is getting in full swing and it’s time to start entertaining and gearing up for backyard cookouts and fellowship with friends. Some of you may be wondering how to do this and spruce up your outdoor living space on a summertime budget, and it’s easier than you think. Here are four easy tips to summer-ize your space!
Slipcovers and Pillows
First off, you need to look both inside AND outside. Time to dust off the winter drab from our living spaces in both areas. Bring in that summer fun with bright colors and vivid prints by changing out your dark, heavy textured accent pillows with fresh new covers. You can also slipcover your furniture with lightweight linen in a cool neutral color so those pillows can really pop. These can easily be cleaned and stored after the season to be used again and again.
Water features, Flowers and Dishes
Try painting some terra-cotta flowerpots and plant some beautiful flowers in them. Use them as accents near the pool or water feature. Speaking of that, if you don’t have one, pick up a small water feature and plug in for instant ambiance. Surrounded by some flowering plants and candles, some comfy chairs and you’ve created a perfect outdoor reading nook. When you’re ready to put the book down, make sure you invested in some fun, brightly colored plastic dishware and glasses for serving wine and tapas around the house both inside and out during the season.
Flea Market Finds
One of the biggest trends right now is using eco-friendly things. There are a lot of salvage yards around or hit up some garage sales to find lots of very interesting and cool unique ideas. Try thinking outside the box for some of your patio furniture or accessories by using something old to create something new. Sometimes it’s just about taking an old worn-out table or your grandmother’s old metal tray and spray-painting it with a bright color like turquoise or hot pink to use out by the pool or add to your indoor living space.
Ambiance of Lighting
Christmas tree lights aren’t just for Christmas. Take the lights off the tree that you just took down a couple of months ago, and string those in your patio to simulate the summer sky and the stars when you’re entertaining. Wrap your trees or string overhead for a canopy of stars. Nothing is more romantic and inviting than sitting under the lights with their soft glow, while lounging in your outdoor space with friends and family. And don’t forget, low lighting makes EVERYTHING look great!
Whether you enjoy the bright summer sun or warm summer nights, outdoor living and bringing your indoors out is sure to brighten your spirit and all those around you. Take the summer plunge and get decorating!
Local Authors & Experts for St. Johns Magazine
St. Johns Magazine is a fun and friendly resource guide connecting the growing communities of northern St. Johns. We focus on the positive aspects of life with entertaining features and articles promoting local businesses, people, places and events!
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