Aged to Perfection

Although it is located in central Florida, far from its Mediterranean design roots, this grand villa could rival its European counterparts in terms of style, detailing and luxurious appointments.

August 01, 2002


Although it is located in central Florida, far from its Mediterranean design roots, this grand villa could rival its European counterparts in terms of style, detailing and luxurious appointments. The home even includes an underground wine cellar, a rarity in this part of the country.

The design and building teams spent considerable time researching European source books to incorporate details into the home that would lend authenticity to its interior living spaces, builder Rial Jones says. These details include custom ceilings, light fixtures, tile patterns, molding profiles and wall finishes.

“The client wanted his home to reflect his passions,” says Jones. The owner maintains an extensive collection of architectural antiques as well as another of fine wines.


One of the home’s most unusual features is the 3,000-bottle wine cellar. Located 10 feet below ground, it serves as a remarkable example of customization.

“The client not only wanted a real, true cellar, but he wanted it to function as entertaining space so that he could host dinner parties down there,” Jones says. “While this may not be difficult to achieve in other parts of the country, in this area, where the water table is only 2 feet below ground, it is really unheard-of.”

Jones incorporated the cellar into a specially fabricated concrete vault underground. The vault is surrounded by an elaborate drainage and pumping system that keeps the room naturally cool and dry.

“It was an extremely expensive endeavor to achieve,” Jones says, “but the client got the unique and realistic space that was important to him.”


The living space in the 10,710-square-foot home strikes a balance between impressive formal entertaining areas and comfortable personal spaces, a winning combination for a client who loves to entertain. The main floor of the two-story home includes formal living and dining rooms, a large, airy kitchen and a more casual great room. Retreat spaces include a separate library and a media room.

The luxuriously appointed master suite, complete with exercise facilities, and a separate secondary suite are at opposite ends of the main floor to afford maximum privacy for the homeowner and his guests. The upper floor includes additional guest rooms and what Jones calls a “fun room,” a large game room that includes a wet bar and an outdoor deck.

Sunken Treasure

• The staircase leading down to the wine cellar is an example of the painstaking attention to detail that was paid to creating an authentic cellar. Each of the solid-oak treads was sandblasted to give it a worn appearance that hints at years of use.

• The wine cellar contains a 15-foot-long antique wine table that the homeowner imported from Europe especially for this space. The table is so large it had to be positioned in the cellar during the initial stages of construction. The room was completed around it.

• In addition to dining space, the cellar includes a humidor, wet bar and half-bath.

• The walk-in humidor includes its own environmental control system that includes cooling and air filtration.

• Glass doors display the homeowner’s extensive wine collection while keeping it in a carefully controlled environment to maintain quality.

• The homeowner maintains a computerized inventory of his wine collection so he can track the age, freshness and location of each bottle as well as the ideal time to serve it.

• Recessed lighting accents the room’s plaster, groin-vaulted ceiling.

• An imported antique cabinet was used as the base for the wet bar.

• Dry-stack Tennessee fieldstone adds a rustic accent to the cellar’s entry and walls.

• The cellar’s wrought-iron chandelier and the detailing accenting the antique entry door were designed and crafted especially for this project.

Style of Home| Tuscan Mediterranean

Location| Orlando, Fla.

Total Square Footage| 10,710 (air-conditioned), 16,464 (under roof)

Market Value| $5 million

Hard Costs| $450 per square foot (excluding land)

Builder| Jones Clayton Construction, Orlando

Architect| Johnson Estate Designs, Maitland, Fla.

Interior Designer| Marc-Michaels Interiors, Winter Park, Fla.

Wine Cellar Designer| ZipCo Environmental Services, Philadelphia

Major Products Used| Appliances: U-Line, Viking | Cabinetry: Millwork International, custom | Countertops: United Tile and Marble | Doors: custom, Pozzi | Fireplace: Mantles and Stone | Flooring: United Tile and Marble | Carpeting: Tanya and Co. | Home Controls/Automation: Lutron | HVAC (whole house): Trane | Lighting: Arte de Mexico | Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler, Peerless, St. Thomas | Garage Door: Clopay | Windows: Pozzi | Roofing: Monier Lifetile

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