Grove Cottages Vero Beach, FL

Three and a half acres of soaring oak hammock along a winding private road will be home to a compound of just four lakefront “cottages" in Vero Beach, Florida. We designed the site plan and cottages with the preservation of the forest and privacy as primary objectives. The first step in the meticulous design process was a tree survey identifying hundreds of oaks and locating them on the drawings so the community could be planned around the significant trees. The low impact approach to both the site and the cottages was a response to the drama and interplay of the lakes and forest. The cottages, which will be built to Florida Green Building Coalition standards, will incorporate energy efficient design and sustainable building materials.

Grove Cottages, so named because the site was once a citrus grove, are distinguished by their verticality, which captures and complements the beauty of the oak trees. The design is also environmentally sensitive because the compact building footprint and land use covenants ensure that the trees and forest floor are preserved and privacy is protected. Instead of lawns and sidewalks typical of most subdivisions, ferns and indigenous plants will grow beside elevated walkways that meander around to the cottages’ waterside decks with lake views framed by trees.

The two-part design of separate but linked stucco buildings is simultaneously engaging and functional. The layout features two independent living areas, ideal for either a family or a couple who wants a family compound that can comfortably accommodate visiting adult children or guests. The welcoming front porch leads into the living room, Florida dining room and a gourmet kitchen designed for entertaining. While the layout flows as one open space, each room is visually separate and architecturally distinct.

The private first floor master bedroom suite is well appointed with a vaulted board ceiling, a soaking tub, frameless glass shower and its own laundry. On the second floor, a study/TV room separates the private guest suite from the two large bedrooms. Both bedrooms open out to a veranda/sleeping room overlooking the lake and forest. Each bedroom has its own bathroom and easy access to an upstairs laundry room making the upstairs self-contained living quarters.