All her life Janet Bodo has had an affinity for anything with an Oriental flavor. So when she and her husband Alex built their home in Brandon two years ago, they incorporated that motif throughout the custom home. "We didn't have anything Oriental in our home when I was growing up, but one of my friends did, and I always loved to go over there," said Janet. "Even now, when I am in a department store, I always gravitate to anything Oriental." Alex shares her love of the style.
The home, poised at the end of a street lined with houses in the more common traditional, country or contemporary architectural styles, stands out from its neighbors.
Although the home has a definite Mediterranean exterior _ rough white stucco walls, concrete balustrades around a front terrace and a glazed tile roof _ the Bodos' Eastern affinity shows in the jade-green roof.
This leads the eye to four vibrant stained-glass entry doors depicting Oriental vases and flowers. Another stained-glass Oriental scene is fitted into the round porthole above the terrace.
Inside, the jade color is introduced again in the Italian marble entry floor and painted faux marble columns that soar to the 22-foot ceiling above.
Oriental style furniture and floral arrangements continue the theme throughout.
Most of the colors are light and airy, and don't have the heavy feeling that some Oriental motifs convey. The dining room, although filled with ample furniture, has a very soft, quiet hint of maize as the dominant color.
Rows of rose-colored tiles within the pickled oak crown molding provide a punch of color, and rose is used again in a wide band inserted a few inches from the edge of the off-white carpet.
The Bodos' choice of decor stems from more than a love for beauty. They both work for specialty foods companies and say their type of work generates a lot of excitement for them as well as stress.
When they come home, excitement is not what they want.
"I love the harmony associated with an Oriental motif because of the whole theory behind it," said Alex. "The serenity, the calmness, the quiet discipline."
Janet adds, "Oriental is more than a decorating preference, it's a way of life. It's deeper than just a piece of furniture or a roll of material. It's a value."
They have used the Eastern motif to create a haven in their home, built from a part of this and a piece of that, as they spent more than a year looking at houses, talking to builders, and looking through a mountain of magazines.
Although they say it's a place to relax now, building the home was not without its headaches.
It took a full year to finish, and the couple had to buy additional land in back when they realized they were beyond the setbacks allowed by deed restriction, Alex said.
In the end, however, they gained a woodsy, natural buffer between themselves and the neighbors on the next street. The additional land adds to the value of the property, they said.
"It seems like when you build a house from the ground up and have a set price in mind that you want to stay with, somehow it never really materializes," said Alex. "It goes up .
. and up, up, up."
In addition to the expense for the extra land, they added another 200 square feet to the plan of the house plus another 200 to the pool area.
Another expense was wallpaper. Most of the ceilings are 12 feet high, which nearly doubled the cost of the wallpaper.
The five-bedroom home is built in a U shape, with a 70-foot lanai stretching out from the living room. Columns were repeated in this area as well as inside, and a pool and heated Jacuzzi is included in the screened area that extends out into the wooded back yard.
The kitchen and family room open onto the lanai from one side, the master suite opens from the other. Another bedroom and the dining room face the front of the house. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms in addition to the two on the bottom level.
But, the year-long process to build and the added expense was worth it, they say, because they find great comfort in their home.
"We needed a very calm atmosphere to come home to," said Janet, "and now we've got it."