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Vacation-style living in a Florida island villa

Cruising with friends 25 years ago, Fred and Connie Boos discovered their personal tropical paradise: Useppa Island on Florida’s west coast.

The house has an 80-foot dock and a large first-floor porch.

“It was unbelievable, right here in our own backyard, and it flies the American flag,” says Boos, whose business is based in Tampa, Florida.

“We were so taken with the incredible people, activities, lifestyle and sense of community that we bought a home here. Later we bought this house, with its 270-degree water views.”

Useppa Island is on the National Register of Historic Places because of its documented 10,000-year history. Its inhabitants have included Calusa Indians, followed by pirates; Gilded Age tycoons seeking great tarpon fishing, extensive boating and a respite from Northern winters; and later, planners of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Now it’s a privately owned club and luxury resort. Current residents and guests in the restored century-old Collier Inn, 110 modern cottages and villas arrive by private yacht or the daily shuttles from Useppa’s shoreside base at Bocilla Marina on Pine Island, 5 miles away.

Pink coquina shell paths thread Useppa Island for walking or golf carts (no cars), enhancing the seclusion, privacy and peaceful Old Florida ambience.

The Booses enjoyed their 3,100-square-foot attached villa for years, visited by their grown children and grandchildren. Now they want to downsize. Their furnished waterfront four-bedroom, 3-1/2-bath home on 0.9 acres with 90-foot water frontage and a shared dock on Useppa Harbor is on the market for $1.295 million.

“Everything was re-engineered, upgraded and rebuilt after Hurricane Charley struck in 2004,” says Boos, who is 76. “New impact-resistant windows and shutters, 150-mph siding, standing seam roof, additional bracing, all new sheetrock, flooring, appliances, substantial new firewall between the two villas, new dock decking. … Now the house is pretty much maintenance-free.”

The entry is a spacious waterfront porch opening into the ground floor, the location of a guest master bedroom with an en-suite bath, two guest bedrooms (one used as a den) and another bath.

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The second floor is a great room, divided into areas by the furniture arrangements. A wood-burning fireplace, flanked by built-in bookcases, is the focal point of the living area’s interior wall. One waterfront alcove contains a dining area; another provides water views for the kitchen, which has a granite-topped central storage island and matching wood cabinetry.

The great room’s sliding glass pocket doors open to the second-floor waterfront screened porch, where they frequently entertain while Boos grills.

The third floor gives the carpeted master suite an “unbelievable water view,” Connie’s favorite. Boos designed the layout, including a bedroom fireplace, the master bath’s glass shower, which offers harbor views, and an adjacent office.

All residents are members of the Useppa Island Club, and home buyers require approval from the club. Taxes on the asking price would be about $17,000. Monthly club dues are $549.

Brian and Mary McColgan, (239) 410-7850, of Michael Saunders & Co., Useppa Island, Florida lists the house.

March 2015 issue