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Room to play



living room

The centerpiece in Tony and AnnMarie Napolitano’s living room is the piano that belonged to her mother, Gloria. ROB DOWNEY PHOTOS

PGA Village couple immerses themselves in hands-on home projects

BY GREG GARDNER

AnnMarie and Anthony “Tony” Napolitano just can’t stop remodeling their 13-year-old estate home in PGA Village.

“We have a project every year,” said Tony, who is a retired fire captain from Broward County.

Most recently, the couple resurfaced the pool, added a hot tub and installed travertine marble around the pool. Before that, they remodeled the summer kitchen to include new tilework and countertops, and a new stove and appliances. And before that...

The couple raised their two sons in the home until they went off to college. “We wanted to build a house where all the kids would want to play,” said AnnMarie, a luxury-home Realtor at Keller Williams in Port St. Lucie. “This was a great house to raise our kids and we loved having the other kids at the house. It was nice.”

Above the 4.5-car garage is the playroom, which is home to an extensive collection of sports memorabilia. Active in local and national charities, the couple made the highest bid on many of the autographed balls, bats and shirts.

An avid baseball fan and coach, Tony taught his sons and Little League players for years at the batting cage in the backyard. And through a connection with the New York Mets, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. brought his son to the house to throw him batting practice while he was attending Indian River State College playing for the Pioneers. “Guess what honey. I just had a beer with Cal,” a thrilled Tony told his wife.

master bedroom

The beautiful ceiling in the master bedroom took two days for an artist to paint. Recently replaced high-impact glass doors open out to the pool.


BACKYARD GAMES

Sitting on 2 acres behind the home is the half-size basketball court, with home field advantage for thousands of pick-up games and practice sessions over the years. Both projects required special approval from the homeowners association.

The Napolitanos have hosted numerous charity events including a fundraiser for the Mustard Seed in Fort Pierce attended by 100 people that helped raise $25,000. AnnMarie ran the auction locally for Boys Town of Italy. Publishing her own cookbook, she donated the profits to the charity.

Growing up in New York, they love to cook Italian food and have started an Italian American Social Club of PGA (Italian heritage not required). “This is a great house for entertaining,” she said. He designed the sunken wet bar to provide the bartender with a view of sports playing on TV in the family room. It serves as a nice transition point between the kitchen and the living room so all the guests don’t end up congregating in the kitchen.

The huge Italian countryside mural on the side wall of the family room took three days to paint. The artist stayed at the house before heading back to Fort Lauderdale. Using scaffolding, other artists created beautiful faux finishes on the living room and master bedroom ceilings. The formal dining room ceiling has a Venetian plaster finish made from the pattern of dried leaves. Formal furniture in the living room has been replaced by casual seating.

kitchen

The Napolitanos, who love to cook and entertain, spend lots of time in their remodeled kitchen, which features Tiffany lamps and new countertops.


KITCHEN MAKEOVER

The kitchen was remodeled with new countertops. They chose to paint the cabinets — at 20 percent of the cost — instead of replacing them. Tony painted the kitchen since he is the handy man around the house. “I am one of about two persons living here who mows his own grass,” he said. And that is no easy task with large front and backyards. With an array of power washing equipment, Tony also pressure cleans the house, sidewalks and driveways.

“I am the pressure cleaner, but I am also the gardener and I am always gardening,” he said. “If you are lazy it is hard because in the rainy season you have mildew and you have to go out and spray it. I do like new things and if I see an old tree, I will dig it up and plant a new one.”

“Tony has been retired nine years and his life is this house and taking care of it,” AnnMarie said. “I clean the house and he does the gardening.”

Tony knocked on doors to convince 80 percent (65 percent was needed) of nearby residents to vote for extending city water into the neighborhood. “No more salt, no more filters and no more cleaning iron stains,” he said.

pool

With plenty of space for outside entertaining, the couple recently resurfaced the pool, added a hot tub and installed travertine marble around the pool.


TILES ENHANCE DESIGN

As a tile installer in a past career, he knew exactly what he wanted for the house, including the design elements. The bathrooms all have tile from the floor to above the light switches so there are no painted walls to clean. The master bath, with a walk-through shower and matching vanities, was recently upgraded with new granite countertops. AnnMarie designed the décor of the home, including the drapes. She also chose different countertop styles for each bathroom.

On the way up the stairs to the playroom-turned museum, there are dozens of photos of sons Anthony and Joseph. The smiling faces at different ages are a fond reminder of wonderful times growing up. “Our kids grew up here and we wanted this to be the playground, where their friends would come over,” Tony said. “My boys weren’t big (to play football) so I pushed them into baseball. They played since they were in T-ball. We had many team meetings here.”

There were also several summers of road trips to play ball, which has paid off for Joseph, a junior who has a baseball scholarship at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. Anthony, 24, is a motivational speaker and entrepreneur with offices in New York and Salt Lake cities.

Three functioning dormer windows in the playroom allow natural light and a design that combines a Florida look with a traditional Mediterranean style. Known as the House of Seven Gables, the home with 5,000 square feet under air conditioning and 7,000 total, was built in 2004 by Aburton Builders.

“AnnMarie came to me with an idea and a photo, so we came up with a floor plan she really likes,” said Don Warburton, managing member of Aburton. “She had a vision and we took it from there. It is a fabulous, spacious, functional home.”