Idea Room: Heeding the Ocean’s Call

Kari and Fred love their dream beach home.

For the past 4 1/2 years, Fred — along with his wife, Kari, and the help of many friends, co-workers, and construction workers — has made daily treks to Flagler Beach from Ocala to work on his beach home. As the owner of Too Your Health Spas in Ocala, Fred was already busy. But this didn’t keep him from realizing a long-term dream to have a place by the sea.


Fred Schweitz can’t stop smiling. As he welcomes me into his four-story Flagler Beach retreat, he has the look of a proud father. And with good reason.
“I bought this land nine years ago and love it because it’s so natural and undisturbed,” says Fred. “I wanted to build something that would express the nature and history around it.”


The home’s architectural lighthouse design gives a historic nod to both the sea and nearby St. Augustine. And any lighthouse worth its sea salt has to include a spiraling circular staircase and the Schweitz home is no exception. The white winding stairwell connects each floor to another with separate arched entrances.


“I wanted to create something that was convenient and practical,” adds Fred. “When guests are here, they have their own entrance, which gives them a sense of privacy.”


Noting the Spanish influence of arched entryways, Fred copied this style throughout the 3,300-square foot home that also boasts four bedrooms and one sitting nook.


Tumbled marble and wood floors add to the natural feeling of the home. Even the entertainment center is cleverly hidden behind an elegant built-in arched dark-stained wood cabinet. Leather couches and side chairs are strategically placed in the main living area as the perfect place to kick back and either watch some TV or listen to the ocean waves.


Accessories have historical connections, too. Two colorful stained glass windows have been reconfigured as inset light fixtures in the living and kitchen area. Fred found these at an Ocala home on Fort King Street and says they are 125 years old.


“I like to have things that have meaning to me,” adds Fred, “and if I see something I like, I just build around it.”


Fred’s personal touches are seen throughout his home — from his hand-made doors to customized fireplace panel. His front entrance garden is a work of love, too, as Fred wanted to create an instant sense of retreat the moment he drives into his dream beach home.


While Kari loves everything about their home, she finds her favorite spot is the top floor sitting nook, complete with a “stress-less” body contouring chair. Minimally decorated, only a floor lamp and a basket of magazines are within an arm’s length of the chair. For Kari, that’s enough.


“I like to go up to the nook and hide from the rest of the world,” she says, smiling.


Fred, too, is finally beginning to relax after this multi-year building project.


“I’m finally beginning to appreciate this home and come here to relax,” adds Fred, who also enjoys biking the trails and swimming in the ocean nearby.


Friends and family have benefited from the Schweitz beach home as well.


“My son, Fred III, helped me a lot in building this home,” says Fred. “I’ll always be grateful to many of my crew members from Too Your Health who worked long hours at our home, too.”


Fred and Kari share their gratitude to special friends and family by allowing them to enjoy a beach escape. When asked when construction was finally completed, Fred laughs. With a big smile, he proudly says, “I just finished it today.”

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