Article - Home offers panoramic views, energy efficient design

Article - Home offers panoramic views, energy efficient design Practicality is very rarely the partner of wish fulfillment, but in the case of the dream house for Lily and Darryl Burns, it was a critical part of the dream.

The Merritt Island couple wanted a showplace fit for the frequent entertaining they so enjoy, but that was not all they desired.

"We also wanted a house without a lot of maintenance and ongoing costs," says Darryl Burns.

The 4,800-square-foot home on South Tropical Trail, with sweeping views of the Banana River and two acres of meticulously landscaped grounds and meandering paths, delivers on both counts. The residence is indeed so perfect a place for entertaining that within a couple of months of moving in, the Burns had already hosted parties for 350 guests of the Women's Center South Guild. Yet while the house is awe-inspiring, it is also an energy miser and surprisingly inexpensive to maintain.

Darryl and Lily, who have spent their careers working in Washington, DC, craved for a Southern nest away from the hubbub of the nation's capital. They had almost settled for a Palm Beach bungalow when they decided to explore the Space Coast. They fell in love with Brevard, but couldn't find any existing home they liked. They, did, however, find Charles Boyd Construction and builder Charlie Boyd, who was able to amply fulfill the couple's dreams by creating a house that combines a host of visually appealing elements with cutting-edge energy saving features, such as an expansive infinity pool with a highly energy efficient heat pump and LED lighting.

"He asked us what we wanted in a house and nailed it for us," says Darryl. "The first rendition was pretty much it."

The house has such wow factors that it is hard to see beyond the tremendous visual appeal in order to delve into its energy consciousness, but among its power-saving assets is the Bayseal closed cell foam installed by Bayer in the attic, providing an R-value of 6.9 per inch. Two Trane gas tankless water heaters churn endless piping hot water instantly, yet they boast energy efficiency among the highest in the industry. Three Trane XL20i air conditioners boast two compressors with variable speed indoor units, 20 SEER efficiency and ComfortLink ii communication technology, which in layman's terms, mean they are among the most efficient in the industry and can be accessed remotely via the internet.

The custom blend five-color roof tile made by Eagle Roofing Products is pretty to look at, but also a workhorse that is Energy Star and Cool Roof Rating Council approved.

An over-sized porte cochere and patio roof help keep the house cool even in stifling weather, making for miniscule electric bills, considering the home's size.

In siting the home, the couple opted to have few windows facing north and south, but that does not mean the home lacks for light. Plenty of windows and disappearing sliding glass walls bathe the interior with light from the east and west. All of the windows are, of course, extremely low maintenance and highly energy efficient, rated to withstand any hurricane, as is the custom mahogany doors with impact glass. Should a storm arrive and power leave, the couple can depend on a whole house generator to keep life chugging along as usual.

Both Darryl and Lily enjoy cooking, so to keep peace in the kitchen, the couple opted to install two ovens.

"That way we each have our own oven and we don't get in each other's way," says Lily.

The Dacor Discovery series was the choice for appliances throughout the house. Installed by Capritta Fine Appliance of Melbourne, Dacor had several pluses on their side.

"It is American-made and all have a high-efficiency Energy Star rating," says Darryl.

Heller honey maple cabinetry gets a pop of contrast with the black island and a butler's pantry does double duty as a bar when guests arrive. The latter serves as a focal point for visitors, so no one needs to search for a beverage, should they desire one.

Most of the lighting and faucets throughout the house were discoveries Darryl found through internet shopping. An internet purchase was also the double-sided gas fireplace that warms both the living room and master bedroom.

Each of the guest bedrooms feature their very own mini-fridge, energy efficient, of course. So, too, does Lily's craft room on the second floor.

Saving money is nice, but good looks make all those energy savings even sweeter. Darryl and Lily meticulously planned the location of every room to capitalize on the water views. Darryl's home office, for example, enjoys a panoramic view of the river and their private dock.

"He situated it so he could catch the views," says Boyd.

Nearby is the "library hall," which also includes space for an elevator shaft.

"I've had two back surgeries last year, so we wanted to be prepared if we need to install an elevator down the line," says Darryl.

Darryl himself installed five miles of computer cabling throughout, preparing the house for any emerging technology the couple would like to add. Brevard Alarm of Melbourne installed a security system that permits remote internet access to both the alarm system and 12 security cameras.

"He can be out of town and change the temperature in the house and monitor the alarm system," says Boyd.

Such peace of mind was another must-have for the Burns. After all, dream homes can quickly become nightmares if they're too labor-intensive.

"When we're away, we don't have to worry about the house," Darryl says. "And when we're here, there is very little maintenance."