The Evolution of a Multi-Generation Luxury Oceanfront Home In Ponte Vedra Beach

Luxury real estate in Ponte Vedra, especially a Ponte Vedra Beach oceanfront home, is a highly desirable possession. Truly treasured and totally unique to the owners of these magnificent properties, each house is built, most often, with the lifestyle considerations of the original owners. 

Situated at 29 feet above sea level, on one of the highest elevations along this area of Atlantic Coastline, will soon be an iconic, multi-generational, totally symmetrical, 12,426 square foot oceanfront home. The first floor will enjoy 5192 square feet heated and cooled and the second 7234 square feet, with the extra square foot space on the second floor hovering over the three car garages on either side of the house (total 6 garages).  The home is being created simply out of desire, not a physical or financial need, for this family and its descendants to be able to be together, yet separate, providing support and practicality to each other for years to come for all who dwell within.

Literature abounds today with builders scurrying to fill the demand for multi-generational homes, aging in place, dual living and extended family home life. This latest trend is becoming evident here in Ponte Vedra Beach real estate not only with new construction but with remodeling efforts. The internet is replete with references to this latest trend and the rationale for its burgeoning popularity. According to a CBS News vignette, over 50 Million Americans across all ethnic demographics are now living in a multi-generational house(May 19,2013). The reasons for combining households of generations are as broad and unique as the individuals and are not predominantly financial or health related but often reflects a desire to be close to family.  

The distinction remains that these homes are not a duplex or a multi-family home. Rather, they are single family residences with multiple living areas, defined by separate spaces all connected to a main, common shared area.  Those common areas often include the kitchen, a large gathering room, a dining area, covered porch and perhaps swimming pool or backyard areas.  Within a Multi-Generational house there is clear separation of private living areas with separate entries, garages, staircases, balconies, bedrooms, family rooms, kitchenettes, and areas to entertain guests.  Often there is individualized climate control and the sound insulation in walls, halls and floors is critical. While physical space separation is the key element, shared financial expense is paramount.  These homes have one utility bill, one source of electric, water and sewer.  Duplexes and other multi-family dwellings have multiple electric or water meters with each occupant being responsible for their own “usage”.

The oceanfront home being built by Aurora Custom Homes boasts symmetry in its architectural style in that the wings of the homes look the same from the outside, but inside the floor plan is affording a sense of privacy for both the elder generation and the younger generation. While sharing this home, each family unit will have their own space.  The construction is concrete block and the roof will be barrel style concrete tiles. “FEMA requires all oceanfront foundations to be designed to survive the possible scouring action of repetitive wave action pulling sand out to sea.  A series of concrete auger-cast pilings form a grid underneath the foundation, traveling nearly 34' deep to reach a point engineered to comply with building code. We placed nearly 90 pilings under this foundation” said Michael Lenahen, President of Aurora Custom Homes.

For the interior, special consideration is being given to the sound insulation system, beginning with a special layer of sound board sheetrock, and continuing with ample sound insulation between interior walls, floors, and ceilings. The Sound Transmission Coefficient  (STC) will be such that sound will be significantly deadened so that literally one family will not know if the other family is at home unless they meet somewhere on the first floor.  The first floor will share a common foyer, great room, dining room, hearth room, laundry facilities, and the primary kitchen.  The interior symmetry disappears with the separation of space on the second floor. This level is designed around each of the individual family members and the three generational needs.  The grandparents will enjoy a southern exposure of the home with an elevator to their private quarters from their three garage entry. A “ginormous” living room, measuring approximately 15ft x 26ft for living and entertaining space, plus two guest bedrooms and storage closets, in addition to the owner’s bedroom ensuite was sufficient for their needs.   The younger generation, with their own entry to the north side of the house through a three car garage, provides separate living quarters, a generous bedroom for their child with ample storage, and a playroom/guest room for sleepovers that is adjacent to the child’s bedroom. This owner’s ensuite includes an office, another guest bedroom and exercise room. There is one common hallway between the generations connecting either side of the separate 



This building site was chosen by the family because of the high elevation and fantastic views. But what about getting to the beach?

“The high elevation provides extraordinary views overlooking the ocean, but the downside is the long walk downhill to access the beach. While environmentally sensitive dune walk-overs are permitted, the boardwalk just recently completed involved a repetitive series of steps and landings. To minimize the visual impact of the dune walk-over, it was important to avoid railings. Therefore, there is never more than a 30" drop-off, aided by a sequence of steps to conform to the sloping site condition” said Michael Lenahen.

(Note: Department of Environmental Protection guidelines and the engineering required to obtain a D.E.P. permit all must be cleared prior to any construction east of the coastal construction line)..


Michael Lenahen from Aurora Custom Homes will accompany me, when requested, for  tours of various oceanfront lots to determine those best suited for the customer’s needs. He said, “The most often asked questions deal with "build-ability" and at what elevation the home will eventually be placed. Site conditions (and their related costs) are always a concern, as the extreme movement of dirt and the impact of ascending a high dune will affect the site development costs. It is not unusual for the clearing, grading, establishment of a building pad and the in-ground pilings and grade beams to run in excess of $200,000, depending on the vegetation and terrain of the lot.” 

So if you are considering building your next Luxury Real Estate Custom Home in Ponte Vedra Beach consider calling Aurora Custom Homes and me to help you with site selection for the home of your dreams.

Kathleen Floryan, Ponte Vedra Beach REALTOR®

Photography courtesy of Barry Rabinowitz.