Under the Amelia Island sun: $10.5 million sale of Tuscan-inspired home breaks records in Northeast Florida

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Northeast Florida's pristine beaches are accompanied by ample stunning views and equally beautiful oceanfront homes. One such property, at 39 Ocean Club Drive in Fernandina Beach, has broken the all-time sales record across five counties covered by the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service.

Located at Amelia Island Plantation, the nine-bedroom, 8.5-bath home sold for $10,550,000 on June 1, breaking the previous record set by the sale of a Ponte Vedra Beach home in December.

Designed by the late architect John Cotner of Cotner & Associates and built in 2005, the 11,875-square-foot villa is a modern take on Italy's most enviable architecture. According to Joe Cutajar of ONE Sotheby's International Realty — who co-listed the home with colleague Kim Richardson — the seller had requested that Cotner design a home as a family retreat.

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Designed as a beloved family retreat, this five-story Tuscan-inspired home on Amelia Island sold in early June for $10,550,000. The spacious and beautifully crafted villa broke sales records for real estate across five counties, according to the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service.
Designed as a beloved family retreat, this five-story Tuscan-inspired home on Amelia Island sold in early June for $10,550,000. The spacious and beautifully crafted villa broke sales records for real estate across five counties, according to the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service.

"When she had it built, she was looking to create a legacy property for her large family to enjoy and they did just that for many years," Cutajar said. "When the home went under contract, each subset of the seller's family had time set aside for their final visits at the home."

Designed by Merlene Bryant of Chestnut Street Interiors , the home is a treasure trove of luxurious details: Hand-crafted walnut columns and beams open up to a great room with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping ocean views; a soaring four-story spiral staircase; an eye-catching shell mosaic backsplash in the chef’s kitchen; a fifth-floor crow's nest with 360-degree views of Amelia Island and a full wet bar; a first-floor game room and state-of-the-art walk-in wine cellar.

Boasting five master suites, all with views of the ocean and walk-in closets, the home was meant for entertaining — and plenty of family time.

Cutajar said the entire third floor of the home was dedicated to space for family members. A dedicated staircase leading from the children's area of the third floor also allowed the grandchildren easy access to their grandmother on the fourth floor.

In addition, the second floor was intended for family gatherings, including meal preparation, dining, games and watching sports.

That space is anchored by the huge Tuscan-inspired kitchen, outfitted with enough high-end appliances to prepare a gourmet feast for 20 or an intimate dinner for two. Equipped with a large six-burner Viking range with griddle, la cucina also features two full-size Sub-Zero refrigerators and freezers, a Hoshizaki ice maker, two Bosch dishwashers, an additional wall oven with built-in microwave and two sinks.

Finishing out the space are chiseled granite countertops, as well as soft-close custom cabinets and drawers.

The nautilus motif, as shown on this unique mosaic backsplash, is a recurring theme throughout the home, meant to emulate the growth of family and legacy of the home.
The nautilus motif, as shown on this unique mosaic backsplash, is a recurring theme throughout the home, meant to emulate the growth of family and legacy of the home.

The spiral form of the chambered nautilus is a theme found in many parts of the house, from the impressive staircase to the unique kitchen backsplash. A marketing brochure for the home indicates the motif was meant to "emulate the growth of family and legacy of the home."

Also on the second floor is a spectacular outdoor living area, with double infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and a walkway leading to a quiet stretch of beach. Other structural features include an Otis commercial-grade elevator and a four-car garage. An additional golf cart garage will come in handy for the new owners, as the home sits within a few hundred feet of the Amelia Island Club and its two world-class golf courses.

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Representing the buyers was Allison Steilberg of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty.

"After living in Jacksonville for seven years, they loved the idea of a resort community with such wonderful amenities that's so close to the city, but yet in a location that's so lush and private," Steilberg said. "They look forward to exploring Amelia Island and enjoying their beautiful new home."

Described by Cutajar as a "spectacular architect but so much more," Cotner, the architect, died in March, shortly before the home went under contract. In a video created by ONE Sotheby's International Realty to help market the home, the architect spoke to the vision of the original owner.

A children's room on the third floor features a nautical theme.
A children's room on the third floor features a nautical theme.

"She wanted to create an environment where the family could gather," Cotner said in the video. "The family had been coming to Amelia Island Plantation since the children were small. It was a special place for them, a retreat, and she wanted to accommodate every member of the family."

The goal, Cotner said, was to dwell not just on aesthetic issues, but to create something durable and filled with structural integrity. Built primarily of reinforced concrete and masonry, the well-maintained home achieved that goal.

Cotner pointed out in the video that the home is the first of its size to incorporate all impact-rated materials, as well as an energy-efficient geothermal heating and cooling system. All these features, he added, were done for very practical reasons — not just opulence.

39 Ocean Club Drive at dusk, as seen from the beach
39 Ocean Club Drive at dusk, as seen from the beach

Cutajar agreed, noting that for all its luxury, the home is "not pretentious, but rather comfortable and easy to enjoy."

"My guess is the buyers felt that same magic," he said.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Amelia Island villa breaks Northeast Florida sales records