The Madson family happened upon the St. Augustine area due to a job transfer. Previously residing in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, North Florida was a big change for the young family of five. But after Paul and Laurel Madson settled themselves and their three children, Jaclyn, Jake, and Claire, into the wonderful community of Palencia, they quickly went to work searching for a fun beach destination where they could spend family time together and “start Florida living.” Enter St. Augustine Beach!
Laurel says she had a strict list while searching for a vacation home for her family to escape to. It had to be close to home, have a view, and be within walking distance to the beach. Atlantic View street fit the bill perfectly. The Madsons had a realtor help them with the search, but by a stroke of luck, they found their current property on their own when a deal fell through on a neighboring house they had been interested in. They bought their little slice of beach paradise in 2010 only to find that mold issues would soon warrant a complete rebuild of the bungalow in 2014.
The Madsons didn’t take the news as a set back, but rather as an opportunity to grow their dream. Laurel says she and Paul were on the same page with their vision and had a lot of fun with the building process; they wanted it to have a light, airy feel with beachy colors. And a view of the gorgeous ocean that was only a stone’s throw away was a necessity. So they built up — 36 feet up! They went to the max height to be able to enjoy the magnificent third story view, where the main living space is situated.
The third floor holds the favorite living spaces for both Paul and Laurel. “Nothing’s better,” says Paul, “than enjoying a sunrise with a cup of coffee on the balcony,” but Laurel’s favorite spot is the kitchen. She loves gathering friends and family at the kitchen island where everyone can enjoy the view. She admits, “Even doing dishes is enjoyable with a view of the beach!”
Family was the focus of this home design. The second floor houses bright, roomy bedrooms, and elegant en suite bathrooms. The master baths boast porthole shower windows that bring the outside in, for a spa-like feel. The first floor offers a convenient laundry room when you return from great day at the beach, as well as a cozy family room for everyone to enjoy. There’s even a patio out back for the kids to shoot hoops!
The love and time that went into choosing the impeccable design elements is immediately evident. From lighting to artwork, this seaside home lulls you into a relaxed beach vibe the moment you walk through the door. Laurel says she loves watching design shows, and she and a friend shopped the home décor aisles of local stores to bring her seaside vision to life.
Deftly named “Island Hideaway,” the home’s beach cottage vibe flows effortlessly from one floor to the next as you admire the nautical art and stunning beach views. The cozy design is clearly on point, down to the trendy white, gray, and aqua color scheme that offers the soothing escape vacation-goers crave.
Seeing their beach home come together has been a dream come true for the Madsons. They realize how blessed they are to live in a community where it always feel like they’re on vacation. Every time they drive to their beachfront home, they still put down their phones and take in the enchanting sights of historic St. Augustine. “There’s just something about this town. It never loses it’s magic.” They don’t take living here for granted and enjoy having the opportunity to slow down and reconnect as a family in their second home. Laurel says, “the house has always allowed us to put life away for a minute.”
Now however, Jaclyn, Jake, and Claire are older and more involved in after-school activities and sports, so the Madsons adjusted their lifestyle to fit the growing kids’ ever busy and involved schedules. Unable to escape to the beach as often as before as well as the desire to make some changes to their current home has led the Madson family to list their beach house with Vacasa Rental Properties.
Choosing to rent out such a dream home was certainly not an easy decision, but it has given the Madsons the opportunity to extend the destination living lifestyle they so love to other families and have their home be the backdrop of another family’s vacation memories. It captures not only the laid-back atmosphere of St. Augustine, but the comfort of family. They’re happy to be able to give visitors an experience of the city and the beach that feels like a home away from home.
And clearly, Island Hideaway is not your average vacation rental. Each element of design was chosen with love and an artistic eye, keeping comfort and enjoyment in mind. And it’s evident that renters appreciate the extra touches, as the home has been rented over 45 times since it was listed in January!
They’ve enjoyed priceless family memories created in every part of the city and have found that “one dream fuels the next.” Renting their beach property allows them to pursue building a new dream home for their family to grow into and digging their St. Augustine roots even deeper into the sandy soil.
The Madsons feel blessed to have found the St. Augustine community. They’re all convinced that it has become their forever home and they’re honored to share their beachfront paradise with others looking for an Island Hideaway vacation.
Photography by Ed Taylor