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Welcome to Shangri-la



living room

One of the favorite rooms in the Sandpiper Bay home of Al Broeg and his wife, Marcia, is the family TV room with its comfortable theater style seating.

Sandpiper Bay home has the feel of a resort with comfort, fine wine, cookery and entertainment

BY GREG GARDNER | PHOTOS BY ROB DOWNEY

Al Broeg just can’t stop remodeling and upgrading his Sandpiper Bay home. Built from his design in 1997, the home Broeg calls “Shangri-la” is a spacious abode for entertaining as many as a hundred people. “This is a livable house for two and it was not designed for kids,” he says. “This is my last house. I never planned on leaving this house.”

Walking through the beautiful, stained-glass front doors, the first reaction is, “Wow,” as you see through the living room across the patio to the pool with sheer descent waterfalls. To the left is the dining room, enormous kitchen and family room. To the right is a huge wine wall that holds 1,200 bottles. The décor around the home is a mixture of art dedicated to golf and fishing.

wine wall

The couple have taken up wine enjoyment as a hobby after building this wine wall, which can be accessed by a computer program to locate a particular bottle by name, age or type.


Flora around the home is exquisite, handled by Guerne Landscaping. At night the lighting around the property makes it stand out on the quiet street. “We tear out landscaping and add new plants,” says Broeg, a partner in the Harpers Pub establishments in Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Situated on a high-treed, half-acre lot in the original Sandpiper Bay estate section of Port St. Lucie, the home has 3,000 square feet under air conditioning with a total of 4,500 under roof. From top to bottom, Shangri-la has been transformed into a comfortable home for entertaining with 48 seats inside and out.

The shingles were replaced with a $30,000 metal roof accented by the gray exterior walls. Original carpet was replaced with hardwood flooring and ceramic tile; travertine tile overlays the kitchen.

Broeg has always painted the house himself, but the latest paint job was completed by a contractor with attractive trim colors. Just before the 2004 hurricanes, the pool and spa were added. On this particular day, the American flag on a pole in the backyard was flying at half-staff in honor of Sen. John McCain. There is a 150-foot buffer between the backyard and a nearby Walmart. “We finally got the landscaping right because we didn’t want to look at that wall,” Broeg points out. “They’ve been good neighbors. Every once in a while a plastic bag will blow into the yard, but that is about it.”

fireplace room

The fireplace room, as it is known, is a study that can also serve as an extra bedroom for visiting company.


The driveway was stamped to look like cobblestone. Instead of a solid wall forming the side of the garage, a window was added to give the home much more curb appeal. The garage doors were replaced with impact doors, and it now has air conditioning. At the last family Christmas dinner, drapes were hung around the garage and 25 people ate at tables so everyone could eat together, Broeg says.

“I like to cook, and I made Chilean sea bass, prime rib and honey baked ham,” he says. “I was able to prepare some of it in advance.”

When the house was built, the countertops were Formica and later replaced with dark granite. “Dark counters are a pain to take care of. You can see everything,” he says. Those countertops were replaced with a lighter quartz, which gives the kitchen a bright, airy feel. There are dozens of drawers with a large island, under-counter lighting and breakfast bar. All of the appliances are new and state-of-the-art. The old stove was replaced with a Wolf propane gas cooktop.

Throughout the home, Broeg replaced all of the ceiling lights with recessed six-by-six-inch square, high-efficiency LED lights. Conventional windows with accordion shutters were removed for the installation of impact windows. The new windows muffle the sound from the AC compressor. While the lanai is hurricane-proof with roll-down shutters, there is also a full-house generator.

There are 12 ceiling fans throughout the house, including two enormous Big Ass Fans on the lanai. Some have been added and some have been replaced. “I like fans,” Broeg remarks. “They don’t cool the house, but they do cool the person.”

pool

The carefully manicured landscaping around the pool is highlighted by lighting that changes color at night. GREG GARDNER PHOTO


The family room has a recessed entertainment center flanked on either side with paintings by Fort Pierce’s celebrated Highwaymen artists. The master bedroom suite, with his and hers closets and a very large bathroom, opens out to the lanai. The fireplace room with a foldout couch can be used as a guest bedroom.

The physical footprint of the house hasn’t changed, but the look inside the front door has. Gone is the pool table, which Broeg gave away. “The wine moved out the pool table,” he says. Complete with a EuroCave chiller, the wine wall is accessible using a computer program to track a specific bottle.

“When I first met Al, he wasn’t a wine drinker,” says wife Marcia. “He doesn’t buy one, he buys 10. We built the wall and it is a wonderful hobby. This is our home and it feels so good. Everything works. It is like being in a resort. It is a resort. You have to maintain the house, and Al does a great job of that.”

Broeg adds, “This is our own little Shangri-la.”