Reality House: Lot in Life

PARADISE WITH A PURPOSE: You'd never suspect that the pristine lake to the west of the house is actually a storm drainage pond. Local wildlife have claimed the spot as their own.

MAKING THE GRADE: The lot's odd shape wasn't the only thing that made it a bear. "Normally we would incorporate steps into the patio areas to ease that transition," says Don Hempel, a vice president of Issa Homes, "but given the multigenerational theme of this house and the need for accessible design, that wasn't an option." Workers brought in fill dirt to level the site around the patio, then buttressed the terrace effect with a 4-foot stem wall made of paver block.

OUT OF SIGHT: A handsome porte cochere shields the three-car garage from full frontal view and creates a feeling of arrival. "So often the general marketplace would look at a lot like that and still put the garage on the front, then struggle to engage it into the body of the house," says LRK architect Carson Looney. "They'd dress it up with windows and shutters, but it would still dominate the street. And when you do that with a lot this shape, you end up with a backyard that's so deep and narrow it's useless."

FLOOR SHOW: Robbins Fine Hardwood flooring from Armstrong World Industries makes a simple yet elegant statement. Made from Canadian birch, the flooring comes in 3/4-inch-thick planks measuring 3 1/4 inches wide. It is prefinished with the manufacturers's ForEver II satin finish, which includes aluminum oxide for a resistant surface. It carries a full 25-year residential finish warranty and a lifetime structural warranty.

FIT 'N' TRIM: A house in Florida had better be able to withstand the harsh weather, which is why the project team use Azek Trimboards' cellular PVC trim for all relevant exterior applications, including fascias and frieze work. Azek looks like woodbut will not split, rot, warp, or twist, and it's moisture resistant so it can be used in direct contact with the ground or masonry. It is also consistent and uniform throughout, with no voids.

LAYERED EFFECT: You won't find a dramatic foyer unfolding into a two-story cathedral space here. The front door opens to a perpendicular gallery with a study at one end and a staircase at the other. Windows lining the gallery walls offer a beguiling peek into the courtyard that lies in the belly of the floor plan.

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