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A birthing revival



living room

Valerie Boatman redesigned her modern contemporary living room from the furniture to the fireplace to the custom drape treatments. With wide preserve views, the living room has no television.

Couple completes home makeover in time to welcome the stork

BY GREG GARDNER | PHOTOS BY ROB DOWNEY

Valerie Boatman opened the unassuming front door at the first house on Enclave Circle and was stunned to walk into a courtyard with a pool.

“That’s it. We’re done,” she told her husband, Nick. “It is the next best thing to living on the water. I’m in the sign of water. I need to hear water. I need to see water. I am a water person.”

When the couple reached the living room, they looked to the right and saw a gold throne thought to have been from Asia. “We have to have that as part of the deal,” she said. Today, the throne sits on the left of the living room.

The couple bought the home and immediately began the transformation from a very traditional look to modern contemporary with Valerie at the design helm.

It was a race against time because the night before the couple moved in, they found out she was pregnant. The baby was to be born in the house so the work had to be done before then.

kitchen

Two very expensive impact windows replaced glass block to allow more light into the kitchen.


SHE HAD A VISION
“I knew the feng shui, but Mary Washer Designs of Palm City gave me technical advice on furniture, some do’s and don’ts,” Valerie said. “I had a vision of the things I wanted to do. It took forever to look at all those catalogues and decide.”

The first-floor living space was repainted, trimmed and wallpapered with colors and textures chosen by Valerie. The couple lived upstairs during the renovations, with most of the ground floor getting a makeover and new furniture.

The cabana with a full bath was converted into The Theater, a man cave that has a 4K projector and screen with surround sound and virtual reality capabilities.

A guest bedroom/study became an office with a large desk, which turned out to be the most expensive piece of furniture in the budget. The room’s old Publix-grade wine cabinet was sold to a Key West couple, who were opening a grocery store, she said.

Four sections of glass block were replaced with very expensive impact windows. “I had to let the light in,” Valerie said. She also designed the custom-made drapes that accent the home’s many picture windows.

master bedroom

Valerie’s design elements in the master bedroom are accented by the window light from the pool courtyard.


PLENTY OF PAMPERING
A personal trainer and former Atlanta Hawks cheerleader, Valerie wanted the bathroom to feel like a spa.

“We like spas and pampering,” she said. “All the fixtures are top-of-the-line Kohler. The shower floor has stacked stone walls and the floor has River Rock for your feet.”

Showering options include rain head, three shower heads, four body sprayers and it is a steam shower. The tub has lights that blink to the beat of mellow music (audible underwater) and it actually vibrates slightly. While touring Japan, Nick looked into different high-tech toilets and decided on a Toto WASHLET model. If you walk past the doorway, the seat goes up, one of several options.

The living room had to be perfect for the birth. “I wanted it to be Zen with the right energy,” Valerie said. “I want you to feel a breath of fresh air when you walk in the room. That is why I chose the colors, simple but powerful.”

The traditional fireplace was ripped out to make way for a custom, stacked-stone design. A cold winter night caused the stones to fall and with a child on the way, it had to be completely rebuilt.

Two dogs and a cat also were taken into consideration before the birth. “We didn’t want them to think that we just brought this baby home,” she said. “I wanted to feel the entire experience. I wanted it to be as it should be. We wanted the dogs to be a part of it.”

Daughter Baylor Boatman was born July 22, 2016, with a midwife present on the foyer above the living room. Skye, a rescued pit bull mix went to the bedroom and waited on her spot on the bed. Harley, a nervous, but loyal Chihuahua, paced around until it was over. And Tyson the cat stood up and watched from the edge of the tub while the birth occurred in 100-degree water. There was a full moon visible through the window, she said.

nursery

One upstairs bedroom was converted into Baylor’s nursery, which the 18-month-old toddler has yet to sleep in.


FRIENDS FIRST
How the couple married is somewhat of a fairy tale. They were best friends from the first grade through high school in Swansea, Ill., and actually went to the prom as friends. She was named queen and he, king runner-up. They would go off to two different colleges, but stayed in touch. He went to the 10th-year class reunion, she did not.

“I kept him in the friend zone,” she said.

They began dating and he took her to Japan and Thailand. Nick proposed to Valerie in the same gymnasium where many years earlier in middle school he had told his grandmother, “I am going to marry that girl someday.” A year later, they were married and a year later Baylor was born.

After selling his interest in a rehab center in South Florida, Boatman began working in New Jersey, alternating one week there and one week at the home they call Boatman Abode. The couple have reluctantly put the house on the market to move to New Jersey where they can be together full time.

“We love this house,” she said. “If we could pick it up and move it to New Jersey, we would.”

The 4,000-square-foot home in PGA Village is listed with Kay Rodriguez at Lang Realty for $1.189 million.