Compound Interest

Inspired by the architecture of Tuscan hill towns in Italy, this sprawling, 13,819-square-foot estate in Martin County, Fla., is designed to function as a family 'compound.' It includes a 9,990-square-foot, two-story primary residence and a smaller yet...

February 01, 2002


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Inspired by the architecture of Tuscan hill towns in Italy, this sprawling, 13,819-square-foot estate in Martin County, Fla., is designed to function as a family "compound." It includes a 9,990-square-foot, two-story primary residence and a smaller yet no less remarkable guesthouse outfitted with all the amenities of the main home, including its own swimming pool.


What seems to be a single rambling estate is actually two luxury homes connected by a breezeway that unifies the separate structures into a family "compound" used by the homeowners and their parents as a South Florida getaway.
The siteÆs sloping topography made it possible to create multilevel terraces at the rear of the main residence. A cast-stone balustrade surrounds the upper-level loggia.
"You feel like you are the captain of the ship from here," Kunik says, referring to the loggia that overlooks the swimming pool and terraces at the back of the house.
Cast-stone columns stand sentinel outside the formal dining room in the main residence. The elaborate trim details, such as those used to finish the coffered ceiling, were carefully selected to reflect the look of superior quality that characterizes the entire estate, Kunik says.

Located in a secluded, gated community, both homes are designed to take full advantage of their nearly 10-acre site. Notable for its hilly topography, a very unusual feature for FloridaÆs east coast, the two-lot property also features an abundance of native flora and fauna that are reflected in the hand-painted windows gracing the entrances to both homes.

"We were able to make the most of this extraordinary property by excavating right into the existing ridge," builder Bastiaan Smallegange says. The main home is 35 feet above sea level, and while its street elevation is only 11/2 stories, the house is three stories across the back.

The siteÆs character enabled architect Mitch Kunik to design the main residence with three stories of living space and provide every floor with a spectacular vista of the Loxahachee River, which forms the propertyÆs rear boundary. "They literally have a 5-mile view looking downriver," Kunik says.

The estate is the second project on which Smallegange and Kunik have collaborated for these clients. The floor plans for both the main residence and the guesthouse are based loosely on other homes owned by the family. An arched colonnade links the Mediterranean-style duo together, creating a sense of visual continuity between the houses from the street approach.

"The breezeway unifies the design so that the homes appear as a compound rather than as separate structures," Kunik says. Still, they remain distinct from each other. Both homes have private formal entries, garages and staff quarters, in addition to entertaining and dining space.

The rotunda-style entry foyer, accented by a dome ceiling and a compass-rose inlay on the floor, is one of the most important features of the high-impact floor plan the clients desired for the main house. The foyer sets the stage for a dramatic entry into the home and provides access to the formal living and dining rooms and the library.

"This is definitely not a house for young children," Kunik says. "It is really designed to suit the ownersÆ entertainment-oriented lifestyle. Even the family room functions more as a secondary living room."

Dual master suites on separate floors provide the homeowners with private retreats. "While the decorating style is different in each suite," Kunik says, "they are equal in size, amenities and intensity." Each retreat is accessible by elevator.

The elevator also provides access to the homeÆs lowest level, which has separate his and hers offices, an elaborate billiards room and pub, and a media room.

While the second master retreat is on the upper floor, it is inaccessible from the staff quarters above the garage on the same level.

The 3,829-square-foot guesthouse "is actually the ultimate in-law suite," Kunik says. One of the most important design elements for this home was that the master suite, living areas, garage and pool all be accessible on the same level. The second floor is reserved for two guest suites connected by a loft.

Hard costs for the project, which was completed in late 2000, were $300 per square foot.

Builder | Turtle Beach Construction, North Palm Beach, Fla.

Architect | Affiniti Architects, Boca Raton, Fla.

Interior Designer | Jacar Inc. (client), Stuart, Fla.

Landscape Architect | Krent Wieland, Lake Worth, Fla.

Major Products Used | Appliances: 5-Star; Sub-Zero; Maytag; Bosch | Cabinetry: custom | Countertops: granite | Doors: Manning | Exterior Finish: stucco; cast-stone | Fireplace: cast-stone | Flooring: marble; granite | Home Controls/Automation: LiteTouch | HVAC: Trane | Plumbing Fixtures: Millers.


While the main homeÆs gourmet kitchen is outfitted as a chefÆs dream, "it is definitely designed for the eye," Smallegange says. Deeply stained walnut trim and faux marble columns provide a masculine touch in the main homeÆs lower-level game room and English pub.

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