turn a $2.5 million beach unit into a $4.5 million Old World showcase, with lavish furnishings and intricate gold-leaf detail

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX of Orange Beach

Ron and Yvonne Scaglione turn a $2.5 million beach unit into a $4.5 million Old World showcase, with lavish furnishings and intricate gold-leaf detail Sunday, May 04, 2008 By KATHY JUMPERReal Estate Editor

Ron and Yvonne Scaglione, who buy, renovate and sell high-end properties, have just completed their latest project a 4,300-square-foot, Gulf-front Opal condominium unit in Orange Beach listed for $4.5 million.

"We like to find a property with good bones and create something unique to the area," said the Tampa-based businessman, who also owns a house in Park City, Utah.

Among the places they've bought, then gutted, rebuilt and furnished, was a Tampa estate right across the street from a house owned by New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. It sold in seven months to a hedge fund manager, according to Scaglione.


The couple discovered Orange Beach through business and bought the 10th-floor unit in the fall of 2006 for about $2.5 million.

"It's a lifestyle," he said of the condo complex, which has one unit per floor in its 13 stories. "The property is very unique. We never see our neighbors. It's like having your own workout room and indoor and outdoor pool. And it's maintenance-free living."

The couple invested almost

$1 million over the past year in gutting the four-bedroom, 4cm HALF-bath unit that was already upscale in its own right.

It's not your typical redo, and the unit will be marketed to buyers who can afford the lavish furnishings and designer details, according to Michael Dagley, broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Shore Realty in Orange Beach. "It's a trophy property and you've got a targeted market."

However, given the softness in the beach market, the Scagliones might have a hard time getting their target price, according to Chuck Norwood of REMAX of Gulf Shores. He has a client's Opal unit listed for $2.5 million. "It's one of the finest quality buildings on the beach in Orange Beach. But it's going to take a special kind of buyer to come in there at that price."

"I say more power to him; tell him to bring those guys in here who can buy at that price," said Elizabeth Helton of REMAX of Orange Beach. "Let them find out what this jewel we have is all about. There are those instances where the wealthiest of the wealthy can buy what they want."


"We've taken French European architecture and brought it to the beach," Scaglione said.

The couple brought in five craftsmen from California to install the intricate, hand-

applied, gold-leaf crown molding throughout the entire unit. It is the same plaster product that was used in the restoration of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Largo Club in Palm Springs, Fla., according to Scaglione. The gold-leaf details are also prevalent on the doors and cabinetry.

The couple relocated a bath, enlarged the kitchen and added a second island, turned the existing laundry room into a wine cellar, moved the laundry room closer to the bedrooms, changed ceiling designs and replaced a guest bedroom window to obscure the view of the neighbor's parking lot.

The contemporary, beach condo design was replaced with Old World ornate fixtures of 18-karat gold and crystal chandeliers in every room, including several lighting a long hallway. One of the kitchen chandeliers, purchased in New York City, was made in Venice. Only two exist, and rock star Bon Jovi owns the other one, Scaglione said.

Each room stands on its own, with most designed around a piece of art, sculpture or a design detail. Fairhope artist Luke Edwards did much of the faux painting and artistic detail on the walls and Summer Ennis Interiors in Fairhope helped with the draperies and as a consultant.

The walls feature the latest in wallpaper, faux and hand-painted trends, including a Venetian plaster, French patterns, glass beaded walls in the baths, and a colorful Harlequin-style pattern.

The furnishings were chosen to accent the European style, with most purchased during shopping trips to Italy and New York. The condo features marble statues, original art and antiques such as an $11,000 table inlaid with gold and ivory-colored tortoise shell. A hand-carved grandfather clock from Sorrento, Italy, is prominent near the piano.

"We don't get attached to material things," Yvonne Scaglione said. "Each house is a new adventure and a new style. Half the fun in decorating is going to market."

The Scagliones are looking at foreclosure properties across the U.S. in search of their next project. Ron Scaglione started buying investment properties to renovate 20 years ago and also works as a financial consultant.

They said they like Orange Beach and think their unit will appeal to a high-end buyer who wants to fly here on his plane and be in his condo within 15 minutes.

"The Jack Edwards Airport is a big asset," said Scaglione, who owns his own plane. "It's becoming a well-known beach community."


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Scott & Tinsley Myrick

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