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Sweet Seclusion

Elegant Retreat Capitalizes on Site

There is simply no way that David and Michele Woldman could have found the serene spot that is the site of their new custom home from the road. The 2.25 acre property is tucked nearly at the end of an unassuming lane that’s accessed via several winding country roads in northern Iredell County. From the street, you might not even have noticed just how dramatically the property slopes down to a section of the main channel, nor have been able to envision the spectacular views of unspoiled lake and distant mountains that could be captured from a home placed at just the right angle.

From the water however, the striking beauty of the site was readily apparent to the couple who had been looking for the ideal spot to build what will someday become their retirement dream home. Situated on the serene northern end of Lake Norman, the pristine waters are not crowded with weekend jet skiers and the ever-changing colors of nature’s palette were as splendid as the home they hoped to build there. “It’s a great property; there’s no view like it anywhere else on the lake,” says David.

The home the couple built is every bit as majestic as its backdrop. The craftsman-influenced lodge designed by Jim Phelps of Carolina Design Group, captures spectacular views from virtually every space in and around the home; from the soaring two-story great room whose picture windows gracefully frame the scene to the intimate screened porch and its cozy fireplace. The sloping yard features multiple levels of stone walls and terraces, with a generous space reserved for a future pool or helipad.

The functional kitchen is designed for entertaining as well as family living with warm distressed cabinetry and state-of-the-art appliances. Underfoot is nearly 4,000 square feet of antique wormy chestnut flooring. Walnut accents and woodwork painted a rich chocolate brown create an inviting feel. Michelle wanted to create a spa-like retreat in the master bath, which she accomplished through warm colors and a striking ceramic tile with a pattern that resembles birch bark.

Yet what really sets this gracious residence apart is the experience of the family who created it. David has consistently been named as one of the top 40 mortgage bankers in the country. In 2006, he was ranked Number One out of SunTrust’s approximately 1,780 loan officers in terms of dollars originated, closing over $153 million in loans and of that $120 million were construction perm loans. David naturally assumed his expertise would ease the process of building his own home. “It turns out that I made the same, if not more mistakes than everyone else makes;” David wrote for an article on the process of building his home in our autumn 2007 issue. “Thank goodness I used the product that I stand behind everyday. I was able to work through my issues without penalty or problem. I’ve been boasting about the benefits of my Construction / Perm loan packages for a long time. I’ve been telling my clients that they’re flexible and can overcome any obstacle, but now I can tell them this through firsthand experience.”

The couple went through construction and planning delays throughout the involved process. Another obstacle they overcame was exceeding their allowances. “We literally upgraded everything in the house,” David explains, “from the insulation to the dramatic antique wormy chestnut flooring I just had to have; to the tile in the master bath that surpassed our entire tile budget. On the exterior of the home, none of the exterior hardscape was pre-planned, so we ended up spending over $250,000 on stone walls, sprinklers for over two acres and plant life.” That expense was essential once the couple realized the views they would be able to capture by placing the home at the top of the hill, rather than at a more accessible spot farther down. “The grandest feature of the house is its breathtaking views,” the couple concurs. Another unplanned expense was the whole house audio / video system. “Every room in the house has at least one TV, and there are three in my office,” David reports.

David however, had planned for overruns upfront. “As I advise my customers, I set the loan up for more than I believed I needed for a few pennies extra in costs. When I started to go over budget I had the money in the bank to pay for them (due to the fact that I put very little down at the construction close). As I made additional changes the bank allowed me to increase my construction loan at the same rate. I did one mortgage for the build with no PMI even though I was at 90% loan to value during construction. My rate during construction was the same as my permanent rate. My build time went to 15 months and I did not lose my rate or pay a fee;” he says.

Was it worth it? “The house came out beautifully; it’s our dream home,” David says. “This is truly where I want to retire. I put two years of my heart and soul into it and I believe it has made me a far better lender. I’ve felt the pain and indecision that clients have described. I’ve made the mistakes that clients have made. I’ve made all the changes; gone over budget, and run into the normal and abnormal obstacles that go into building a home of this magnitude. I understand the process better from both a builder’s and a homeowner’s standpoint. That has made me a wiser lender more able to support my customers and help them make decisions that will guide them through the process.”

So after all the lessons have been learned and everything is complete would the financial guy be willing to start from scratch and go through it all again? “Would I consider selling it? For the right price sure;” he says with a laugh.

David Woldman is a construction loan specialist with SunTrust Mortgage. To have him guide you through your project, call him at (704) 651-8377.

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Website: www.YourCharlotteLuxuryHome.com

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