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Building Timeless Elegance and Enduring Quality

By Rosalinda Lidh

"It's in the details." Cliche? For others, perhaps, but for Donna and Elwood Collier of Collier Classic Homes, it is fact. Working as equal partners for 30 years, the Colliers are in love with the business and, in Elwood Collier's words, "We are in a service business." What does that mean? Collier Classic Homes has built its reputation on service guiding customers through the detailed process of creating the best design for their needs and providing quality construction, craftsmanship and artistry for each individual home. While respect within the industry is invaluable (they have repeatedly received top honors in the Parade of Homes and built three Symphony Showhouses, two of them back-to-back in 1999 and 2000), the Colliers know customer accolades are most important.

Nearly 30 per cent of their annual construction are homes for repeat customers, and many of their referrals are friends or relatives of delighted Collier Classic Homes owners. Each home receives personalized attention that starts before the home is designed and continues past the sale. In fact, the Colliers were raised attending to the details of building homes. Donna's father was a home builder, and Elwood learned the trade from his father and grandfather. Together, they have years of experience measured in generations. In that time, they have developed lasting relationships with quality subcontractors and exceptional artists.
Donna and Elwood Collier

Donna and Elwood Collier
Principals of Collier Classic Homes
Collier Classic Homes relies on the best craftsmen in the area, and the Colliers purposefully limit the number of homes they build to ensure that they have artisans available. Like the Colliers, those craftsmen, in turn, demand the highest quality materials. The Colliers resource their homes from throughout the United States and around the world, creating unique ambiences to suit the luxury home owner. Shaped stone, hand-painted tiles, and carved wood whether from local or international masters are standard features distinctly coordinated for each home.

Having spent the time to secure the best in the industry, the Colliers focus their attention to detail to meet the homeowners' specific needs and fantasies. They bring together professionals to work on the homeowners' team. Collier Classic Homes, together with the homeowners, form a team comprised of the architect, interior decorator, and kitchen, landscape and cabinet designers to mind the details, craft a dream and build a home. Take, for example, the Italian Villa featured here. The goal was to create a resort retreat in the privacy of the owners' home. It has an open design, inviting to the outdoors and in harmony with its surroundings.The disappearing-edge pool leads the eye naturally to the lake beyond. Privacy landscaping screens an out door dining area for intimate gatherings, and a grape arbor is a whimsical escape.

disappearing-edge pool

Custom stone work

Enduring Quality

A vineyard theme extends indoors where carved-wood columns in a grape vine motif leave one looking for the wine cellar, which the Colliers creatively provided. No cellars in Florida? No problem. Such surprises appear through out the home. The owners favored a one-story plan for ease and convenience, yet wanted the grandeur and grace of height. Solution: a three-story foyer enhances the feel of open spaces and luxury accommodations. Handsome on its own, the foyer lends itself beautifully to seasonal decorations and romantic lighting, staples of any resort retreat, personalized to the owners' tastes. Even guests benefit from the resort feel with a luxuriously decorated suite featuring a master bath, a sitting area and a view of the lovely outdoors.
No amenity is overlooked, even to designing cabinets with drawers and shelves, nooks and niches specific to the owners' lifestyle. Another common constant in every Collier Classic Home is quality construction. Nearly 80 percent of Collier Classic Homes are block or poured concrete with reinforced steel. The homes are substantial and durable, meant to resist the heaviest wind loads and the tiniest termites. If you let him, Elwood Collier will explain how he builds on principles and with materials which have made many European homes last for centuries.

To the Colliers, quality means homes built to last. As the Old World Mediterranean home also featured here exemplifies, melding traditional styles with contemporary living is a challenge the Colliers welcome. Donna and Elwood delight in touring Parades of Homes and concept homes all over the United States.
carved-wood columns

A vineyard theme extends indoors where carved-wood columns, in a grapevine motif, leave onelooking for the wine cellar which the Colliers creatively provided. No cellars in Florida? No problem.
When a customer wants the latest convenience or the most current technology, it is a point of pride that the Collier Classic Homes team already knows how to implement the customer's wish. For example, this home has a traditionally styled library with rich wood moldings and an open, yet defined space. Such an effect prohibited the use of real wood molding in a portion of the room. Solution: a local artist painted faux moldings onto the walls.
custom arched entry

We set out to create a beautiful entrance. We ended up with a work of art.

The concept of defined space was carried outdoors with the design of the lanai. The owners relax and entertain in an intimate space with a fireplace for chilly evenings and summer kitchen and bar for hot afternoons. The space flows towards the pool area and is decorated simply and cleanly in organic tones, which blend seamlessly towards the uncomplicated grounds. Even here, an artist labored on the textured walls to complement the great outdoors. Inside the home, the horizontal flow used so well out side is turned on its axis. For example, flowing from top to bottom in the dining room, a tortoise-shell finish on the domed ceiling is reflected in the stained wood of the formal table and complemented by a tea-stained rug underneath, illustrating the beauty achieved when a team of professionals-architects, builders, decorators and artists focus on detail from start to finish. And, when homeowners cannot be present from beginning to end, the Collier Classic Homes team is.

music room

Muted colors in the fabric, floor, window treatments and art add a subtle dynamic that enhances the warmth and elegance of the environment.


A mixture of various textures and finishes create a warm ambience.
Donna considers herself personally responsible for quality control. "She looks at every home as if she were moving in," Elwood Collier comments with pride. Her attitude instills a sense of trust in absentee owners, a substantial amount of the Collier Classic Homes business. Word of mouth, in turn, spreads the fine Collier Classic Homes reputation to other "out-of-towners." The Colliers make themselves highly accessible, whether it be to meet on site or to e-mail project specs wherever they are needed. Everything is on computer, from diagrams to photos to costs.

Donna and Elwood know that million-dollar homes are still on a budget and that an owner's time is valuable. Building a home is complicated enough; even more so when the owner is away. The Colliers invest the time and effort it takes to ease the process, construct a quality Collier Classic Home and mind the smallest detail.

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Collier Classic Homes, Inc.
P.O. Box 1759
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004

Office (904) 273-6776
Florida Builder CRCCA11434


Cover Story Reprint from:
Builder/Architect magazine First Coast Edition, May 2001
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