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Amelia Islander

Front Porch State of Mind

Apr 08, 2020 02:31PM ● By Tom Barrett
By Julie Simmons
Photo by Terri Wenzelburger, ECVT Photography

“The best kind of friend,” American businessman Arnold H. Glasgow once said, “is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation that you ever had..” If you ask Ray and Sandra Borland-Cason, they might just say that Mr. Glasgow was talking about them.

Originally from Douglas, Georgia, Ray and Sandra married eight years ago and honeymooned on Amelia Island. “We came back one year later to celebrate our anniversary and decided to look at condos,” the couple explains from the swing on their brand-new front porch. Not only did they look, but they bought as well!

“We adore life on Amelia Island, walking on the beach, hunting for shark’s teeth, biking, and of course, enjoying activities at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and through our membership at First Baptist Church.” After five years at Carlton Dunes, the couple realized they wanted a home with enough space for their combined five children, grandchildren, and great grands to visit.

“We began looking at homes and had just about agreed to make an offer,” Sandy explains, “when our realtor, Linda McCoy of ERA Fernandina Beach Realty, called about a newly available parcel in Golfside South at Summer Beach. “It didn’t take us a half-hour to say ‘yes’ when we saw the land and its placement on the golf course, with a lagoon filled with ducks and geese.”

The beautiful lot was a find, but that introduced a new set of obstacles: finding the right house plan and builder. “I describe it as a total God-thing,” Sandy says. “First, Linda recommended we talk to Plantation Housing Corp., an independent franchise of Arthur Rutenberg Homes. We’d visited models before and were impressed with the quality and style. Soon after, unsolicited from the previous owner of the homesite, I received in the mail a custom Arthur Rutenberg house plan, drawn specifically for our parcel!” The couple took the plan to Plantation Housing Corp., who further customized it and agreed to build.

“This home and its design are special in many ways,” says Vic Buscaino, president of Plantation Housing Corp. “First, the home site is irregularly shaped and challenging architecturally to provide a main living area on the first floor, but the home design accomplished it well with a fantastic view of the outdoors.”

“Other unique features include the master bath’s spa-like feel,” continues Vic, “in which we combined the shower and tub in the same space as you see in some of the top hotels in the world. We were also able to place the laundry room by the kitchen and hide the space from view with a door that looks like it is part of the kitchen cabinets.”

The finished result is splendid. The welcoming front porch features the swing Sandy purchased the day she signed the contract. As you enter through the blue double front door entryway, your eyes are drawn to the natural backdrop showing through the magnificent slider doors that stretch the backside of the home and open onto expansive outdoor living with an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, and space for lounging.

The kitchen is equally impressive with its whites, grays, and tans contrasting the generous island, which bursts with deep blues. “Blue is our favorite color, and we used it throughout the home,” says Sandy, including as an accent in the peaceful master suite featuring an intimate seating area, a perfect perch for watching the squirrels chase each other up and down the oak trees.

Another favorite room in the house is the couple’s intimate den, which is an elegant mix of old and new. The heated, massaging recliners in front of the fireplace are a peaceful oasis for Sandy and Ray, and above the fireplace, the couple commissioned a gorgeous painting of their home at Carlton Dunes by a visiting Spanish artist, Patricia Ropol, whom they met at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.

The couple also looks forward to spending time enjoying the warmer weather on their back porch, particularly in the evenings by their firepit. The spacious porch is a perfect gathering spot for family and friends, and the outdoor kitchen is ideal for entertaining.

Just three months in, the couple is thrilled with their decision to build. “Plantation Housing was very good to work with,” says Ray. “We didn’t worry about a thing, visiting monthly to check in, and that was about all we had to do!”

“This is the first brand-new home I’ve ever had,” says Sandy, smiling at Ray as she looks ahead to the many cherished days the couple will enjoy together on their new front porch swing.