The Dattilios: How to Build a Home from 500 Miles Away
Story by Rebecca Pierre
Photography by G. Frank Hart
When Valinda and Pat Dattilio decided to build their second home in Ocean Ridge Plantation in 2009, the thought never occurred to them that the home would win an award in the Parade of Homes. But that’s exactly what happened. The home was the recipient of a 2009 Diamond Award in the Parade of Homes sponsored by the Brunswick County Home Builders Association.
The Dattilios, who live in Maryland, discovered the area through Valinda’s parents, who had always vacationed here. They started in Cherry Grove, S.C., and eventually moved northward to Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach to avoid the crowds. So it was only natural that their love for the area led the Dattilios to visit in the off season a few years ago to search out the right place for their second home.
The couple chose the Ocean Ridge community in Ocean Isle Beach.
“I knew I didn’t want to live on the beach, and the neighborhoods of Ocean Ridge appealed to me,” Valinda says.
Once the decision was made for a basic house plan, the Dattilios got bids from four local builders.
“We chose Blue Sky Building Company partly because of the sense of connection we felt with Luke Perisich during the interview,” says Pat. “He had the same vision we had. Most importantly, his bid was the most professional. He enumerated the cost for each part of the process.” Since the Datillios were 500 miles away at their home in Maryland during the building process, trust was a very important part of the relationship.
“Luke was very open and the initial feeling of connection and trust grew through the process,” says Pat.
Perisich provided an online site that they could access through software he provided to them. C. P. Parker, the construction supervisor, was faithful in posting pictures to the site so that they could see the process instead of having to wait every month or six weeks until they could make a trip to North Carolina. It was also possible for the Dattilios to communicate with the builder through the site and make any necessary changes immediately. This feature allowed for clear communication throughout the building process.
“It was a fun experience,” Valinda says. “Sub-contractors Robin Campbell of Ferguson Plumbing and Electric and Kirk Riffel of Creative Cabinetry were delightful and full of ideas.”
Valinda says that Luke’s suggestions were always right and that he knew how to make changes that would flow. “I said I wanted bookcases beside the fireplace and he put it all together beautifully,” she says.
“Luke would just throw out suggestions and let us think about them,” Pat says. “He suggested the coffered ceilings. He also designed the columns, the lamp post and the trellis.”
The entire home is graced with the beauty of natural American cherry floors from Artisan Custom Hardwood Flooring. The Dattilios’ house is a delight of open space, partly because they changed a couple of walls to low custom built shelves on both floors. It is full of display space for Valinda’s pottery collection as well as storage space enhanced by the building of window seats with storage beneath them at several of the windows. The one in the bonus room is deep enough to accommodate a single bed–size mattress where a child can sleep in a special nook.
At the back of the house is an elegant gazebo-shaped screened porch with a vaulted ceiling supported with custom designed columns and sporting a stained, stamped concrete floor that you would swear was slate. Stepping down from this is the outdoor kitchen that includes a grill, refrigerator, sink, granite counter tops and a beautiful pergola above it.
“We were planning to add the outdoor kitchen later,” says Valinda, “but Luke asked us if we didn’t want to go ahead and do it. He also designed the pergola.”
Stepping back into the house from the screened porch is the dining area, where one of the custom-designed window seats sits beneath a row of three windows. The kitchen is cozy, yet beautifully functional and includes stainless appliances. The ample amount of countertop is granite, which sets off the back splash of slate tiles. A bonus is an under-the-counter microwave that opens like a drawer, a feature that Riffel suggested.
The living room is open to the dining area and the kitchen, with a view of the screened porch and a small pond in the yard. The coffered ceiling, white woodwork and fireplace with its neighbor of deep bookcases add a look of luxury. The view of the stairs from the great room is a work of art in itself with the placement and the woodwork details. The master suite, including two walk-in closets, is on the first floor, giving privacy from the other bedrooms and living areas. In this room is a large full-length mirror. Riffel made a frame for it to match the cherry of the wardrobe and he did a beautiful job.
Light, airy and beautifully appointed, the suite adjoins the master bath. Here, a wonderful vaulted ceiling with exposed beams and an unexpected feeling of openness extends to the walk-in shower. The shower is tiled and has no door, yet the design makes it completely private.
Off the hallway on the second floor is a little nook designed especially with a child in mind. The nook is outfitted with a child-size chair and shelves filled with children’s books. There are two bedrooms off this hallway, each with its own bath. Both rooms are of a generous size with plenty of closet space. The upstairs family room is cozy, yet roomy enough for any indoor activities. More storage is found here, as is the entrance to the ample storage area above the two-car garage.
Speaking of the garage, Luke designed what Valinda refers to as a “drop zone” at the entry to the house from the garage. Shelves and bins abound, where the family can “drop” their outerwear, scarves, shoes and other items, and there are outlets for charging electronic devices.
The end result is that the Dattilios’ home is both beautiful and functional. It’s easy to understand why this house won a special award.