A continuum of lakes amid rolling hills with gorgeous sunsets is reason enough to live in Mount Dora. The inviting topography combined with friendly locals, a rich history, and the absence of congestion make the area a haven for professionals seeking a slower, family-friendly place to build their dream home.
Some enjoy a sliver of inland paradise, while those a bit more fortunate have a wider slice of heaven. Indicative of the area's renewed appeal is this year's Parade of Homes winner for the Greater Orlando Builders Association which sits perched upon a hilltop in a secluded Mount Dora neighborhood. Among almost 100 entries that represent the finest in home building and design, the Lake Dora custom home won the Grand Award for Best Overall Custom Home, as well as the first place award for its price category, beating out the other impressive entries from Orange and Seminole Counties..
The owners played a significant role in the design and collaborated with the designer, Matt Murrell, for 15 months. The sprawling retreat took 16 months to build and is a Mediteranean entertaining mecca for adults and children alike. The family home boasts 24' tall expansive views of Lake Dora, an abundance of natural light, plus stunning details and amenities to rival any resort.
The aesthetic, yet functional, centerpiece of the home is the large climate-controlled wine room. Its over-sized glass windows and cascading wine display momentarily transport visitors to the tasting rooms of Napa Valley. This warm focal point successfully ties together the living room, dining room and kitchen areas.
Of course, the lake is the magnet for the outdoor space which features a stacked stone summer kitchen, inviting angled fireplace and plenty of multi-level decking for staying in or out of the sun. The free-form stone pool, by Southern Pool Designs, has an elevated spa, a stone waterfall, and a wide wading shelf. The final details are the marble cocktail table and seating inside the pool. To add to the exterior's evening ambiance there are two elevated gas fire bowls at the lakefront edge of the pool.
The perfectionism of the home's builder, Beck Custom Homes, is evident in the craftsmanship of the home and its details including two sweeping staircases with subtle mosaic risers, wrought iron railings, Mediterranean Ivory travertine, various textures of Crema Marfil marble and a handful of inlays of Emperador Dark marble. Most of the rich cabinetry is crafted from maple with different stains and glazes.
The home also features a large sauna, sprawling gourmet kitchen with built-in wine dispenser, enviable man cave with home theater and full bar, master bedroom espresso bar and enough garages to start a collection of European classics.
The friendly homeowners, originally from Sweden and Texas, lived in nearby Eustis before stumbling upon their lakefront dream lot in Mount Dora. Their finished retreat is the product of its stunning natural surroundings and the successful collaboration between themselves, the designer and the builder.
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Above: Western view of Lake Dora. Below: Street view. (photos: Harvey Smith)
Above: Living room with pool and lake views. Below: Dining room. (photos: Harvey Smith)
Above & below: Wine room (photos: Harvey Smith)
Above & Below: Kitchen with automatic wine dispenser. (Photo courtesy of Harvey Smith)
Above: Great room attached to kitchen (photo: Harvey Smith. Below: Wrought iron railings. (photos: Mount Dora Buzz)
Above: Master bathroom with dual entry shower and spa tub. (photo: Harvey Smith)
Above: Pool with cocktail table in foreground. Below: Gas fire bowls. (photos: Harvey Smith)
Above: 0utdoor kitchen area. (photo: Harvey Smith) Below: Rear of lot with expansive western view of Lake Dora. (photo: Mount Dora Buzz)