From the Ground Up

The Naples area has a variety of unique neighborhoods from beach side enclaves to some of the best golf course communities in the country. It also has a large sector that has been developed for homes set on acreage. From Golden Gate Estates to Livingston Woods, to the Rural Estates, Collier County offers people the opportunity to live on larger lots, usually ranging between 1.5 to 5 acres. These home sites give families plenty of room to grow, and, since these communities are not deed restricted, they offer the privacy and freedom that gated communities usually can not. People move to these communities to build their dream homes so they can have larger workshops for their hobbies, gardens, tree houses for their children, host bonfires, and many other considerations.

Space and privacy were the reasons Melinda and Paul Sullivan decided to purchase their 2.5 acre lot on Oakes Boulevard. “We were so excited to find this land; it was the perfect lot in the perfect location,” says Melinda Sullivan. They wanted to move out of their gated community and build the home they had dreamed of for years. “We are both real estate agents so we’ve been listing and showing homes throughout Naples for quite a while. I’ve always made mental notes of the layouts I’ve liked in different homes so when it came time to design our own, we knew exactly what we wanted to incorporate.” That decisiveness helped the Sullivans and their custom builder, Gulfstream Homes, as they developed design plans. Having some idea of what you are looking for, both in size and in lifestyle needs, can help as you meet with your builder to design your home. Having the ability to make changes in real time is a huge help. “When clients come in to either modify one of our existing floor plans or to create a totally custom design, we are able to show them the changes as they are made. They can watch us move virtual walls around and then walk out with the finished plan in hand,” says Gulfstream Homes’ Director of Business Operations and Managing Member, Jeneane Bennett. Bennett also takes point on the other design aspects of the home, and assists her clients in choosing everything from their pavers to their bathroom paint colors. 

When building in the Estates and surrounding areas, where clearing and infrastructure needs are different, it is important to find a builder who has experience with these types of lots. From wells to septic tanks, many people are not familiar with the unique water and sewage needs the Estates presents. Working with a builder who is accustomed to dealing with these differences can make the process much smoother. “We were going to interview three builders but after talking with the team at Gulfstream Homes, we knew we would be working with them on our home,” says Melinda. With a long history of on your lot construction, Gulfstream brought the knowledge and experience the Sullivans desired.
They also appreciated Gulfstream Homes’ commitment to communication, which is an important part of the building process. “When you build a home, the unknowns are the stressful part. We think that this should be a fun and exciting time so we do our best to make sure our team is communicating on a daily basis with the new homeowners,” says Michael Peel, co-founded of Gulfstream Homes. This commitment includes limiting the number of projects supervisors manage and using special software that clients log into to check on daily progress reports. The Sullivans enjoyed that level of personal attention during their build. “Our supervisor, Dominic Buzzy, checked in with us constantly and was available anytime we had a question or concern. He actually became a friend to us during the process. This is probably the most expensive purchase one will ever make, so for us, having someone like Dominic available when we needed him was such a stress reliever and allowed us to enjoy the process and the final result.”

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