Story

The Kitty Castle Is A Dream With A View

June 23, 2015 by Jill Tanner

It was the summer of 1986 when David and Susan Lowery visited South Walton for the first time. Traveling from Dallas, with little money to spare, they remember it as the first family vacation they could afford.

While staying in Sandestin, they saw an advertisement for Bud and Alley’s and found their way to the restaurant on Scenic 30A. One visit was all it took and they began staying in Seaside as often as possible.

In 2005 Susan joined the SoWal locals and long-distance beach lovers by becoming a regular on the SoWal Forum as "SueShore". Soon after she became better known as "Miss Kitty" - due to her forum avatar - an elegant bespectacled cat with a frizzy purple wig. She's always frequented the forum to stay up to date with the “goings-on” in her favorite beach locale. Most of her friends at the beach know her as "Miss Kitty", rather than Susan.

 

After 25 years of visiting the area, Susan and David decided to make it official and buy a home. Karen Wagner of Premier Property Group, one of their good friends, showed them an assortment of homes in different neighborhoods. Their only real requirements were  that it had to be in a non-rental community and have a view. Karen showed them a home by Little Red Fish Lake. It wasn't "the one", but they fell in love with the quaint community. So after a little research, Karen suggested a lot for sale, suitable to build their dream home.
 
Susan says of Little Red Fish Lane, “It was the cutest street name I had ever heard, and I wanted it on my stationary.”

 

In terms of planning, they wanted an interior designer who they knew and trusted on board from the beginning, so Susan and David hired Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors. The next decision was to contract Jeff Dungan of Dungan and Nequette Architects of Mountain Brook, Al. Since the view was very important, the couple took a ride up in a “cherry picker” on the heavily-wooded lot to see what they could see. And what a view! With all the pieces in place, the plans were drawn and the “Kitty Castle” was on its way. Now, to find the right builder.

 

In the spring of 2013 there were a few builders found to bid on the project, but only really one choice. Alan Ficarra of Ficarra Builders was the obvious pick for them.
 
Susan says, “Alan is very detailed oriented and quite the perfectionist. He understood exactly what we wanted.”

 

 

Alan has been building beautiful, high quality, structurally-sound homes from Destin to Panama City Beach since 1986. Alan’s teamwork approach gives him the upper hand in building dream beach homes. He works closely with the architect and homeowner to deliver exactly what they want and ensure all goals are met.
 
“The foundation is quite involved. It’s a fortress, and the neighbors all say they know where they will go if a storm hits,” Alan says with pride.
 
Susan chimes in, “the neighbors can’t say enough about the cleanliness and upkeep of our site by the Ficarra crew.”
 
The house is an impressive work in progress, and moving along quickly. The pool went in first, as to not disrupt the foundation later. The house also features a large wrap-around porch upstairs, a large pool room, an over-sized garage, a master bedroom and bathroom, two guest bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, a formal dining room, living room, office and an elevator. The 3,600 square-foot home will be ideal for not only living, but entertaining as well. To top it off, the rooftop terrace will offer a place to escape with breathtaking views of Little Redfish Lake, dunes, and the Gulf.

 

“Thank God we hired Alan. He has saved us money, been a great communicator and nothing is impossible in his eyes,” Susan boasts of her builder, and now, friend.
 
Having been married for 38 years, and raising two children, Sara and Stephen, this duo looks forward to moving to SoWal full time in a few years when David retires. As of now, they will have to enjoy South Walton part time as they divide their lives between SoWal and Dallas. 

 

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Jill Tanner

Jill is a long-time SoWal local transplanted from Georgia. Jill enjoys writing movie scripts in her bit of spare time.

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