Baglio Design & Build Team Makes Coming Home a Joy
Written by Chrysa Smith
Interior Photography by Aliza Baran
Exterior Photography by Chris Kayser
Baglio Design & Build Team has been working in the Geneva Lakes Area for 39 years building custom homes and renovating existing ones to create stunning masterpieces.
“You should walk in the door and get that OMG feeling,” Denise Baglio says about a home. Together, the Interior Designer and wife/partner of builder Michael Baglio, hear that comment all the time. And it never gets old.
The Baglios have twice received awards from the Lakeland Builders Association Parade of Homes–once in 2008 and again in 2018 for ‘Best Kitchen, Overall Floor Plan, and Front and Rear Elevations.’ Their proven process starts with a simple phone call.
“I get calls and set up a date to come to our home,” says Denise. Michael & Denise’s Geneva National Craftsman style home serves as the model home and meeting place with a WOW factor. “It’s a great visual for people,” she adds. “The way I designed our home gives clients a feel for the quality and finish in the work we do.” As a custom-builder, Mike says there are no custom tract homes on display. Theirs is the outlier, and it seems to be doing the job.
Perhaps that “OMG” feeling comes when you walk through the front door, as the architecture elements of Modern Industrial design, high ceilings, glam, and some barnwood to anchor down. A custom staircase, made from tube steel and rebar with white accents, has thick oak rails and open treads, keeping the space open. The neutral fabrics on their sectional and dining room chairs are shades of gray, allowing the home to be decorated for all seasons. When the neutral palette gets a bit dull, Denise adds pops of colors with area rugs and throw pillows. “For under $2000, you have a great new look,” she says.
The kitchen has Shaker style white cabinetry with a marbled antique mirror backsplash and a custom-designed raw metal vent hood in a dark patina with zinc straps. The unattached bar area is necessary for Denise to host guests and keep them busy while she works magic in the kitchen.
As with all houses, owners have a favorite room, and they are no exception. A 35’ X 15’ three-season room houses their indoor grill, fireplace, heater, and enough space to entertain a crowd. “On Thanksgiving the fireplace and heater go on, we open the sliders and enjoy the warmth of indoors with the views of wildlife and the outdoors,” Denise mentions. They can comfortably accommodate 25 guests, both in the three-season room as well as the main living and dining space.
In the main living space, the ceilings are 20 feet high in the great room and 18 feet in the two first-floor bedrooms. Since they kept the roof line of the original home blueprint, the added height really opened up the already open-concept living area.
The two-level house that sits at over 4,000 square feet began as many things do. And that was a plan that was completely redone. “We originally had a different two-story design in 2008 on another plot of land,” says Denise, which was not an ideal time with the looming housing crash. Their plans were put on hold, they sold the lot, and life moved forward. Less than a decade later, the project began calling to them again. This time, with a different look. Their original French Country style design took a left turn, as Denise took the original architect’s designs and made them her own with some creative touches. The result? A dream home that makes them happy to get up in the morning and be living there.
With Customers, It’s A Process
When it comes to designing a home, not everyone is sure what they are looking for. In fact, Mike says there are some customers who have no idea at all and others an idea of style but no concept of the costs or timeline.
“One thing people tend to know is whether they want a ranch or two-story home,” Mike says. “Older clientele generally want a ranch style home, but it depends upon the building lot, and much may change after talking through the project with them.” Mike jokingly says of himself and Denise that they have to use their ears instead of their mouths and listen closely for what a client wants. “We have to get inside their head,” Mike says. And sometimes what a potential client wants and what their budget is do not match.” In fact, you might consider the process a match-making game.
To start the process, many questions are asked about lifestyle, budget, family size, and dynamics. Will there be a lot of entertaining going on? Do they own a lot, or will they need help finding the perfect one? So much can change.
After the initial meeting and the client agrees to proceed with the project, an architect is brought in, the same architect, in fact, that the Baglios used for their own home. He will do a quick concept sketch of a floor plan after meeting with the clients and, if everyone is on the same page, he will create the preliminary renderings, including floor plans for all levels and front elevations. Mike says he’s used this architect for years as he is great at what he does and provides a good value and handles the structural engineering issues.
“I use primary and secondary subcontractors who do quality work and get it done 150% every time,” says Mike.
At this stage in the process, everything is two-dimensional. After another agreement to proceed, the team moves to the progress stage which includes more in-depth floorplans which then lead to gathering bids from contractors and service providers. Once changes are made and final plans are drawn up, the building process begins.
“Up here, exterior-wise, the Craftsman style is the most popular,” Denise adds. “Older homes can be Mid-Century, but I can do most anything. I’ve done Coastal style homes to Modern Classic style with some traditional finishes with black doors and polished nickel rosettes. An upcoming project is Rustic Modern.”
Denise retorts that she comes up with crazy ideas and Mike has to implement them. “Perhaps the biggest challenge comes when we are working with clients who have never built a custom home before and need to understand the process.” Michael and Denise are there to help customers every step of the way to ensure that the home is built to their liking and stylistic preferences.
After all, Denise mentions, “We work our tails off from the beginning till the day we deliver the house. We treat each home as our own. We’ll clean if we need to. We’ll even unpack for people and dispose of boxes.”
And that’s something to WOW about.