Makeover maven

living room

It is all about the view in the family room of Pauline Lease’s PGA Village lakefront home. The previously red fireplace was painted white before being tiled. ROB DOWNEY PHOTOS

PGA Village resident right at home with remodeling projects


Pauline Lease just can’t stop renovating her lakefront home that has sweeping views and its own private island.

When Lease and her husband first purchased the Port St. Lucie PGA Village home in 2003, it had been neglected with mold growing in several places. “We slept in the living room on lawn furniture for eight months and we were living in the dirt,” Lease said.

Her late husband George, a concrete company owner and entrepreneur, ripped out the moldy drywall and stripped the flooring all the way down to the concrete slab. Crown molding and baseboards trimmed out the new walls, which were painted a biscuit color. “I decided I liked the bagel color better so George repainted a couple of walls and then I decided to repaint the whole house to give it a warmer feel,” she said.

The red brick, wood-burning fireplace in the family room was first painted white. Lease didn’t like the look, so she had the fireplace covered with iridescent backsplash tile, which brightens and accents the family room. When the couple moved in, the backyard was overgrown and the lake was barely visible. Today, it is cleared out with views of the lake in three directions. Barely 30 feet from the water’s edge is the island — owned by Lease — that serves as a rookery for all kinds of birds.


Australian Blue countertops in the right light bring a glimmering look to the kitchen, which flows out to the family room.

Pink trim was out when the pool was redone with attractive tile work. Landscaping around the estate has been planted, ripped out and replaced with different plants three times. “When you are from up north, you don’t know what to plant,” she said. With the right placement of trees and bushes, the property has a light tropical look.

The barrel tile roof was replaced with a metal barrel tile roof easily mistaken for the real thing except for the barely noticeable screws. Replacing the heavy wood front doors are French doors that allow a nice mix of light into the foyer.

The home feels much larger than 3,291 square feet under air conditioning. The pool and patio area provides almost 2,000 square feet with room for the outdoor dining table with an umbrella. Recess lighting was added in the living room, kitchen and family room. Almost every room opens out with views of the lake.

Surprisingly, the couple liked the kitchen cabinets so they stayed, but all the appliances were upgraded. New countertops were installed with Australian Blue granite, which has an arresting look, sparkling in the right light.The large L-shaped custom-made couch in the living room was shipped from Italy. Two bathrooms have cabinets made with wood from Costa Rica. Cabinets in the master bathroom were made by Amish craftsmen.

master bedroom

French doors open out to the pool from the master bedroom.

Lease lives to shop and has a keen eye for design. Before internet shopping, she would travel 100 miles either north or south to scout for furnishings.

“Give me a doodad and I am happy, but I hate to spend money on things you can’t see,” Lease said.

She saw a hanging light in a magazine and tried to find where she could buy it. Lease was told the light was out of production. She persisted and located one of only two left in the country for sale. The light hangs over the breakfast nook table.

During the eight months the house was under renovations, Lease visited every design and furniture store in South Florida. She carried photos of the rooms so she could look at something and get a feel for how the piece would look in the room.

“What I spent on gas driving back and forth to Boca Raton,” Lease said. “Thank God my husband liked my taste. After he passed away (2007), I didn’t have to ask him. I just wrote the checks. Now that I have figured out how to shop online, I can do it so much easier. You see something you like, you search it out.”

family bedroom

During one of her many scouting trips for furnishings, Pauline Lease discovered this armoire with metal crocodile handles. The couch was imported from Italy.

An example of her attention to detail is the drapes that cover the columns around the family room with its floor-to-ceiling windows. They hide the columns, but were made to remain slightly open to allow light to come through. For sunny afternoons, there are recessed blinds that roll down.

A sloping, winding paver driveway flows smoothly to the 2.5 car garage. The garage is a spotless workshop. Originally, the floor was painted. Lease discovered the floor could be slippery when wet so she put down a rubber mat floor that meshes together.

“Now they have all these TV shows where they remodel houses, which is what I love to do,” said Lease.

This is the fourth house she has remodeled and she designed the renovations for five of her friends’ homes, ripping up floors and repainting.

“People would just give me blank checks,” she said. “I think I missed my calling.”

The couple used to love to throw parties, usually inviting about 30 of their closest friends, who refer to the home as the Mother Mansion. The Elvis Presley impersonator was a huge hit. Lease’s mother lived with them the last six months of her life and about every two weeks they had a birthday party for her.

“We had six or seven parties and my mother would hold court,” Lease said. “Everyone loved her.”

“I have enjoyed this house for 13 years, but it is time to downsize and move to North Carolina to be near my son and grandchildren,” Lease said. “I will miss this. The house has its own personality of serenity and comfort. At night when the moon is out, you feel like you are at the front of the Titanic — just like Rose.”

Originally built in 1991, the home at the end of the cul-de-sac with the private island is listed for sale with the Regan Team at Lang Realty for $699,000.