Four Bedroom Neoclassical Style House Plan - HOMEPW03692

Case Study in Home Building

The images on this page may or may not correspond to the owner-specific modifications described in this case study. Please check the floor plans carefully on the product detail page.

Four Bedroom Neoclassical Style Home Plan - HOMEPW03692 - Front View       Black and White Rendering of Home Plan HOMEPW03692

Sarasota, FL

Owner-specific modifications:

  • Changed layout of kitchen and added double ovens, six-burner gas stove, island with vegetable sink and vacuum system
  • Converted library into gentlemen's study/media room
  • Used sliding doors instead of French doors in family room to access veranda
  • Converted upper-floor bedrooms into guest suites
  • Converted upper-floor study into common room/TV room
  • Added swimming pool to backyard
  • Added 350-sq.-ft. summer kitchen with full bath
  • Added 3,500-sq.-ft. hangar
  • Used claw-foot tub in master suite, rather than spa tub

When Robert and Mollie Nelson of Sarasota, Fla., decided to build their dream home, they had no idea the attention it would draw. Now, two years after its completion, the home has taken on a life of its own and become famous, having been featured in such publications as the New York Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Television-watchers may have seen it featured on the Fine Living Channel or on PBS.

The story of this magnificent home began several years ago, when Robert and Mollie took a trip to New Orleans. A book of historic homes from the area caught Mollie's eye, and she was inspired by the beauty of these homes. Having no plans to build a new house—the couple had already built four homes together—Mollie simply bought the book as a fun read. Shortly after their trip, however, they were in Ocala, Fla., visiting friends who were developing an aviation, or fly-in, community. The retired couple—Robert, from broadcasting, and Mollie, from banking—decided that with their 12-year-old daughter, Kayla, they would be among the first people to buy a lot and use it as a getaway home, with the hopes of inspiring others to join the community. The next step was to choose a home plan. Mollie and Robert knew exactly what kind of home they wanted after being inspired by the historic homes in Mollie's book. The couple met with a few architects and tried to get their ideas on paper, but they couldn't get it quite right. Then Mollie discovered Plan HOMEPW03692 at www.homeplans.com. "It was love at first sight!" Mollie exclaimed. "I knew it was the perfect place to start."

Plan HOMEPW03692 is the brainchild of designer Edsel Breland. Edsel grew up in the Deep South and is heavily influenced by the historical homes found in Mississippi and Louisiana, which he says give off a warm and welcoming feeling that is unlike any other style of home. Of Plan HOMEPW03692, Edsel states, "The design is perfectly suited for grand entertaining, with a layout that allows a flow from every part of the home's main rooms onto graceful verandas." He adds, "For the romantic, it is a wonderful home to create a lifetime of experiences."

This grand home was a perfect fit for Jumbolair Aviation Estates, a fly-in community located deep in the heart of Florida's horse country and home to the largest private, residential airstrip in the country. At 7,550 feet in length, the airstrip is capable of accommodating a Boeing 747. Within the estate's 600 acres, a bed-and-breakfast can be found, along with equestrian facilities, a fitness center, tennis courts and a ballroom.

Mollie says that her family tries to get out to their "retreat" home at least once a month. She likes to go there to get centered, saying, "It's so peaceful!" Kayla likes to go there to ride her horse. The family has two planes that they keep in their 3,500-square-foot hangar, which they added to the plan. While Robert has had his pilot's license for many years, Mollie only recently got hers. "So many people asked me if I was a pilot that I finally decided to do it," she says with a laugh.

Robert and Mollie chose W.G. Mills, Inc., a well-known construction company in Florida, as their builder since the contractor had built their home in Sarasota, and the Nelsons knew they could trust them to do the job right. The Nelsons began construction on their home in July 2003 and moved in 11 months later. They named their stunning new home "Kayla's Landing," after their daughter.

The tour of this amazing home begins with its traditional facade. The curb appeal is unbelievable, according to Mollie, who says guests are lured to the house by the exterior features. The style of home is best described by Edsel as "pure Southern." Stacked porches—which hold rocking chairs where folks can enjoy the view of the spectacular runway—shuttered windows and soaring dormers create a grand, yet welcoming, feel. Once the front door is opened to guests, Mollie boasts, "They are excited to get inside just to see the rest!" She adds, "Imagine opening the door to a first-time visitor to your new home and having them peering around you to hurriedly get their first glimpse of the home."

Edsel attributes the attraction of the home to the plan's symmetry and sight lines. He explains, "There is a focal sight line that extends from the very center of the front porch through the family room to the rear veranda. Every component of the home is perfectly balanced on both sides of that dividing line. The visual sight line acts like a magnet drawing the visitor to explore."

Upon entering the home, guests first notice the amazing circular staircase. Just into the left of the foyer lies a library, which the Nelsons converted into a "gentlemen's study," which has the look and feel of an old cigar room. Mollie warns not to be fooled by this, however, because hidden behind retractable curtains lies a fully functional media room, equipped with a large-screen TV and other entertainment equipment.

Circular Staircase - HOMEPW03692         Family Room from Home Plan HOMEPW03692

Beyond the gorgeous staircase lies the stunning family room. Appropriate for entertaining adults or hosting Kayla's sleepovers, Mollie says this room is also perfect for the holidays, able to accommodate not one, but two, Christmas trees—"one which reaches the second-floor landing."

Although the family room is hard to outdo, the rear veranda can give it a run for its money. Mollie claims, "It would be most difficult to say which space is the best—inside or outside." She explains that Edsel made sure the covered areas were "just right: not too big, not too small, but perfect; no wasted space." Mollie enjoys spending time on the veranda, where she says, "I love the early morning—the time before anyone else is up—and I am sitting outside with my first cup of coffee, organizing my day in the sunrise. . . . It doesn't get much better than that!"

Rear Veranda - HOMEPW03692         Kitchen - HOMEPW03692

The veranda is also accessible from another important room in the home—the kitchen, which Mollie calls "a showstopper." The Nelsons made several modifications to the kitchen to personalize it, including adding a small island with a vegetable sink. A large six-burner gas stove and double ovens were also added. The Nelsons chose copper for the main sink as well as for the matching vegetable sink. The Nelsons' contractor, Steve Hepfer, added a special touch in the kitchen: a central vacuum outlet. With this feature installed, you simply flip the vacuum switch, which is located on the wall, and you sweep your pile into an "automatic dustpan" vent in the baseboard of the cupboard. Cleaning has become a snap!

Master Bedroom Suite - HOMEPW03692         Master Bath - HOMEPW03692

After a busy day or a long flight home, Robert and Mollie enjoy retreating to the luxurious master suite. Taking up an entire wing of the main floor, the suite includes a private sitting area with a fireplace and a spacious private bath with his-and-hers walk-in closets, back-to-back vanities and a makeup table. The bath even includes something Mollie has always wanted: a claw-foot tub, which she declares is the focal point of the bath. Another standout feature is the steam shower—"handy after long, dehydrating flights," Mollie says. Right next door to the master suite is a guest room, which the Nelsons converted into Kayla's bedroom, so she could be close by them. Kayla's room features a walk-in closet and a private bath.

On the upper floor, the plan originally called for two mirror-image bedrooms that share a common study area. Mollie and Robert use the bedrooms as guest suites and the study as a common room for guests. Mollie explains, "The guest suites provide a retreat for our guests—a place to relax and recharge—perfect for visiting family to have their own space." With one of the suites being decorated in a more feminine style, and the other in a masculine style, these rooms easily suit all of their guests. The common area between the suites holds a TV, a game table, a chaise lounge and access to the front balcony.

With all of the amazing features this home has, Mollie can't choose a favorite. Instead, what she loves the most is simply "the feeling of home that everyone who enters the front door feels. It's something you hope to achieve, but this house does it." Mollie also points out, "It's obvious to everyone who sees this home that it is just that—a home, not a house." She attributes this to Edsel Breland's plan, the contractors from W.G. Mills and every detail from their electronics to interior designs. She claims they had "the winning team" to build this home.

Mollie says she would recommend stock plans to anyone, saying, "This service is perfect for today's busy lifestyles—custom homes with the added convenience of tried-and-true, adaptable plans that we could customize for our family's needs." She also enjoyed working with Edsel Breland and his plans. "Working with Edsel was very easy. He is a knowledgeable, as well as an experienced, professional. His plans are ideal: easy to understand, adapt and implement." Steve Hepfer is also a fan of Edsel's plans, saying, "I would never hesitate in recommending Edsel's designs."

As for the future of Kayla's Landing, the Nelsons plan to enjoy it for years to come. "I can't think of anything that I would change in this house if I rebuilt it—it's too perfect!" Mollie exclaims.

With those sentiments, it's no wonder the house has become so famous. These jet-setters better get used to fame.

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