We were featured in the Amelia Islander - July 2017 issue!
The criteria were straightforward: a beach community, oceanfront, within an hour of an international airport, not urban, must have open spaces and state or national parks, experience “weather," and not to be compromised. The answer? Amelia Island, of course!
Paula, a native of beautiful Santa Monica, California, met Bob Clarkson when he was in law school with her brother-in- law thirty-one anniversaries and three children ago. “I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina,' Bob shares. “After finishing school in California, I never left!”
In 2014, the couple began to think about where they might retire one day, and Bob suggested they take a tour of the Southeast, where he wanted to return with Paula, who had never visited the area. “We toured Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine, and places in-between,” the couple remembers. They lived out of a suitcase and made their way to seven unique hotels in seven nights.
“When we came to Amelia Island, I remembered hearing about The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island because of the Concours d’Elegance,” explains Bob, whose hobbies include boating and cars. “What we found here was access to the beach through the dunes from our hotel, something the other towns didn’t ofFer in quite the same way.
“I’ll admit, I was thrilled that we loved Florida,” says Paula, who enjoys boating on the Atlantic and the changes in the weather here, a nice change after the steady 75-degree temperatures she experienced in California. “We love power cruising the ocean with our two Portuguese water dogs, and the Florida water is beautiful."
In spring 2015, the couple returned and explored Fernandina Beach in search of a home. When they came upon the three-bedroom, three-bathroom Sandpiper unit, they fell in love with the “1970’s grooviness,” as Paula describes it. They liked that Sandpiper Loop wasn’t situated directly on South Fletcher Avenue, and they appreciated the community’s coastal, wooden construction.
The Clarksons’ new address was ready for a refresh, and the couple hired Amanda Webster Design and C.F. Knight Builder & Remodeler to assist in the makeover. “Paula and Bob were cognizant of the limits of the 1,500 square feet," Amanda explains. “They suggested we plan it like a boat to utilize the spaces in a clever way. It was a wonderful challenge. We took the unit to the studs and started over.
“The kitchen was my favorite part. The third level was originally a small u-shaped kitchen and breakfast-sized dining area. We opened up the entire room to be a long kitchen with the island seconding as the dining room.” The third-level also sports an inventive office overlooking the second level living room and the ocean.
Paula and Bob are thrilled with the finished project. They adore the vintage charm of the Sandpiper community and compare their new home to an antique car, where you see a dated exterior, then open the door and are surprised by the beautifully remodeled interior. What comes as no surprise is that the Clarksons continue to relish their walk through the sand dunes to the ocean each morning. When they’re not walking the beach, they’ll be exploring the rest of Florida's beautiful coastline by boat.