2006 Homes Of The Year

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a large home's exteriorHomes Of The Year: $750,000 to $1 Million

A Quick Sell

The Cliftons built this gorgeous home as a project for themselves. They must have done a good job; it sold before they had a chance to move in.

As the owners and operators of Millstone Homes, the husband-and-wife duo of Sam and Michelle Clifton have constructed houses on three occasions for themselves and each time have had the home purchased before they could move in. Neither Sam nor Michelle seems to mind. From a business standpoint, it's sort of a good thing. "Builders tend to always keep their homes on the market," Sam says. "It's just the nature of the business."

The couple's latest sale is a Tuscan-style venture with a Millwood golf course view in San Poppi. The approximately 4,000 square-foot house was finished the beginning of June and sold in the beginning of July, one month shy of their intended move-in date. This HBA Parade of Homes stop was decorated by County Road Collection for the tour.

The custom creation leaves the new homeowners with many personalized details. Archways, earth tones, black wrought iron, wood and stone are carried throughout the house to give a collective, Tuscan feel. "Our houses are built to look like older houses," Michelle says. "We're not worried about trends. More classic styles stand the test of time."

As the builder, Sam deals with construction and Michelle comes in on the design side. In their four years in business, the Cliftons, who have been married for 14 years, build an average of eight houses a year with most of those being built for specific clients. Michelle often has Sam build for specific pieces such as the iron gate above the stained concrete fireplace.

Michelle graduated in 1993 from Drury University with degrees in art and art history, and Sam graduated in construction management from Southwest Missouri State University. The two travel and read home building publications to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in the field.

"Me being in design has really helped get the whole process complete," Michelle says. "A lot of our best ideas evolve on the job site."

a palatial bedroom A faux finisher from Atlanta painted details on several pieces throughout the home, which can be found on the wine room and kitchen cabinetry and on the doors leading to the master bedroom.

The master suite is created with one wing of the house dedicated to the bedroom, closets and bathroom. The master bedroom has a 15th hole view that can be seen from an inset window in the lounge area, which is framed with pine timbers. A raised his side on his and hers bathroom sinks (made of tumbled marble and alder) was a must for Michelle. The stone in the house varies between travertine, ceramic, brick and cement. Travertine frames the mirrors in the master bath, and ceramic tiles cover the floor. "I really was looking forward to that bedroom," Michelle laughs

All of the doors are 8-foot, custom-stained wood, which is highlighted with a painted white trim. Many of the doors, including the arch-shaped glass and iron front door, are custom-built. The kitchen has a chalkboard pantry door, also with an arch-shaped top. The four lantern fixtures over the dining room table were also quite popular to those on the homes tour-a feature so non-traditional that Michelle says she only would have included it in a custom home. All of the home's fixtures were purchased from Metro Builders Supply. Beige and brown paint on the walls with heavy textures are included throughout, and all of the ceilings are painted a half-shade lighter than the walls.

The kitchen's granite countertops were custom-made with edge detailing and the black-painted island contrasts with the brown-stained main cabinetry. Wood is inlaid with slate-looking ceramic tiles to continue the contrasting theme on the floors. Michelle chose the Mohan black crushed granite kitchen sink in a version that did not have a divider because she likes the ability to lay her pans flat. Many other features of the kitchen revolved around her love for entertaining and cooking. The Cliftons included a custom-made hood, double oven, bread warming drawer and a center island.

Equipped with built-in surround sound and sound-proof insulation, the media room on the second floor, painted in a deep red, is intended to keep the sound effects of a movie exclusive to that room. The entire house is also wired with a sound system that can be localized from room to room. Two bedrooms are also on the top floor. With the lot not allowing for a basement, the Cliftons planned for large closets in each room and throughout the house in order to provide proper storage space.

"There are a lot of rooms in limited space and because of all the light and the floor plan, it still seems spacious," Michelle says. "We really like light, open houses."

The wine room, another personalized addition for the Cliftons, is temperature-controlled and set to 55 degrees. It includes a tasting area, custom cabinets and a barrel-vaulted brick ceiling. 

The entire house runs on high-efficiency heating and cooling, and the master wing has its own units.The exterior is a true stucco and has carriage-style garage doors. The back of the house hosts one covered porch and one uncovered porch, each of which overlooks the golf course.

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