OWNERS and OWNERS' COMMENTS:
Francis and Diane Lott are both natives and residents of Douglas/Coffee County, a rural community in southeast Georgia, a 2-hour drive from Sealoft. Mr. Lott earned an architectural degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1959, but built a career as a commercial real estate developer and investor. Both are engaged in community and civic activities.
Sealoft is a fabulous house and magnificent architecture, a daring and inspired design, far beyond our initial aspirations and dreams. It is also very functional, highly livable, and warm and inviting - unusual, we think, for a house so modern.
Selection of the "right" architect for any commission is critical to the success of the process and the outcome. A discerning client should first have a strong sense of his/her desires in style and taste and match those with an architect who has excelled in doing that kind of work over time.
We were fortunate to find our "match" in award-winning "master" architect, William Morgan of Jacksonville, Florida. His entire career has been committed to the creative pursuit of excellence in contemporary architecture. We loved his work. With Sealoft, Mr. Morgan was clearly at the "top of his game". His concept was highly creative, but simple - powerful and dramatic, yet inviting.
The involvement of and interaction between several other players during the design and development process helped shape the outcome and were critical to its success - a well thought-out design program (imposing few restrictions), brilliant structural and mechanical engineers, talented interior designer, superb builder and knowledgeable, focused owner/client. All principals "connected" on the project, and, lo - the planets and stars were aligned!
We love this house, its openness, its lightness. Mood of the house constantly changes, as the sun moves across expanses of glass in the walls, light towers and skylight, creating dramatically different lighting situations throughout each day (and across seasons).
The house and everything about it are awesome to us, yet - 7 years after initiating the design process and 4 years after moving in. I still have the same reaction every time I walk in the front door - exhilaration and sheer wonder. It seems like a new experience every time - thrilling and up-lifting!
Entrance into the atrium garden court, with Christmas Palms towering above, usually evokes the first "wow" from guests. Another "expletive" moment follows as they break out from the confines of the stair (or lift) at the second floor. There, the vastness and sheer magnificence of the living space, opening to a full panoramic view of the dunes and ocean beyond, seems to literally "explode" into one's consciousness. All primary rooms and spaces face the ocean and enjoy great views.
Bill Morgan is a highly-acclaimed architect of long-standing in northeast Florida and has designed many noteworthy houses and commercial buildings in his native Jacksonville and nearby beaches. However, Sealoft was the first Bill Morgan-designed house to be built on adjacent Amelia Island, only forty-five minutes away. We are very proud that it is ours.
We were particularly fortunate in the recruitment of our builder, Russell Tomasini, easily the most conscientious and capable construction person I have ever been associated with. He took ownership of construction, did a terrific job and gave great attention to detail, making the process a thoroughly enjoyable experience. To this day, we treasure Russell's enduring friendship.
We are not typical clients. I earned a Batchelor of Architecture degree from Georgia Tech in 1959, but chose not to pursue the profession. I am not licensed, and I do not practice, having built a career as a real estate developer. Nonetheless, I have still managed to design and detail many of my own projects, before turning them over to architects and engineers for preparation of construction drawings. The process has been stimulating and enjoyable and the results rewarding.
However, the opportunity and challenge posed by the design of a new home for myself was very special, very important. I wanted a house far "better" than anything I thought I could deliver, considering my own limited experience. I concluded that if I could just select the "right" architect, I might well realize a house far better than anything I had ever thought possible or even dared imagine. In my view, everything came together with Sealoft, and we could not be more pleased.
Our primary home is in Douglas, Georgia, a two-hour drive from Sealoft. It was designed by another talented contemporary architect, Blake Ellis of Valdosta, Georgia. Totally different in style, constructed almost entirely of redwood and completed in 1969, it, too, is a highly successful home - still every bit as relevant today as it was 41 years ago, when first completed.
My wife and I are the proud owners of two highly architectural homes in different contemporary styles by different architects. We are extremely pleased with both and, other than occasional updating of furnishings, would not change either one.