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The telescope in the observatory has a digital camera that sends
images to every television and computer screen in the home. In
fact, if the client wants to view a certain galaxy, he only has to
program his computer to open the observatory roof and aim the
telescope automatically.
Tucson builder Jeff Willmeng used a concrete, buffered column to
anchor the telescope independently and keep it from being jarred
by movement in the house below. “That was somewhat of a chal-
lenge, along with making the observatory watertight,” Willmeng
says. The dome is painted in a dark, bronze-like finish that comple-
ments the home’s exterior colors.
The interiors, designed by Lori Carroll & Associates, Tucson, are
more contemporary in function and finish. Two kitchens are located
back to back at the center of the house. The main kitchen is a
“show kitchen” with a cooktop, sink, and serving bar. A big-screen
TV mounted over the cooktop creates a sports-bar atmosphere that
the clients desired. Behind the main kitchen is the butler’s pantry,
which functions as a catering kitchen or scullery with two micro-
wave ovens, a second dishwasher, and a few spare burners.
“The show kitchen is all stripped down and nice and neat,”
Robinette says. “The clients can entertain and be in the middle of
all the action, yet run around the corner and make a mess in the
scullery and the guests won’t see it.”
Steps away from the main kitchen, sliding doors fold back to a
covered porch overlooking the swimming pool. A detached casita
serves as a cabana, game room, or additional guest quarters.
Willmeng left the structure on the underside of the porch exposed
for visual interest. When no one is swimming, the clients can enjoy
the pool’s splashing fountains. The backyard isn’t huge, Robinette
says, “but for retirees, not having a huge yard is a good thing.”
Long-range plan
The owners of this home in West Falmouth, Mass. (see page 10),
have five children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Their primary
residence is in Greenwich, Conn. You might think retirement isn’t
on their radar, but in fact, their Massachusetts home is designed for
the day when the kids are out of the house. It has space for a future
elevator; a chairlift on the rear deck’s exterior stairs; multiple heat-
ing and cooling zones; and remote-controlled thermostats. A room
where the children currently do schoolwork will eventually become
a home office. The cedar shingles, composite decking and trim, and
stainless steel rails and cables require virtually no maintenance.
After tearing down the family’s cramped, existing home, Cataldo
Custom Builders of East Falmouth, Mass., built a new, 5,200-square-
foot residence on the site. The property has views of West Falmouth
Harbor and Buzzards Bay, near the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal.
Because it’s in a coastal flood zone as well as a conservation area,
the permitting process was especially onerous.
To comply with flood-zone requirements, Cataldo raised the first
floor 13 feet. Since the home is also in a hurricane zone, impact-re-
sistant glass was used for the windows and doors and the structure
was reinforced with tie-downs from the roof to the foundation.
Architect Greg Jones of Wise Surma Jones, New Bedford, Mass.,
designed a three-story home that maximizes views, with private
The “show kitchen” (above), with its big-screenTV, is elegantly fitted out for en-
tertaining. Behind this kitchen is a butler’s pantry (left) for food preparation and
hiding dirty dishes. The clients chose their lot for its view of the Santa Catalina
Mountains (right) and location right on the golf course.While fairly flat, the site
did present some challenges for builder JeffWillmeng: “There was a huge vein
of very hardTucson granite running through it, and we ended up pinning the
foundation to the granite in a lot of places.”
Retirement Retreats