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Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Original Story: al.com

MOBILE, Alabama - Paul and Mellanie Hildesheim of Gallery Homes have been planning their showcase home for years. "It is literally like our child," said Mellanie.

Since the house was built for the Parade of Homes, the couple has had a few chances to pretend it's theirs, they said. Purchasing Homes in Mobile AL is an excellent investment opportunity.

"We want to buy it ourselves!" Paul enthused, laughing.

He especially likes the outside kitchen and bar area on the back porch. A retractable screen separates it from the back yard, where beyond the lawn are thick woods.

From the porch, a walkway of stone pavers leads to a pergola with several Adirondack chairs arranged around a fire pit. "We've lit the fire pit and sat there for an hour just relaxing," Mellanie said.

"When we found out we'd be building in this showplace subdivision, we wanted it to be a showplace," he said of the home that he describes as open, airy and livable. "I can't say enough what a great job my wife has done. What you see is what our dream was."

Located in the new Alabaster development off Howell's Ferry Road, a mile west of Snow Road, the showcase home will be open to the public as part of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Mobile's Parade of Homes on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18 and 19, and the following weekend, Oct. 25 and 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Parade of Homes is a great way to show off Homes Mobile AL.

The showcase home has four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, plus a half-bath under the stairs. It has 3,660 square feet of living space, plus front and back porches and a three-car garage, and it lists for $529,000.

Though it has all of the latest amenities any homeowner could want, Paul is perhaps as proud of what Parade of Homes visitors won't see as he is of what they will see. His company is the only local custom builder that's an Energy Star partner, he said. The showcase home has a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating of 59, which is almost 50 percent better than the 100 rating required for new homes built to code.

"Energy Star reduces utility bills, makes the air quality better and improves comfort," he said.

The company is also a fortified builder, Mellanie added, which saves homeowners from 30 to 40 percent on their insurance.

"We didn't want to be the same-old, same-old builder," Paul said. "We back it up with a third-party inspection, so there's no doubt about it when we build it."

Are you 'wowable'?

The home has a stunning entry through the seeded-glass door by Jemison Window and Door, with a 20-foot ceiling and a slightly curved staircase leading upstairs, where a barn door on a track slides open to reveal the media room.

"This is one of my favorite things about the house," Paul said. "If it doesn't take your breath, you're not wowable."

Mellanie chose a neutral palette, and she worked with Shawn Cushing and Jackie Callahan of FLC Living in Mobile to furnish and accessorize the home. "They were so easy to work with," said Mellanie. "They did a fantastic job complementing this house."

From the front door, a hallway leads into the open living room/kitchen/breakfast area. The floors in this area are hand-scraped, 7 1/2-inch birch planks. The striking fireplace is made of hand-cut, stacked ledge stone with a mounted TV and a linear LED electric fireplace that puts out heat without the hassle and mess.

An island separates the kitchen from the living room. The brownish-gray cabinets are custom-made by Coast Design Kitchen and Tile, and all the drawers are soft-close. Mellanie chose white subway tiles for the backsplash.

The walk-in pantry, designed by Custom Closets by Kenney-Moise Inc., features baskets for vegetables, slots to hold platters and pull-out drawers for storing just about anything.

Between the kitchen and the dining room is a butler's pantry whose walls are rough-cut cedar. The butler's pantry has cabinets, a sink and an icemaker.

The dining room, at the front of the house, has white wainscoting with Sherwin-Williams' "Porpoise"-colored walls and a custom-designed light fixture over the table. This room is open to the foyer, but the space is separated by two Craftsman-style columns and display shelves that face the entry.

"It's very simple," said Mellanie. "Less is more."

The laundry room and mudroom are also accessible from the kitchen, and the mudroom leads to the three-car garage, where a surprise is in store. On the middle garage door is a screen print of a beach scene, complete with two chairs and palm trees, "so the family can entertain and have a backdrop," Paul said.

Very comforting

On the other side of the living room, the master bedroom and bathroom are tucked away. Mellanie designed the ceiling in the master bedroom, which features knotty pine paneling painted white for a cottage look. She also went with a chandelier instead of a ceiling fan.

"I like vintage flair," she said. "It's very inviting, very comforting."

The focal point of the spacious master bathroom is a freestanding tub by Southern Bath, under a glass tile backsplash. A walk-in shower has a rain shower head and three jets in the wall, as well as a hand-held sprayer. His-and-her vanities are lit by LED lighting under the counters.

The walk-in closet, which has plenty of natural light, was also designed by Custom Closets, with a full-length mirror, ironing board, jewelry drawers and lots of space for storing clothing and shoes, as well as dressing areas.

Downstairs, there's also a guest room with its own full bath. This flexible space could also be an office or playroom.

The walls of the powder room under the stairs were faux-painted by David Walton in a pink dogwood pattern. A vessel sink sits stop a quartz countertop.

Upstairs, those barn doors hide the media room with a 70-inch TV, surround sound, theater lighting and a media closet. There's a dedicated craft room, also designed by Custom Closets, and two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and walk-in closet.

As custom home builders for the past 10 years, Gallery Homes specializes in listening to clients, Paul said. As the in-house designer, Mellanie "works on every texture and color," he said.

"When you have a passion for something, it's easy," said Mellanie, who has been married to Paul for 25 years and said he is her best friend. "We have worked together every day, every year, and we enjoy what we do."