2006 Homes Of The Year

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a luxurious sitting roomHomes Of The Year: More Than $1 Million

Globetrotters' Dream Come True

The McDaniels built their home to incorporate and display their acquisitions from years of world travel.

Travel has certainly been a big part of Marvin and Donna McDaniel's lives. As former owners of a Springfield travel agency, these two globetrotters picked up some souvenirs along the way. When it came to building their golf-course-view home in Highland Springs, their acquisitions were decidedly incorporated from the beginning of the planning process.

When the McDaniels sold their travel agency, Marvin continued on at the company, but Donna retired. Yet because she has been  closely involved with the building process, she hasn't had a whole lot of down time.

Nearly every room has custom-built features. Just past the custom-made arched front door, the main entry features a bronze fountain by Rosalind Cook. The media room directly off the entrance has built-in glass cases that hold Marvin's sports memorabilia. Custom cabinetry showcasing Donna's doll collection can be found in the kitchen, and inlets in the walkways were each built for specific art. Their collections come from all over the world: Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Australia, Italy, Russia, Thailand, Holland, Hawaii and Hungary.

Now that their three sons have grown up and two grandchildren have arrived, Donna has begun to pick up a Christmas ornament for each grandchild at the destinations to which she travels. The collections will eventually be wedding gifts.

Marvin and Donna, high school sweethearts who graduated from Hillcrest High in Springfield, describe their house as Floridian with a Tuscan influence. Many of their ideas for the house were from the houses and magazines they admired while in Florida, as well as from various home tours they've been on across the United States.

What you certainly won't be missing in the house is a chance to see arches. Donna says she really can't have too many. She and builder Gary Herman have estimated between all of the walkways, doorways, inlets and windows, there are more than 150 arches.

Donna says Herman went above and beyond to ensure the building process was enjoyable.

For the exterior porch, the builder made life-sized cardboard cutouts to see if the couple wanted more of an arch or an ark.

When you talk about tailor-made, the McDaniels' home is truly product of builder-homeowner-architect communication. The details that are specific to the McDaniels seem endless, as if from corner to corner each facet were meticulously planned.

Marvin jokes, "I just went to work. She made all the decisions."

The 16-month building process involved decision upon decision, and Donna says that rather than being overwhelmed, she is actually going to miss it a little.

"We enjoyed the building process," Donna says. "Gary makes it a lot of fun. I love to pick out things. I do probably overanalyze it at times. We finally get to sit down and enjoy it. We're finally there."

The par-three 15th green provides the McDaniels with two views, which played a large role in why they selected this location. A round sitting room was built in the master bedroom specifically to provide an area to lounge and appreciate the scenery. 

"We didn't want the house to be this big," Donna says. "We really built a house between the two views."

a curved bar in the kitchen The master bedroom has a tray-ceiling and a recessed, arched portion of wall where the head of the bed is placed. Individual and adjustable reading lights are on each side.

A lot of detailing went into the cabinetry in the master bathroom. Alpine Wood Products custom made the cabinetry throughout the house. Small details make a big difference for the McDaniels such as the balloon drawers that have a mechanism that grabs the drawer and eases it shut to prevent slamming. Electrical sockets are inside the cabinets to help keep chargeable items from cluttering the countertops. The bottom of the cabinet's trim is cut to give the appearance that the built-in pieces are actually free-standing. A board underneath keeps the inlet closed off, which Donna enjoys because she can have the detailing without the hassle of dusting all the way under the basin.

A door from the master bedroom leads to the back deck, which stretches the length of the house. Stamped concrete covers this area as well as the area from the step-out basement below. A seating area is accompanied by a bar, sink and grill. In one of the brick slats between the exterior arches, a built-in hinged door that can be locked pulls down to reveal a flatscreen TV.

The McDaniels decided to go with one type of granite through the various areas in the house. Nine slabs were required, each of which was handpicked by Donna. Herman had Donna circle the character marks that she liked on each slab so that he could be sure to get that portion in a visible area. This included cutting a back splash in the laundry room that followed the pattern exactly so that it continued to swirl up at a 90-degree angle. The exterior bar, kitchen, bathrooms and display shelves all have this granite.

The same effect with the cut-out feet in the bathroom cabinetry is repeated in the kitchen. The pantry is positioned in between the oven and the sink. The trim leaves the impression that just cabinets exist in this spot, but the doors really lead to an 8-by-8 room. To help save space in the refrigerator, a smaller glass-front beverage fridge was added to the kitchen.

The McDaniels decided not to go with a two-way fireplace in the dining area and the hearth room so that they could keep the fireplace in the hearth room low and mantel-less to accommodate an eye-level flatscreen TV.

Technology creates a great deal of convenience for the couple. One dimmer switch controls all of the custom lighting that brightens the art work and collectibles. The entire house is also equipped with surround sound, and a DVD library housed in the basement can be accessed from any television.

On a much larger scale, Marvin put in a considerable amount of time planning one large unseen feature--energy efficiency. "I wanted to be able to heat or cool at or less than the price I paid in our old house that was half this size," Marvin says. The current house has more than 4,700 feet.

Ozark York installed a radiant-heating system in the floors and 9-inch foam insulation is in the ceiling and exterior walls. The main floor and the basement are broken up into four zones that have separate air conditioning/heating units. A steel stone-coated tile that imitates a concrete tile was used on the roof. The tiles are an eighth of the weight and will keep the attic, on average, 30 degrees cooler during those hot July days.

Because many of the pieces in their house have stories, such as the card desk from Taiwan and elephant figurine from the Dominican Republic, guests frequently ask about the story behind the objects. "People will ask me where things come from because they think it's someplace exotic, and it'll be from Pier One," Donna laughs. The wrought iron banister leading to the basement was custom-created by Dave Mathis to mimic a tree. 

Two bedrooms downstairs have been finished to accommodate visiting family. The basement also includes a wine room, game area and a workshop and storage area. A scaled-down garage door from the work room in the basement allows Marvin to bring his lawn mower out to the back of the house from the basement.

The exterior of the house consists of a clay stone brick pattern that Herman says has become one of his favorite features of the house. They used six shapes of brick as the pattern was created on site and is often thought to mimic stone.
Stories of building seem to often be plagued with stressful situations, but Herman says he combats that by preplanning and being realistic with deadlines and prices.

"It should be fun, and it should be without stress," Herman says. If you pre-plan, you can avoid the stress and have time to be creative.

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