ABOUT THE HOME
Location: Estuary at Grey Oaks
Builder: BCB Homes, Inc.
Size: 6,700-square-feet; five bedrooms, five baths and two half-baths.
The Joe and Mary Smallwood home in Grey Oaks has been certified Green by the NAHB Research Center, an affiliate of the National Home Builders Association, and by the Florida Green Building Coalition. It received FPL’s BuildSmart certification for exceeding state-mandated energy performance standards.
In addition to alleviating environmental concerns, energy-efficient homes fight the rising costs of energy. Joe points to an engineering study showing that his home would have an annual electric bill of $9,500 if built to minimum standards set by Florida’s building code. Instead, it’s slated for an annual bill of $5,200.
Among its many “green” features:
* Many of the home’s energy-efficient appliances are Energy Star® rated, which means they use less electricity to operate.
* Closet cabinetry is wood to prevent off-gassing common with laminate-faced pressed-wood closet systems.
* High-efficiency — 19 SEER — air conditioning equipment includes programmable thermostats to cool the home when people are in it and to maintain minimal humidity when they are not. Ducts are tightly sealed with mastic.
* The material used on the home’s exterior is an arcus plaster, another green feature. The color selected is applied prior to application. Once sealed, it never needs repainting.
* A super-efficient water heating system includes solar water heating, which saves electricity during the day.
* When the Crestron Away feature is on, the televisions, lights and pool pumps turn off and the air conditioning is set to a higher temperature. Low voltage lighting is used indoors and out, including landscape lighting. Interior lighting is on dimmers.
* Glass is shaded by landscaping, rooflines, awnings and shutters on southern and western exposures, which reduces the amount of solar radiation absorbed.
* Drip irrigation greatly reduces water consumption and saves money.
Joe and Mary Smallwood had children in mind when they designed their home in Estuary at Grey Oaks. With sons Zachary and Brennan, now 5 and 3, they had outgrown a 2,000-square-foot home in the Moorings. The couple’s wish list included surfaces that could take a beating — even in formal areas — with eco-safe materials and spaces for lots of activity.
The result is an upscale residence with a relaxed finesse. The grand salon just beyond the foyer is defined by a soaring 24-foot tongue-and-groove cypress cathedral ceiling. A serene view of the pool, comfortable seating and a fireplace convey warmth. Syrian limestone presents a striking transition to the kitchen. The entire space — the heart of the home — is wide open.
Joe Smallwood, president of BCB Homes, talks about points of construction. The floor-to-ceiling windows are not the monolithic plates of tinted glass that Florida homes usually sport. Two layers of glass — the interior layer laminated — benefit from a pocket of inert gas between, a combination that blocks the sun’s heat and damaging UV rays, he points out. In this structure that’s filled with windows, French doors and motorized sliding doors, you won’t feel a draft.
The science of the building method keeps Florida’s humidity out and fresh air in. The attic is non-vented with insulation applied directly to the underside of the roof, making the attic almost as cool as the rest of the home. Concrete-block construction and foam insulation also keep moisture out.
Mary Smallwood’s tour begins in the most peaceful rooms. The home’s study is done in wood paneling, with a spiral staircase to a second-story library and paintings by Michael Modern, her brother. The master bedroom is another oasis: Cool whites with silver accents, mirrored night tables and a silvery silk duvet lend a glamorous retro style. In place of the familiar wall-to-wall carpeting that allergens love, dark-stained flooring is used here and throughout the home.
“I wanted the flooring to be as dark and distressed as possible because the boys and the dog (Mack, a feisty Labrador) play on it,” explained Mary.
“We wanted to make sure that the glue sealing the layers of wood was safe, so we had it tested at the University of Florida.”
In the master bath, silver-veined Calcutta Gold marble and dark-stained cabinetry, a jetted tub and a vanity decorated with mirrored jewelry boxes and family photos are just the beginning. The marble-lined shower with seating opens to a second shower with a door for pool access.
The retreat was awarded Best Master Bedroom Suite, one of four awards the home received at Collier Building Industry Association’s 2009 Sand Dollar Awards ceremony in September.
She cooks. He loves to cook. They entertain frequently. The kitchen says it all: a catering kitchen, a pantry, a wet bar, two dishwashers and warming and refrigerator drawers. In addition to a six-burner natural gas Wolf range, they use a Viking high-speed convection oven with microwave. Their American Range oven will sear a thick cut of meat at 1,500 degrees.
The covered outdoor living and entertainment area also features a fully-appointed cooking center with Alfresco range, a Viking grill and a stone pizza oven that also turns out a tasty tenderloin.
One wing is alive with colorful bedrooms —pale green, muted blue and rosy orange — accented with iridescent mosaic tile in bathrooms. A playroom next to a weight room is decorated with Michael Modern’s colorful abstract paintings.
This hous has “Smart home features” that control lighting, air conditioning, music, pool pumps, a generator and fountains from remote controls. If Mary Smallwood is at school and needs to turn on the pool heater for swimming lessons in an hour, she can do it with her iPhone.
Access to the wine cellar is only possible with the approved finger prints. Once inside, a bar code scanner identifies the type and vintage of each bottle.
Collins & DuPont helped with the mostly American-made furniture selection, which included a trip to The Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
The exterior, a style described as Santa Barbara mission by architect Jeff Harrell, Harrell & Co. Architects, features an entry courtyard flanked by six garages. The partially-native landscape does include a long yard of grass, for play.
A well-built home adapts to the people in it. Here, the Smallwoods turned a kitchen office into a kids’ study, so mom can look in on homework and projects while meals are being prepared. A golf cart garage has become a playroom that conveniently opens to an enclosed sports court.
“Some of the rooms and spaces are taking on new roles already,” said Mary Smallwood. “We did get what we wanted — which is a great home to raise the boys.”