Story By Heather Lowery
Photography By Chris Campbell
Joe and Cheri Lavorgna vacationed at Ocean Isle Beach for more than 20 years, always looking forward to their annual treks south from Maryland. Now newly retired, the Lavorgnas are delighted to call southern Brunswick County — and their award-winning custom home in Ocean Ridge Plantation — their permanent residence.
With foresight in 2003, the couple purchased a home site full of pine trees and live oaks in the beach and golf course community called Ocean Ridge Plantation. The private lot is on a cul-de-sac off the third fairway of Panther’s Run Golf Course. In 2010 the Lavorgnas hired Blue Sky Building Company to build their dream home, and appropriately nicknamed the end result Urban Fusion.
In the Brunswick County Home Builders Association’s 2010 Parade of Homes, the home took first place in the Diamond Award in its price category, as well as Best Interior Design and the Realtor’s Choice Award. In addition, the home earned a 5 Star Plus rating with the Energy Star Home Program, the highest rating energy certification available.
It is easy to appreciate why Urban Fusion stood out in the Parade of Homes. For the past four years, to prepare for building their custom home, the Lavorgnas filled a notebook with decorating and building ideas and the names of products, businesses and vendors from magazines and other resources. Multiple times, the couple toured house after house in the local Parade of Homes, all the while taking photos of design elements they liked and cataloguing them in their notebook. The years of preparation certainly paid off and helped make building their home easier.
“I showed Leslie Stachowicz, our decorator from Big Sky Design of Wilmington, the notebook with all of our ideas,” says Cheri, “and she did a wonderful job putting it all together.”
The Lavorgnas valued the good service and professional attitudes of all the people who worked on their home.
“Everyone was very willing to work with us … from Crossroads Appliance Center in Supply to Coastroad Hearth and Patio Supply in Shallotte to Ferguson Enterprises,” Cheri says. “Supporting local businesses was very important to us and we wanted to show loyalty to the place where we would be living.”
The home’s open floor plan with its fresh details, sleek yet comfortable décor and modern amenities leave no question as to the reason behind the home’s name. At approximately 3,200 square feet, the house boasts three and a half bathrooms, a two-car garage, a master suite and three multipurpose rooms that can convert to guest bedrooms.
For guests, the Lavorgnas wanted convenient usable living spaces, yet comfort and privacy at the same time, and they succeeded in doing just that. When their three grown children and their families come to visit, everyone will have a private area. The bonus room has a pull-out sofa, and a jack-and-jill bathroom adjoins another guest bedroom.
On the main floor, the 10-foot ceilings combined with the calming neutral palette, pops of color and a wall of windows give the great room, dining area and kitchen a very open feeling.
The great room has an impressive built-in shelf and display unit that the Lavorgnas dubbed “The Great Wall.” A secret panel hides the television when it’s not in use, and a gas fireplace with a black hearth has its own place of honor in “The Great Wall” as well. Its long horizontal shape adds to the uniqueness of the river rock and glass that adorn the inside. “It looks like ribbon flames coming out of a rock bed, so to speak,” says Cheri.
To keep with their theme of multipurpose functionality, an office doubles as a guest room with a Murphy bed and a private bath. Off the great room is a four-seasons room that features a heated, glossy concrete floor. Quad-track panels offer a choice of glass windows or screens. Outside this room is a grilling porch that continues the contemporary feel with a custom, built-in grill and a glass-flecked stained concrete work station.
The master suite is a sight to behold. Along with a tray ceiling, the room showcases the trees outside by strategically positioning the bed against a free-standing low wall facing windows. An exquisite Shoji door system opens into a large walk-in closet with built-in cabinetry. A heated floor and floating vanity with roped lighting underneath await the Lavorgnas in their master bath.
The open atmosphere continues on the upper floor with 9-foot ceilings. The couple hopes to entertain friends in their bonus room, which is a perfect place to play cards, have fun and enjoy the view from the stainless cable-railed deck. A wet bar, refrigerator and dishwasher complete the scene.
“When you’re in the room and look out the windows, you feel like you’re in the trees,” says Joe.
The Lavorgnas hard work, patience and attention to detail resonate throughout the well-planned home.
“It just feels right,” Cheri says.
When asked about future plans, the Lavorgnas say that they are first going to spend some time decompressing. Then they hope to join activities offered through their community and find volunteer opportunities in the area. Best of all, they look forward to sharing their home with friends and family.