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HOMEOWNERS — George and Linda Stavros

BUILT — Fall 2002-April 2004

HOME SITE — A pie-shaped lot on a point connecting three channels that lead to the Pacific Ocean ("there's a little park in front for the kids")

CONSTRUCTION — Smooth stucco with aged pre-cast stone columns and accents, slate roof, and copper gutters

LIVING SPACE — 8,500 square feet with seven bedroom and nine baths

FAVORITE ROOM — "We spend most of our time in the kitchen and family room"

AT-HOME PASTIMES — Entertaining

HOUSEBUILDING TIP — "Before you start, make sure you have pictures to show your designer, architect, and builder. You'll get exactly what you want, and you'll save money, too."

CUSTOMER QUOTE — "Frontgate stands behind their products. No worries." - George Stavros

Back of House

Family Room

Kitchen

Builder
Stavros Design & Development
Huntington Beach, CA
(714) 846-1100
StavrosDesignGroup
@yahoo.com

Contractor
Yadgir Construction
San Dimas, CA
(909) 821-1777

Finish Work
JP's Finish Carpentry
Long Beach, CA
(562) 449-7842

Interior Design
Hazelet Interior Design
Irvine, CA
(949) 689-8844

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA — George Stavros has a way of getting what he wants.

Take this prized piece of waterfront property, for example. It hardly mattered to George that the former owner had no interest in selling. What mattered was that he and Linda had an interest in buying.

"It was the property we wanted, not the house," says George. Most waterfront sites get lots of sun but too much wind, he explains, while those protected from the wind have too much shade. This particular property, however, proved to be an exception. "It was right on the point connecting three channels that take you to the ocean. When I looked at it from our boat, I could see that it got all-day sun in the backyard but no wind." What's more, the property was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac across from a little park where their younger children could play.

"I wanted that house no matter what," says George. "Buying it was no easy task. We knocked on the door, but the owner didn't want to sell."

Undaunted, George began drawing floor plans; he and Linda intended to raze the existing 5,000-square-foot structure and build a new house more than half again the size. So sure was he that the property would one day be theirs that he obtained the necessary approval from the Coral Cay Homeowners Association and the city of Huntington Beach. "It was a little risky," he admits. "I spent some money on those plans."

But after eight months of negotiations, the homeowner finally gave in. "If you think positive," says George, "you can make things work."

GETTING IT DOWN ON PAPER

The flow of the layout, the ease of moving from place to place, was essential. "We entertain a lot. There are people here all the time, and we have huge parties four or five times a year. We wanted a big, open entrance, so big that people could mingle, and no walls so that everyone could see each other."

Also topping the list were a huge, centrally located bar; outside seating for at least 100 people; and views of the water from the second-story hallways. "I wanted the kids to be able come out of their bedrooms, look down into the house, and see out onto the water."

The children were a central part of the design considerations. "We wanted to make the house very usable for our kids," says George. Nothing was to be off limits. "It was important that the house be able to take a beating and look good while it's taking it."

To achieve that goal, George and Linda made extensive use of travertine marble for floors, exotic granites for countertops, and, for stairways and columns, pre-cast stone which was pitted and tinted to make it appear centuries old. And marmarino walls were not only pleasingly textured, but capable of hiding fingerprints.

"It was the property we wanted,
not the house."

George was quite at ease designing the house, making decisions, and overseeing construction. "I do a lot of design work for my business," he explains, "and I'd done construction in the past." After drawing up the floor plan, he enlisted the services of an architect to create the exterior.

To steer the architect in the right direction, George and Linda gave him snapshots of homes they'd admired in Newport Beach, homes with the look and feel of a Tuscan villa.

The architect, however, took exception to various aspects of George's floor plan. "He thought I didn't grasp what we were getting into," says George. But he and Linda were entirely satisfied with the original plan and had no intention of making adjustments. "We stuck with it. I told the architect he would have to make the exterior work with our floor plan." And so he did, taking the outside and "really dressing it up."

Is the floor plan everything they'd hoped it would be? "Yeah, we love it. For us, it works great. It would work great for anyone who wants to entertain, even if they don't have kids."

MAKING IT HAPPEN

"It took at year and a half to build by the time we broke ground," says George. "Our house had already sold, so we moved in with my parents. My wife gets along great with my mom and dad, but the kids got spoiled living with their grandparents!"

George put in at least three hours at the construction site every day, and as time allowed, he got their three youngest children involved, too. "The boys and I did some of the fun things. We broke up the leftover travertine and covered the wall outside the pool house with little mosaics. And then we hit the staircase a couple of weekends. They helped with the treads, and they stapled and glued the glue-laminate support beam."


The cobblestone court leads to 10-1/2' front doors made of 6-1/2"-thick Honduran mahogany, half-inch thick glass, and wrought iron.
Shop Outdoor Living.

He says the kids enjoyed themselves, but they also learned that it takes hard work to build a house. "I wanted them to experience that it's not fun all the time like you think it is," says George. "But when it's done, you forget all about the work. You walk in, smile, and know that it's over."

A LOOK INSIDE

Informality was the governing factor in every design decision. "We wanted to make it feel warm so people wouldn't worry about stepping in any of the rooms."

To create that welcoming atmosphere, George and Linda selected earthy browns and rusts, "little bits of black," and rich, antique bronze finishes for the birch cabinetry. "We went and started picking out marble and granite we'd never seen before, things that went with the color scheme."

The two of them did their own decorating — "up to a point," says George. "My wife had a friend who'd decorated our old house, so after we did the stone and paint, she came in and helped with the furniture, window coverings, bed linens, area rugs, even the books in the library — we bought them for color."

But it was George and Linda who gave direction to the project, relying in part on pictures they'd torn out of magazines. "It's hard to get what you want unless you have something to show your designer and architect and builder," says George. "We had four years of pictures in a notebook. When we got ready to build, we pulled out the ones we liked the best: these cabinets, that ceiling, whatever. Everyone knew exactly what we wanted. And we saved money on change orders."

One of his design secrets was to use three-inch bull-nose edges on the countertops. "Most are only an inch and a half," he explains. "The thicker edges make it look like it's a huge chunk of granite."

Though the house has a formal dining room designed to accommodate a table for 26 guests, George and Linda instead furnished the room with three sets of "big, chunky chairs" better suited to their casual style of entertaining. "We can put two in each chair. We had to get oversized everything!"

THE LURE OF THE OUTDOORS

Open house is a way of life at the Stavros home. "We have friends over almost every weekend," says George. And most of the time, they entertain outdoors, grilling with friends and watching the big-screen, surround-sound television while all the kids splash in the pool, fish off the dock, and kayak around the channel.

For larger parties, they bring in a DJ, piping music through 60 indoor and outdoor speakers. (Controls for all home electronic systems — sound, lighting, security, and surveillance — are concealed beneath the staircase.)


Master bath walls are a mosaic of randomly placed half-inch marble tiles. To the rear of the tub is a 6' x 8' glass-walled shower with three shower heads, six body sprays, and steam capability. Shop Bed & Bath.

The family spends a good deal of time on the water. George is careful to keep the spa and infinity-edge swimming pool comfortably warm at all hours."Otherwise, it's a little cold for me. The kids swim all the time, but they want me to jump in with them when I get home from work at 7:00 or 8:00."

He and Linda don't have a large boat, as Linda tends to get seasick, but at the end of their 130-foot dock is a Duffy, a gondola-like party boat that seats 16 for cruises around the harbor.

Linda was instrumental in choosing the plants, shrubs, and trees that she so enjoys tending. "She's out there almost every day, cutting and trimming. She really stays on top of it, especially the roses."

In fact, Linda enjoys everything about this house. George does, too, but at the same time, he has a strong urge to build again. "Maybe we'll do it again in another 10 years," he says, adding with a smile, "but as long as my wife loves it here, we're not going anywhere."

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Interested in having your home featured in Frontgate?
Please send a few indoor/outdoor snapshots to:

Creative Director
5566 West Chester Road
West Chester, OH 45069
featuredhomes@frontgate.com

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