"Vive la France!" seems to be the popular cry among the Sunbelt's affluent empty-nesters these days. Indeed, French Country is the "in" home design among many Florida buyers, and builders like Neal Communities are winning big by offering it. Neal offers four plans and elevations at Spyglass at the Country Club in the posh community of Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton, Fla.

The Gulf Coast buyers are among the more affluent consumers in the Southeast and know a good plan when they see one. "We really listen to what the market wants," says marketing director Leisa Weintraub. "And this plan addresses how "owners" wish to live--easily and casually, but not without style." The Bordeaux model is popular among buyers, she notes, because of its open floor plan and easy flow. "An open family room/dining area with easy access to outdoor zones is perfect for tropical evenings or winter afternoons." Buyers also like the coffer ceiling in the owners' suite, and most have purchased the optional den, which was merchandised as a TV room/home office. The homes are built at six units per acre.

Neal offers cast-iron enamel bathtubs and kitchen sinks by Kohler, GE appliances, concrete tile roofs, high-quality landscaping, as well as 36-inch-high vanities--a must for many mature adults. "Buyers in this age group don't have to buy," says Weintraub. "They expect quality and a reason to move. So it takes a special sensitivity to their needs and what they want."

Project credits: Bordeaux at Spyglass at the Country Club, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Fla.; Sales started: January 2000; Sales through August 2000: 29; Units released through August 2000: 51; Units planned: 51; Price: $242,900; Unit size: 2,200 square feet; Builder: Neal Communities/Neal Custom Homes, Bradenton; Architect: Bloodgood Sharp Buster, Tampa, Fla.; Interior merchandiser: Sisler-Williams, Jacksonville, Fla.; Landscape architect: In-house; Ad agency: The Driggs Co., Sarasota, Fla.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Bradenton, FL.