The staccato hum of cicadas combines with the lap of gentle waves against the North Choctawhatchee Bay shore of Santa Rosa Beach; working with the light rustle of leaves brought on by a northeasterly breeze, the sounds create a delicate, relaxing harmony surrounding 616 Shelter Cove Dr.
“I don’t have any grass on this property,” said current owner Francois-Marie Benard. “I don’t want anything manicured like you find in Atlanta. To me, that’s the charm of this area, and it should remain such.”
Benard and his wife, Jo Ann Benard, are both actors. Jo Ann, under her professional name Lee Warrick, appeared in “General Hospital,” “One Life to Live” and “The Next Step Beyond.” Benard appeared in “Dynasty,” and he is also a renowned poet and artist.
They have listed their four-bedroom, three and a half baths, 4,699 square-feet home for $1.99 million.
La Florida Premier Real Estate Professionals and broker Gay Landreth hold the listing of this home that the current owners completely redesigned to resemble a French country chateau inspired by Benard’s youth in Madagascar and France and by the couple’s travels throughout Europe.
The entry through the front door has an old world feel with a solid wood door designed by Benard. The wrapping front stairway offers an old Southern feel with its iron rail, designed by Jo Ann Benard. The portico leads into a house that offers comfort and security.
The landscape, Landreth said, creates privacy, while interior details create warmth.
“This place is so quiet, you never hear a car,” she said. “The only thing you hear are the dolphins splashing.
“Good architecture continues to surprise you as you move through the house,” Landreth added. “As you move through the home, you continue to have the awe moments.”
Travertine tile and hardwood floors take owners and guests from room to room. The Benards brought in Mennonite craftsmen to install the hardwood floors as well as the custom wood cabinetry throughout the house.
The kitchen, the formal dining room and the formal living room offer views of the bay. A first-floor guest room, with an on-suite bath, faces the half-century-old oaks of the front.
On the second level, two bedrooms share a bath on one end of the house, while down a hallway the master suite offers more than sanctuary to the owners.
Benard created the room around massive windows for optimal views of the Northwest Florida landscape.
“This is like a tree home,” he said. “You have a view of the front yard, and you have a view of the water.”
Along with the house comes an extra half lot, suitable for future development of a small guest house. A second deeded portion of property provides a deep-water dock, while the shallow water dock sits behind the house.
Landreth said this house is suitable for all waterfront buyers: retirees, families, or those seeking a second home.
For information about 616 Shelter Cove Dr., contact Gay Landreth at La Florida Premier Real Estate Professionals at 32 E. County Highway 30A, suite J, Santa Rosa Beach; 850-231-7896; www.laflorida.com.