The real estate boom of the mid-2000s changed the character of our community. In many new neighborhoods, you could easily imagine you were driving on the outskirts of Florence. It was a case of supply and demand. Med-Rev architecture was in vogue, and the Tuscan variation was especially popular. Thousands of Italianate homes popped up to meet that demand. Although the real estate bubble burst in 2008, the legacy of the boom endures. Especially in the homes of Lakewood Ranch.
In April 2017, one of those Tuscan-style homes was for sale. Tracy and Jason Cotterill peeked inside. Their first impression?
The old house was showing its age. The tile-roofed residence had been built in 2007. They could tell. Its style was out-of-style; its appliances were far past their warranty dates. Aside from its old-fashioned appearance, the house also needed a lot of work.
That’s the reason they quickly bought the place. Why?
Because the Cotterills saw beyond appearances. And they liked what they saw. The house had good bones and a lot of potential. They wanted to unleash that potential and bring it up to contemporary standards.
That’s easy to say. But hard to do.
The Cotterills’ ambitions transcended mere remodeling. Nothing less than total reinvention was what they had in mind. It was a job for the experts. Fortunately, they knew exactly whom to call: themselves and the experts on their creative team. Who else?
They’re the husband-wife co-owners of Cabex Construction and Cabinets Extraordinaire, after all. It’s what they do for a living, and they’re very good at it.
After buying the structure, the couple wasted no time. First, they completely gutted it. After taking the house apart, they started putting it back together.
Upstairs, the Cotterills merged two bedrooms into one and added a walk-in wardrobe. Once their new master bedroom was complete, they moved in and quickly got to work on the rest of the structure.
Downstairs, they started from the ground up. They put down new flooring: white oak hardwood in a seafoam shade. After that, the kitchen got extra loving care. They created a practical island layout and installed state-of-the-art cabinets. An arsenal of stainless steel, Miehle appliances introduced the latest 21st century technology. Future chefs would be pleased.
Form followed function throughout the reinvention, but some changes were for looks alone.
The Cotterills installed bi-fold front doors at the entry and added more sliding doors at the perimeter of the great room. That space had originally been closed off. Stepping inside the house, your first impression was a wall. They got rid of it. Instead, you now see a view of the lake and the golf course beyond it.
“We wanted to create an indoor-outdoor flow,” Tracy Cotterill says, pointing to a vista of bucolic blue skies and lush greenery. “You can now enjoy a gorgeous view, wherever you are in the house.”
A dramatic glimpse of the outside world is good, and it’s even better when there’s something to do outside. The Cotterills installed a pool and a tricked-out outdoor kitchen and transformed wasted exterior space into more living space.
Many changes were pleasing to the eye, but others were nearly invisible — unless you know what to look for.
Take that seemingly ordinary faucet in the kitchen sink. You activate it with touchless sensors. Using your foot. Those pretty cabinets above? These open with a delicate tap, thanks to hidden servomotors.
“We upgraded to smart-home standards whenever we could,” Jason Cotterill says. “We can also now command all the pool and lighting systems with a voice-controlled app on Alexa.”
All these changes added up. After 21 months, their old house had a new style, new layout and new technology. The Cotterills had radically transformed an out-of-date living space — without making radical structural changes. No load-bearing walls were harmed.
Work wrapped up at the end of 2018. There had been plenty of work.
But Jason and Tracy Cotterill had plenty of help.
The couple gives a shout out to the collaborations of Jeremy Strong and Kerri Plazza (for kitchen design), Joe Menna (for building) and Francesco Plazza (for designing and installing countertops).
“This project was a true team effort,” Jason Cotterill says. “We couldn’t have done it alone.”
The Cotterills and their team did an amazing job. Even so, it seems like a lot of trouble. Why go through all that?
Because Tracy and Jason wanted to prove a point …
You don’t have to settle for a house that fits you like a bad suit. Change is possible. With the right team, anything is possible.
The Cotterills’ reinvented residence makes that clear.
“Many homeowners feel like they’re stuck with their standardized, existing homes,” Tracy Cotterill says. “We wanted to show they’re not. If you know what you’re doing, you can totally transform your home and make it uniquely yours. You’ll enjoy a far superior living experience if you choose to stay. You’ll be far more likely to sell if you don’t.”
Speaking of which, the Cotterills’ demonstration home is currently under contract. For more details, contact Donna J. Soda at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Call 961-5857, or email [email protected].