Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It's the Next Best Thing, I Guess

Story Title: Take a beauty-reborn tour. Visit six notable Dunedin "Homes through the Ages."

Mike and Susan Wallace estimate 100 people have stopped to ask about their Prairie/Craftsman-style home they've lived in since December 2006.

Now the curious can have their look.

The couple built their dream home on a lot on the edge of Hammock Park (Dunedin, Fla.). It was designed to recall Mike Wallace's childhood home in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa.

They researched and found the best materials that money could buy, exceeding their budget by a whopping $70,000.

"My emotions got involved," he said with a laugh.

But in the end, they got all the comforts, conveniences and energy efficiency they wanted, while still enjoying the nostalgic charm and character of yesteryear.

"This home was built with history and the future both in mind," he said. "It's also built to be maintenance-free for 30 years."

For example, instead of wood columns in the front, they used those constructed from PVC resin, which won't rot or need paint. Earth-friendly enhancements include an on-demand water heater, natural gas appliances, 6 inches of insulation and double-paned windows. They even capture water runoff from the air conditioning units to water the butterfly garden.

Inside, the home features oodles of nostalgic touches: four-panel doors throughout, Brazilian cherry flooring, cast-iron fireplaces, mission-style furniture, crown moldings, period hardware and cabinetry.

"It just reminds me of my childhood," Wallace said fondly.

"But without all the maintenance."

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