Jeremy Larkin says his neighborhood in Palmetto Bay reminds him of where he grew up in Boston, with its lush foliage and variation in housing. “It’s not like some areas a residential Disneyland,” he says. “I wanted the neighborhood not the development.”

Jeremy, his wife Courtney, and their son Ethan, live in a five-bedroom, 4.5-bath, 3,623-square-foot home built in 1977. They also have two dogs they’ve rescued – Chelsea, a Border Collie mix; and Chloe, a Basset Hound and Labrador mix.

 

Jeremy, Ethan and Courtney Larkin in their kitchen

Their home typifies the casual Florida lifestyle, with a roofed patio that overlooks an expansive screened-in pool and a shady backyard with a hammock. They are far enough south that Key Largo is just a 45 minute ride away. “We love living off Old Cutler Road, it’s gorgeous,” Courtney says. “The Deering Estate is beautiful. It’s across the street.” 

Jeremy says his parents moved to Pinecrest while he was in college and he did an internship between his junior and senior year at Southeast Bank. “I determined based on the weather that I’m coming here,” he says, sitting on the patio and enjoying a glass of wine on a day when temperatures were still freezing up north. It didn’t take long to put down roots.

The Larkins rescued Chelsea and Chloe from an animal shelter. 

Just before their marriage, the Larkins were searching for a five-bedroom home when Jeremy spied a listing while having breakfast at Roasters and Toasters in the Dadeland area. “I made a call and we came over here and it was a disaster. Every room was painted a different color,” Jeremy says. “It was a circus,” adds Courtney.

An outdated kitchen, cork floors on top of two layers of tile and lingering odors from pets and smokers almost drove the couple away instantly. “We had friends who said they had to go home and take a shower after seeing it,” says Courtney. Jeremy, however, saw potential, driving his then-fiancée to tears with the suggestion that they invest in the fixer-upper.

The Larkin’s in their yard.

There was a bit of an adventure getting the crisp khaki interior paint that Courtney wanted, since it was discontinued. (A paint store in Fort Lauderdale still had a sample card to replicate it.) There were also 35 frantic messages from a contractor waiting for Jeremy when they returned from a honeymoon in Tahiti, questioning his decision to paint every room the exact same color.

When they actually visited, the house, though, the painter admitted he had fallen in love with the idea. Courtney says it’s the perfect neutral backdrop when the walls were decorated.

Ethan enjoys the slide on his playhouse.

Jeremy also figured out the Florida room originally had a bar area – a clue was a sink with plumbing on the patio – and verified that by pulling the original plans.

They soon replaced the original Florida room bar and gutted the kitchen in January 2008, two months after moving in. Like most kitchen projects, it was disruptive, but the Larkins adapted, looking forward to the finished product. Plus, Courtney says, she learned you can actually bake a cake on a gas grill.