Who knew creating a space you never want to leave would be so relevant in 2020? Now more than ever, you want to love where you live. Meet the Home Experts who can help make your home cozy, comfortable, and the ultimate sta-cation. From real estate agents to builders, interior designers to title agents, these professionals can offer their experience and knowledge to solve problems, renovate spaces, or even begin a new future by buying or selling.
Dawn Gaffney Team
Dawn Gaffney, Realtor/Team Leader; Brad Barfield, Realtor; Angela Leary, Realtor
3505 US 1 South
Raised in St. Augustine, Dawn Gaffney has witnessed the tremendous change and growth that’s transformed the area into one of the most sought-after destinations. Dawn returned to St. Augustine after attending college and obtaining a degree in finance at the University of North Florida. With a wealth of experience in finance, contracts and negotiation, as well as real estate, Dawn skillfully structures deals designed to put clients in their dream homes, providing expert guidance and utilizing an abundance of professional resources. She and her team have more than 25 years combined experience, extensive qualifications and certifications, and many awards for their work. “My team’s success is attributed to our core mission,” says Dawn, “to provide legendary customer service.’’
Dawn has proven an invaluable agent and leader in the North Florida market and is proudly continuing that tradition with each new client and property she takes on. This individualized attention has allowed both Dawn and her team to retain a solid client base, staying in touch with clients long after transactions have closed. The teams’ success is based almost exclusively on positive referrals, earning the respect of clients, by working tirelessly on their behalf, building relationships and by always offering them candid advice. Whether you want a quaint vacation home in downtown or a luxury residence on the water, the Dawn Gaffney Team has extensive knowledge about St. Augustine locations, values, and property types – not to mention all the local attractions to entertain you and your family.
When not working, Dawn and her husband Brad (team partner at Watson Realty) and their four-year-old son Barrett can be found enjoying the attractions, festivals, concerts and water adventures that living and playing in St. Augustine has to offer. “I have the best job in the world,” says Dawn. “I enjoy waking up every day not knowing who I will meet when I go to work, and to me that’s very exciting.’’
Bridge City Real Estate
Karl Vierck, Broker/Owner; Britt Haslett, Owner; Ryan Westover, Owner; Courtney McQuaig, Danielle McQuarry, Kelly Bessel, Kyle Todd, Kayla Bryant, Brandon Maney, Sarah Rideman, Jenny Jones, Jen Hesson, TJ Sims, Justin Flewwellin
88 Riberia Street
Though new to St. Augustine, Bridge City Real Estate Co. is built on old school values. A foundation of integrity, trustworthiness, hard work, progress, and unparalleled service creates relationships with clients that will last for years to come, and the team’s vast knowledge of the local market is unmatched. Bridge City Real Estate Co. is not just another real estate company. Their exceptional combination of industry expertise and unwavering values sets them apart. “Any of our crew will not only give you service that goes above and beyond, but they will also make you feel like you have known them for years,” says Britt Haslett. “First and foremost, we are advocates for our customers and believe sharing our experience and knowledge to educate the customer during the real estate transaction process is key so they can be knowledgeable in making crucial decisions.”
In an ever-changing industry, the Bridge City team stays continually up to date through classes, workshops, and professional coaching. This continuing education allows them to be an expert resource for every client – no matter if you’re looking for a real estate investment or buying your first home. Their local market knowledge and their real estate expertise set the industry standard, but the work of the Bridge City team goes beyond that. They strive to be not only dependable and principled professionals but also advocates for the community, promoting growth and supporting the people of St. Augustine and St. Johns County. “If Bridge City Real Estate Co. is known for one thing, we would say it’s trust,” says Ryan Westover. “We want our customers and our community to know they can put their trust in us. In every interaction, we offer comfort to our customers, because they know they can trust us not only as professionals but as individuals.”
Sims Aluminum Construction
267 Cervantes Ave
Good first impressions are essential in all areas of life, whether it be a job interview, meeting new friends, or even your home. And that last one is where Sims Aluminum Construction are the experts. Andy Sims and his team are known for all aspects of exterior construction services – seamless gutters to soffit and fascia, screen lanais, glass windows, pool enclosures, pavers and handrails to hardie siding and remodels. For over ten years, they’ve cultivated a local reputation of quality craftsmanship and superior results. Curb appeal courtesy of Andy will always be stunning.
“We take pride in all parts of our work,” says Andy, “and strive for a superior finished result to our products.” The Sims crew is continually meeting with suppliers, inventors, and vendors to stay up to date and knowledgeable about the newest products and services that they can bring to their clients. Not only will the team be skilled and experienced, but you can trust that they have done their research so that the materials that they use will always be held to the highest standard. Each installer is in-house, goes through extensive training to perfect their work, and is Nichiha and Hardie Lap Siding Certified.
Though Sims Aluminum Construction has spent years growing their expertise and skills, at its core, Sims is about the relationships that they’ve built in the St. Augustine area. They have always desired to make an impact by building respect and a good reputation. “I feel when we help other people,” says Andy, “those people tend to pay it forward and this builds a reserve of goodwill in the community.” Each project that they work on is backed by a passion that Andy and his team have for their craft. “I love construction,” he says. “I love seeing customers pleased when I can help them transform their ideas into reality.”
Engel & Volkers Florida
Michelle Mousin, Melanie Escalante
758 3rd Street South, Jacksonville Beach
A true global real estate company, Engel & Volkers was started in 1977 in Hamburg, Germany. opening 882 shops in 33 countries. The global nature of the company allows its agents to be at the forefront of the industry, giving them access to the latest in real estate technology and tools. It also means that they set high standards for every agent; each must be experienced and have a wealth of market knowledge. And with more than three decades of experience between them, local agents Melanie Escalante and Michelle Mousin are offering up that expertise to North Florida.
Specializing in new construction, waterfront, marina, and equestrian properties, Melanie and Michelle work diligently to offer exceptional service to every client in every unique situation. They listen to each client’s needs and goals and use their years of experience to achieve the desired result in the shortest amount of time. Communication is key in a real estate transaction. It’s imperative to be on hand and provide excellent customer service.
The team represents a new construction community that showcases their unique knowledge and sales ability. Villa Calissa is situated along the San Sebastian River, just a short bike ride from historic downtown St Augustine. The community is made up of 11 homes and is developed and built by the award-winning Urban Partners Group. The architect is the renowned Cronk Duch Architecture. Each home comes with a deep water boat slip. The first closing will take place at the end of March 2020 and a model will be available to view at that time. The sales pace has been record breaking, and only 4 homes remain. The average sq footage is 2100 + sq feet, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath with a two-car garage. Community amenities include a community pool, fire pit, and kayak/paddleboard launch. “This is a perfect example of one of the things that Urban Partners does best – small, beautiful infill communities,” says Michelle, “that change the local landscape.” Location: 95 Cherokee Street, St Augustine. $689,000 – $769,000, includes slip. Learn more at www.villacalissa.com.
(904) 616-5757 – Michelle Mousin
(904) 494-8432 – Melanie Escalante
(904) 759-0702 5860
US Hwy 1 North
For 10 years, Cora Johnston and her team at Generation Homes have been setting the industry standard for beautiful, custom homes in St. Johns County. Working with a wide range of architectural styles, home sizes, and locations in the area, the team strives for each home they build to be a reflection of the Owners. With a focus on integrity and effective communication, the goal is for each homeowner to enjoy the experience of building a new home. “At Generation Homes, we try to instill the value in each and every one of our team members and trade partners to have our customers’ interests at heart,” says Cora. “Until the day we turn over the keys to the owners, the homes we build are ours, and we take personal pride in each detail of them. We are mindful of how we build, what we build, and what the costs are to build a home for each individual Owner.”
Home building is one of the most diverse industries that exists. The Generation Homes team has the opportunity to be artistic and creative, build something that will last several lifetimes by using quality products in the environment we build and, above all, touch people’s lives every day. This is a responsibility that they don’t take lightly. “Our specialty is the finish and the feel of the homes we build,” says Cora. “Often, I hear from our customers that once they move in and then go into other homes that are not built by a company like ours, it has become easy for them to tell the difference. We take the time and care to make sure that each home will last for today, tomorrow, and generations to come. Who would know that when you first set up a company that those initial words would still resound 10 years later, setting the path for everyone at Generation Homes and the homes we build?”
Gabriella Doyle, Alexandra Masa
100 Kayak Way
Located on County Road 210 in Northern St. Johns County, Shearwater is one of the fastest growing master-planned residential communities in the area. With resort-style amenities, a robust schedule of community events, and a strong connection to the outdoors, Shearwater is the perfect place to reconnect with family and form new friendships with neighbors. And with the needs of residents in mind, Shearwater is always growing. Just recently, Shearwater hired Alexandra Masa as its new Community Lifestyle Director and brought on Gabriella Doyle as a personal trainer.
Both known for their outgoing personalities, Alexandra and Gabriella fit perfectly into the lively Shearwater community. Gabriella is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and received her bachelor’s degree in health science with a minor in health education. Working out of Shearwater’s state-of-the-art fitness lodge with cardio and strength training equipment, a large group fitness workout area, and a kids’ playroom, Gabriella sets out to guide her clients to their fitness goals in a safe and positive way. “Stop talking about beginning your fitness journey and start living it,” she says. “I am here to support our residents and guide them along the way. I maintain a positive atmosphere and motivate my clients to become the very best version of themselves.”
The Fitness Lodge and Gabriella’s health expertise are only one part of the Shearwater’s wide range of amenities. But the Shearwater lifestyle is more than just great amenities; it’s bringing those amenities to life by integrating them with a variety of activities that bring neighbors closer together. That’s where Alexandra comes in. She encourages the community to stay vibrant with a variety of events, big and small – everything from coffee dates and fitness classes to festivals and 5Ks. “I’m so excited to lead the community’s unique approach to lifestyle programming and activities,” Alexandra says. “I want all new residents to feel at home and know that they’re moving to a place that celebrates community.”
Century 21 – Saltwater Property Group
81 King Street, Suite b
Everyone needs a guide when you’re exploring the real estate market, and there’s no better person to lead you through the process than Irene Arriola. Longstanding mutual knowledge and trust with professionals, administrators, local governments, and tradespeople allows her to work through transactions as smoothly and seamlessly as possible for buyers and sellers. Every problem has an answer and the search for it is the job. No matter how small the detail or how daunting the challenge, Irene and her team refuse to quit until everything is attended to, all obstacles are overcome, and satisfaction rules. “Buying and selling real estate is a serious endeavor,” says Irene, “and all participants should go into it with eyes wide open. My candor and direct approach is key in providing comprehensive information sellers and buyers need to make informed decisions under constantly changing market conditions.”
Irene dedicates her work to each customer and finds motivation in helping them through this big life decision. “Every day I run into people who are happily ensconced in properties I delivered, and it gives me deep satisfaction to witness that and to hear how their lives have grown around the seeds I helped them plant,” says Irene. “People come and people go, and helping them in that transition is immeasurably gratifying.”
A professional approach to the real estate scenario must deal with every detail and individuality, and must produce solutions that work for the customer and for the property in question. But Irene’s approach doesn’t end there. “Long after the deed has been recorded,” she says, “my knowledge and connections continue to serve the customers, in matters social, mechanical, philosophical, culinary and cultural.”
Knight Barry Title
Craig Haskins, COO; Vickie Rianda, Branch Manager
2085 A1A South, Suite 206
For many homebuyers in and around St. Augustine, the closing table of Island Title – and the smiling face of Vickie Rianda – has been the last stop in the celebratory journey during the past decade. While the acquisition of the business by Knight Barry Title represents a new chapter for her Island Title team, Rianda plans to continue to be the helping hand buyers and sellers – plus area Realtors and lenders – need when it comes to closing their real estate transactions.
“The people you loved at Island Title are still here to work with all our loyal customers,” she said. “The new support and resources we have as part of Knight Barry Title allow us to help our clients and our community in even more ways. It’s a very exciting time for all of us.”
As part of a deal that became official in February, Island Title became the sixth location in a growing Florida portfolio for the Wisconsin-based residential and commercial real estate closing and escrow provider. Knight Barry Title has more than 165 years of history behind it. In total, Knight Barry Title operates more than 60 offices spread across four states.
Craig Haskins, KBT’s chief operating officer, visited St. Augustine last month during the transition to meet with staff and explore the area. He wants everyone to know that Rianda and her team are still leading the local office and that Knight Barry Title is here to provide the support they need to continue to succeed both as a business and a community partner. “St. Augustine is a beautiful place, and we’re glad to be here,” Haskins said. “It’s been a whirlwind of a year for us in Florida, but we think that success reinforces that we’re doing something great. We’re excited to work with Vickie to showcase everything KBT can do for customers here.”
Taylor Refrigeration and AC
320 State Road 207
For 69 years, Taylor Refrigeration and Air Conditioning has focused on making each relationship with their customers the center of their business. Their well-established reputation and devoted clientele have kept them going and only increased the expertise with which they operate. With more than half a century of excellence on their books, it’s pretty clear that keeping their clients at the center of their business has made Taylor stand out in the industry.
In order to stay up-to-date on new products, services, and practices, the team regularly meets with suppliers and other industry experts. Everyone on the team has a unique skill set and specialty, so they are always bringing fresh ideas and innovations to the table. This diversity on the crew also allows problems to be quickly and accurately assessed then fully resolved by an expert on the team. It is important to Taylor Refrigeration and Air Conditioning that they always stick to the idea that no two products, clients, or situations are created equal. Always making sure to listen carefully, they offer customized solutions that fit the customer’s needs, budget, and future plans. It doesn’t make sense to offer the same product to every person, so they take their expertise across the field and provide the best solution possible. Longevity speaks to not only the skills of a team but to the values and concerns at the core of a business. Mario Taylor, Sr. – the founder of Taylor Refrigeration and Air Conditioning – started the business in 1951 with excellence as his basic business practice and the generations that have succeeded him have worked tirelessly to honor him by maintaining that same standard.
Atlantic Plumbing Services, Inc.
8 Spring Street
Atlantic Plumbing Services started 11 years ago as a one-man team. With a small office space and barely enough room for two trucks, Kyle Jones began to lay the foundation for the company that is now rated #1 in plumbing services in St. Johns, Duval, and Putnam Counties. Growth like that doesn’t happen overnight. Working alongside them out in the field, Kyle strategically built a reliable and skilled team, investing in a group of people who viewed their work as a career and not just another job. He encourages the whole crew to continually expand their education and stay up to date in the industry in order to bring the best service to their customers.
Because, when it comes down to it, Kyle started Atlantic Plumbing to bring expert service to every client and build a relationship of trust that keeps them coming back. Employees treat each client like friends and family, earning their trust through timely, affordable, excellent work every time. The company also maintains a two-man system, where each plumber is assisted by a helper, and the same crew stays on a job until it’s done. Without additional cost to the client, this system allows the work to be done efficiently and effectively. The team also sends out regular letters to their current and new customers asking for feedback on how they can better their business. “We like to hear all feedback good or bad,” says Kyle. “What makes us different from other companies is that we take all ideas from each and every employee or customer and use it in some way to improve.”
That dedication to service and to customers’ needs has paid off for Kyle and his team. “The amount of calls we get in a day from people who say ‘a current customer of yours’ referred us to you is really amazing,” says Kyle. “Our goal is to make sure every customer is satisfied and to invest back in our community. When I started Atlantic Plumbing, I wanted a company that was not only known for customer services but known for making a difference.”
Land Title of America
Stephen Boyd Collins
2495 US 1 South
While he was still attending St. Augustine High School in 1985, Stephen Boyd Collins began working after school and during summers at his father’s real estate title insurance company, Collins Title & Abstract Co. That early exposure to the ins and outs of the industry made him very knowledgeable about the risks of real estate ownership and the importance of title insurance. So he opened Land Title of America in 1997. For more than 20 years, the team at Land Title of America has been providing St. Augustine their experience, knowledge, and work ethic. Specializing in residential, commercial and distressed properties, they’re a one stop shop, able to provide all title insurance products on location – including, but not limited to, title searching, title underwriting, mobile home transfers and retirements, document preparation necessary to the issuance of title insurance, and policy issuing. Because they don’t need to depend on third party providers, this streamlines the process and offers customers quick, reliable and efficient service.
Building trusting relationships with current and potential clients is at the core of what the team at Land Title of America does. Customers are the most important part of their work, so their expert service is always reliable, courteous, and accurate. Whether by email, phone, text, or just a visit to the office, the team strives to be accessible whenever they’re needed to resolve concerns or problems. “I love to help people. Whether they are a first time home buyer or a seasoned real estate investor, I love helping people safely maneuver through the minefields of a real estate transaction and insuring that transaction from the myriad of risks that exist,” says Stephen. “We care about our town, community, county, and State and the people who live here and we want to make sure that everyone who owns real estate is wearing their financial seatbelt also known as an owners title insurance policy.”
Powell Heating & Air Conditioning
Andrew Gause, Mona Stout
2610 Dobbs Road
State Certified CAC053851
Despite still being springtime, the Florida heat is already showing face, and St. Augustinians everywhere are looking ahead to summer. Of course, this doesn’t only mean packing the beach essentials and applying sunscreen – it also means getting your home ready for the heat with Powell Heating & Air Conditioning’s semi-annual maintenance service. Over the past few months, the mild weather has kept heating and air bills down, but the ever-increasing temperatures means your system needs to get ready to run again. Powell’s highly-trained and experienced team will take a proactive approach by making sure drain lines are clean, changing filters, and performing the routine maintenance necessary to get you ready for summer.
Andrew has been with the company for more than twenty years, starting as an installation helper at 19 and moving through the ranks of each department before becoming manager of the company. Mona Stout has kept the office and its people running for almost a decade. Together, Mona and Andrew guide the Powell team to ensure the best experience for each client they serve. From the employees in the office to the technicians in the field, every person receives top-notch training to perform their job with excellence and deliver a level of service that is of the highest quality. Whether through expertise, the newest technology, or a commitment to 24-hour service and accessibility, Powell stands out as the leader in the local industry because they are dedicated to offering an unmatched experience
Stephanie D. Hollis, M.D.
55 South Dixie Highway
We spend most of our 24 hours a day in only a few spaces. Dr. Stephanie Hollis believes that we should love those spaces, and that’s what prompted the establishment of Design, M.D. The owners and founders of Solar Stik, Stephanie and her husband moved to St. Augustine in 2004 when Stephanie accepted a job at Flagler Hospital. In her 20 years as a physician, she has honed great communication and organizational skills which have been a huge asset in her design work – easily interpreting clients’ design desires and imparting them to contractors and tradesmen. “I am able to combine my passion for creating amazing interiors and focal points with drilling down on what a client’s unique and perfect space would look like,” says Stephanie. “I understand the effect that the areas you spend most of your time in can have on your productivity, your peace of mind, and general emotional state. Quite simply, I help people ‘revive’ their space.”
With an education in drafting and art and 15 years of practical experience and “getting her hands dirty” with renovations, Stephanie is a master of creating bold spaces that people notice and remember. She loves using a simple installation (like a custom backsplash or wood walls) to completely transform an impersonal and generic space, and Stephanie looks for clients who seek a unique and personalized design, not just a copy of what everyone is doing in the magazines or design shows. “Interior design has become hyper-focused on creating spaces that appeal to everyone and ensures great resale,” says Stephanie, “while addressing resale is one aspect of a good design, this focus on pleasing everyone has made for safe, bland and generic design! I want people to feel connected to the spaces they spend a majority of their time in! The space should make you feel happy or energetic or relaxed or productive, but not ‘approved by the masses’.”
This Special Ad Section appeared in the April/May 2020 issue of St. Augustine Social. Photography by Leonard Blush.
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