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At home with nature



Living room

Huge windows light the spacious great room and hardwood ceilings. The staircase at right leads to the second-floor bedrooms and a full view from above to the living area below. ROB DOWNEY PHOTO

Secluded estate offers haven for all things wet and wild

BY GREG GARDNER

When George and Marie DeAngelis stumbled onto the house at the end of Gullotti Place, they knew it was time to trade in their steel horses for real horses.

Nestled against the Savannas Preserve State Park two miles from the congested U.S. 1, the two-story ranch house might as well be 20 miles away from the rest of Port St. Lucie. Longtime Harley-Davidson riders, the couple sold their motorcycles and bought two horses, Shadow and Spirit.

In their biker years, the DeAngelises used a “toy hauler” to take their bikes for rides around the country to visit three national parks and the annual Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle pilgrimage.

aerial

Hidden away at the end of the street, the DeAngelis farm includes paddocks, horse stalls and small island surrounded by a pond stocked with fish.


As George was riding around, he discovered the secluded property for sale. When they bought the home 11 years ago, they set out to transform the 2.5 acres into their own animal farm. They fenced the property, added a pool and a patio and built a garage/horse barn. “The house had been neglected and it needed a lot of finishing work,” Marie says.

It is a quiet neighborhood where residents like the dirt roads so they don’t have to shoe their horses. The DeAngelis estate has direct access to 52 miles of trails in the Savannas, but with that comes the wildlife.

ALL THE WILD THINGS

“This is a no-kill facility,” says Marie, who walks across the bridge daily to feed catfish, tilapia, koi and blue gill in the pond. “I feed all the birds. I do love animals. We had geese and chickens. The chickens were my friends. They have personalities. A neighbor gave us a goose and he was pretty nasty. He attacked my friend’s husband and it was a scene trying to get the goose off of him. (The goose) used to sleep on the patio until a raccoon got him.”

When otters ate all the fish in the stocked pond for the third time, George put up a fence to keep them out. Also coming and going are gopher tortoises, bobcats, wild boar, deer, ospreys, cranes and herons.

kitchen

Remodeled with granite countertops and appliances, the kitchen has a center island that is moveable. To separate his property into paddocks and grazing fields, DeAngelis had fences built and painted.


Marie also raised a gaggle of geese that followed her every night to the third horse stall where they slept. “They followed me everywhere,” she says. “Every morning I would clean horse and goose poop.”

When Shadow became sick and died, the couple realized Spirit was lonely and they knew they had to give him to someone who had other horses. Until then, the two horses were the lawn mowers as they were moved around to graze in various paddock areas.

TONS OF LIVING SPACE

George designed the garage with high doors to house a Ford F-350 pickup. He has had as many as four cars inside. A walk-around attic is used for storage. The back of the 1,600-square-foot building has three stalls and a tack room. A former subway maintenance supervisor for the New York City Transit Authority, George is quite handy at making repairs around the farm. Marie refers to him as the maintenance man. He has built a pump roof that doubles as solar panels to heat the pool. Marie stopped riding, but she continued to take care of the horses. “I didn’t ride; I just cleaned,” she says.

master bedroom

Intricate yet beefy woodwork has created the master bedroom nook with pleasant views from the windows.


Tiled porches encircle the main house. Other than new paint, the couple didn’t do much to the interior of the 3,800-square-foot home, which has ornate woodwork and visible beams throughout. They did add new countertops and appliances to the kitchen, which opens out to the patio and pool. When Marie’s father came to live with them, they remodeled the downstairs bathroom with rails to make it handicapped accessible.

Solidly constructed, the main house is reinforced concrete block covered with hardy plank. Exposed wooden beams give the interior ceiling a warm, country look.

POPULAR, CRAZY CASA

The stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the living room with the balcony behind it and a striking entranceway from the patio. Three enormous windows give the living room a bright and airy vibe. A beautiful wooden staircase rises to the second floor and the master bedroom and two guest bedrooms. One of Marie’s favorite places in the house is the covered, screened porch off the master bedroom with great sunrise views of the pond and island.

George and Marie also completed the finishing touches on all of the home’s closets. Carpet was ripped out throughout the home and replaced with tile and hardwood flooring. The house has a homey, western feel throughout.

“My dream was to put in an elevator, but that didn’t happen,” Marie says. “Every morning I walk outside and say to myself, ‘How lucky am I.’ ”

The couple spent the first four years in the home customizing the property to their liking. They have spent the past 11 years entertaining friends, children and grandchildren with the large pool always a big hit. “It is my crazy casa,” she says. “You never know who will come and stay here. We wanted more privacy and we love it back here.”

“It is peaceful and quiet with no neighbors,” George says. “You don’t have to bring it to a committee when you want to paint your house. We don’t have to answer to anyone to work on a car or do a project. I am going to miss the openness.”

The DeAngelises have decided to sell the farm, downsize and travel throughout the U.S. and Europe. The listing is by Pam Misiano of Lang Realty for $579,000.