10th Anniversary Idea House: Built to Last

Produced by Elizabeth Raines Beeler
Builders James Adams Jr., Scott Gurganus, and Lee Johnson of Watermark Homes partnered with local contractors and artisans to create a home with superior craftsmanship. "From a residential standpoint, this house represents the highest level of construction available today," says co-owner James Adams. The house is fully custom, from the cabinetry and built-ins to the staircase, paneling, and molding. "At this level, your framer must also be a trim carpenter, your trim carpenter should be able to build custom cabinetry, and your cabinet-maker needs the expertise to craft pianos," says co-owner Scott Gurganus. The team worked especially hard to find environmentally sensitive building products that need little maintenance.

Roof: The builders chose a standing-seam product from Metal Roofing Alliance because it promises a life span of 40 to 60 years (twice the term of a regular roof). Metal roofing withstands gusts of up to 140 mph, which can occur in coastal areas. Made partially from recycled materials, these roofs are an environmentally conscious choice, as well.

Siding: "James Hardie HardiePlank is absolutely superior in its industry," says James Adams. "Not only is it designed to last, but it's also available in about 50 different prefinished colors, eliminating the need to paint. Even though it's a resilient composite product, it looks and feels like wood."

HVAC: The builders chose a Signature Series heating and cooling unit from Lennox Industries. With full-scale climate control and a touch-pad thermostat, the quiet unit provides both comfort and ease. It's fuel-efficient and saves hundreds of dollars annually on heating and cooling bills.

Trim: AZEK trim materials maintain the qualities of real wood without the drawbacks. The PVC-based product has all of the density of white pine. Easily milled, it resists warping and rotting, and it doesn't have to be painted.

IIS: An AMX integrated information system with low-voltage wiring provides the most up-to-date technology. "It's a smart house-about 10 years ahead of its time," Scott says. Fully integrated with touch-panel control, the system operates the house both inside and out.

Lock system: An electronic Schlage touch-pad lock means homeowners receive the highest level of security while allowing access for those who wish to leave their keys behind.

Central vacuum: The house contains a powerful central-vacuum system from NuTone, which provides clean, mold-free air. The vacuum services the entire house from one location, eliminating the chore of lugging a heavy vacuum cleaner between floors. The unit's internal sound system makes it virtually noise-free.

Sink: The sink's the hub of activity in our Idea House kitchen, so we chose a low-maintenance Franke EuroPro sink in tough stainless steel.

Countertops: With the performance benefits of a nonporous material, the Cambria quartz surfaces in the guest bath and third-floor wet bar are stain-resistant and twice as strong as granite.