During a question and answer session at a recent industry conference, a home builder asked Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi for his thoughts about the labor
Pure and Simple
According to Mark Wilson, it takes a cohesive team effort to build a truly successful product.
|This 5500-square-foot home features a Mediterranean-style exterior that is highly desirable among Florida’s wealthy, second-home buyers, says builder Mark Wilson. The home also features two separate, two-car garages that project off the front on either side of the entry, creating an attractive motor court. "We find that our clients really want the space for several cars, but the mass of a four-car garage is undesirable," says Wilson.
According to Mark Wilson, it takes a cohesive team effort to build a truly successful product. He should know, as one of southern Florida’s most successful custom home builders, his firm, Naples-based London Bay Homes, builds 16 to 20 multi-million dollar residences every year in this high-end market. Even Wilson’s spec-built projects, such as this 5500-square-foot, $3.1 million golf course-oriented home sold within a few weeks after completion.
The home’s refined Mediterranean style eliminates excesses, says Wilson. "I really wanted to get away from the over-ornate look that seems to prevail in this area."
It was the precept "purifying the details" that provided the foundation for the look of this project, according to interior designer Jennifer Stephans of Romanza, a key member of the development team. Involved with this project from its initial design stage, Stephans says that the home’s strong architectural features appear to be functional elements of its construction, rather than merely applied ornamentation.
|Corner sliding glass doors in the family room provide a wonderful vista of the home’s outdoor pool and terraces, as well as of the golf course fairway beyond. This informal space is directly connected to the kitchen and includes a cozy dining nook of its own.
Wilson’s market is typically buying a second, or even third residence, so he sells every one of his turnkey homes completely furnished and decorated, including his spec models. "The communities that feature our projects have restricted builder programs, where only a handful of builders are allowed to construct homes," says Wilson. "One of their typical requirements is that we always have a furnished model available to demonstrate our work to prospective clients." London Bay also builds spec homes in other areas where they have identified a strong market potential.
This single-story home features unusually high ceilings - 25 feet in the foyer and living room, rather than the more typical 16 feet in other London Bay homes. This feature gives the interior living spaces a more formal feel, according to Wilson. "We were able to warm up these spaces by adding mahogany ceiling beams and wall trim."
|As the focal point of the luxurious master bath, the spa tub is surrounded by its own pavilion created from a combination of silver travertine, crème bahia granite and cast pewter medallions from Ann Sacks Tile. The floor features an elegant mosaic pattern. Custom maple cabinetry features a glazed finish.
The adult-oriented floor plan is well suited to entertaining, with its focal-point living room serving as the pinnacle of a very dramatic interior. The volume ceiling in this space provided Wilson with the perfect opportunity to create a striking wall of glass overlooking the rear pool terrace and golf course beyond. The living room adjoins an equally impressive formal dining room that features a groin-vaulted ceiling and antique columns. The home also features a separate wine room with its own full-height wine cooler integrated into its rustic wood cabinetry.
Corner sliding glass doors in the family room give this less formal space an equally impressive view of the home’s covered lanai and detached cabana.
The luxurious master suite, which occupies a private corner of the home’s opposite wing, features a circular window wall in its sitting area, as well as a spacious bath and dressing area.
|Designed to evoke a well-worn ambiance, this home’s kitchen features custom cabinetry finished with a distressed finish that combines paint and glaze. The tiles beneath the range hood were chosen for their rustic appearance. "They almost look as though they came from an old pizza oven," says interior designer Jennifer Stephans. The island, painted in a complementary blue finish, offers the serious chef a large work surface. Flooring is a light walnut travertine. Countertops are granite.
Two guest/caretaker suites located adjacent to each of the home’s separate, two-car garages feature full baths and walk-in closets, and provide private access to the home. A cabana, located off the rear lanai, offers a third option for overnight guests.
The home overlooks the 17th fairway in the gated golf course community, Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples. Completed in February 2000, this spec-built model sold within five weeks of completion.
Builder: Mark Wilson, London Bay Homes, Naples, Fla.
Architect: Tom Benedict, The Benedict Group, Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Interior Designer: Jennifer Stephans, Romanza, Orlando, Fla.
Major Products Used:
Appliances: Asko, Sub Zero, Dacor, DCS
Cabinetry: Quality Millwork
Countertops: India Red Granite
Exterior Finish: Stucco by Smith Plastering
Flooring: Carpet One, Creative Tile
Home Controls/Automation: ie2
Plumbing Fixtures: Grohe, Kohler, Harrington Brass
Windows: Weather Shield