Our judges applauded the pared down approach to this luxe house. It achieves all of the elegance one would expect of a residence overlooking a long waterway, but without a sense of extravagance. “There are lots of European buyers, and we knew they’d want a cleaner look,” says architect Dan Sater.

Adapting to the pie-shaped lot—wider in front, narrower in back—the design minimizes the impact of a three-car garage by angling it away from the house. Inside, the efficient layout abandons tradition by eliminating underused formal spaces such as dining and living rooms. The foyer, kitchen/dining area, study, and master suite encircle a central great room; each main space is paired with a corresponding outdoor room that captures views down the waterway. Daily living takes place on the first floor, with guest quarters and a loft above.

More than any other room, the master retreat epitomizes the home’s relaxed, indoor-outdoor adaptability. Occupying an entire wing, it is bracketed by a private garden in front and a covered outdoor lounge with a fireplace in back, steps away from a small pool and spa. A veranda joins the 20-foot-by-16-foot lounge to an outdoor kitchen opposite the pool.

Sater spent a lot of time selecting materials and products, almost all of them American made. “The interiors are carefully done,” a judge said. “They’re buttoned down, despite this being a multimillion-dollar house.”

On Site

To ensure longevity in Florida’s moist climate, the builder wanted the entire house exterior constructed in concrete, including outdoor decks. That created some challenges for the partial second story. “Part of it doesn’t bear directly over the first-floor walls,” says architect Dan Sater. “We used an upset beam design, so the floor joist system is bucketed into the side of the beams, which also helped us deal with height restrictions.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Cape Coral, FL, Naples, FL, Orlando, FL.