By Andrea Stetson
Special to Fort Myers News-Press USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA
Rick Sifre is a builder in Upstate New York, so when he and his wife, Andrea, decided to build a home in Florida, he was concerned about having someone else create his dream house.
“When we decided to build here I thought, ‘how do I hire another builder and not be there to see what is going on,’” Rick Sifre began. “Once we met Frank, we knew it was right.”
Frank Jenkins built the Sifre’s home in the Avieto neighborhood of Palmira Golf and Country Club in Bonita Springs.
“Everything is great,” Rick Sifre exclaimed. “The whole experience was amazing.”
Their favorite part is the outdoor living.
“The outside is best,” Andrea Sifre stated.
“We come here for good weather so who would want to be inside in air conditioning,” Rick Sifre added.
They created outdoor living with lots of places to entertain. There is a long table that seats 10.
“When we have company, we eat out here a lot,” Andrea Sifre said as she pointed to the huge outdoor table.
‘We have company that comes a lot,” Rick Sifre added. “This whole season we are in and out with company. That is the joy of having it.”
There is also an outdoor living room and other sitting areas around the pool and spa.
“We created all these different seating areas so we could sit in lots of different areas,” Rick Sifre explained.
Even the pool has seating. There are two chairs and a table on a sun shelf right in the water.
The Sifre’s say they love the sound of water that falls from two decorative bowls into the pool.
“It is very peaceful to have the running water,” Rick Sifre said.
Hurricane shades come down at a push of a button enclosing the outdoor living space that is under roof.
“Even when it rains we can still put them down and sit out here,” Andrea Sifre explained. “And you can see through them.”
The lanai also has a television and an LED fireplace gas fireplace that changes light colors.
“The pool changes colors too, so you can match them or when you have a party you can have them changing colors,” Rick Sifre explained. “I love the fact that this changes color at night. We have the spa going and it is all blue and we have the blue fireplace.”
Another feature the couple likes is the strength and style of the pool screening. Instead of a cage they built a colonnade that is concrete with the screens in between. Only the top has the metal pool cage beams.
Frank Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Custom Homes, also immediately said ‘outdoor living’ when asked about the best feature in the home.
“The fireplace and the outdoor grill and obviously the design of the pool and how it all fit in,” he began.
Most of their favorite things are part of the outdoor living, but the Sifres also enjoy the inside of their home.
They wanted everything to be ultra-modern and at first had trouble finding furnishings that matched that style.
“We were looking for more modern contemporary furniture, so when we started looking we were on a mission,” Andrea Sifre explained.
“It seems like there are not a lot of modern furniture stores,” Rick Sifre added. “They are more traditional. Then we found Scan Design in Fort Myers and they had all modern contemporary furniture, so we were able to find all the things we wanted.”
They found things like the end tables for the family room that look like they have water droplets all over. Another find was the glass dining room table that seats eight, but at the push of a button the glass extends to a table for 10. For even more dining there is a table by the kitchen for five and five stools by the island in the kitchen.
The kitchen is another favorite for Jenkins.
“It’s the way they went contemporary with the double full column subzero wine coolers,” he said. “It has more of the contemporary flare.”
All the bedrooms are suites and are all big enough for king sized beds. The guest bathrooms, like the master, have two sinks.
“We are spoiling our guests,” Andrea said.
All the showers, except in the pool bathroom, are doorless.
“So I don’t have to worry about cleaning doors,” Andrea Sifre explained.
There is a lot of glass to clean in the sliding glass doors that pocket to open the home up to the lanai. Andrea Sifre doesn’t mind that.
“I love having lots of windows,” she said. “I can see front and back.”
There is more glass in the master bedroom that has sliding glass doors that lead to the lanai. The master bedroom has a king sized bed and a chaise lounge big enough for two people.
The custom home also features crown molding, high ceilings Thermador appliances, granite counter-tops, a large walk-in pantry with built-in shelving, double Sub Zero wine columns, 10 foot sliders, eight foot interior doors, and an iron front door.
“They put all the amenities in that you would put in an 8,000 square foot house,” Jenkins explained.
The three bedroom plus den, four full bathroom home spans 3,133 square feet under air and 4,606 total square feet. It also has a three car garage.
Rick Sifre said he got many of the ideas for his new home, by looking at other houses in the area.
“For the last seven years we have been going to all the home shows and the Parade of Homes,” he explained.
When the building first began the Sifres were coming to Palmiera every three weeks to check on the progress.
“Then we saw it was going great so we could stretch it out,” Rick Sifre said.
Rick Sifre could watch the building progress from their northern home via Scan Design, a software program that downloads photos, documents and selections.
“He said one of the hardest decisions he ever had to make in his life was finding a builder because he is a builder,” Jenkins said.