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Orlando Sentinel Quoted Karen Arbutine on Dwight Howard's Home

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Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 2:45PM

Former Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard may keep a little something behind as he heads to Los Angeles to work for the Lakers.

“In my opinion, he’ll keep the house,” said Karen Arbutine, Re/Max Central Realty agent. She represented Howard when he purchased the $7.8 million Seminole County show home, filled with designer furnishings, at the peak of the market four years ago. “It’s just that special of a house.”

Named for a 15th-century castle overlooking the Indre Valley of France, the more than 10,000-square-foot Chatheau d' Usse is sequestered on three acres off Markham Woods Road in west Seminole County. Beyond the marble foyer and oversized fireplace, the travertine-paver patio is the size of a regular house and threads around pools, waterfalls and beaches. It all overlooks a private lake.

If Howard decides to sell, he might get $6.5 million for the house and furnishings, Arbutine said. That would be a $1.3 million loss from what he paid. Buyers, she added, would pay extra for the bragging rights associated with purchasing the basketball star's house. Two doors down, professional golfer Chris DiMarco has his five-bedroom estate listed for $6.5 million.

Whether Howard decides to sell or keep the house, he will likely take his time and consider taxes and other implications, said Roger Soderstrom, broker for Stirling International Real Estate, which listed the house when Howard purchased it in 2008.

"I don't think he has to worry about making his next payment," Soderstrom said.

For property-tax purposes, the mansion is valued at $2.9 million, which is down about 10 percent from a year ago. Howard took a $4.3 million mortgage from Bank of America to purchase it. But with expected earnings of $19.5 million for the upcoming season alone, the six-time All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year could presumably afford to keep his East Coast retreat.

How special is it? Built for the 2008 Street of Dreams luxury-home tour in Seminole County, the house was the most impressive of the more than 350 Street of Dreams houses that have been showcased in cities across the country during the past 27 years, said David Straughan, president of Street of Dreams. The team that worked on the house back in 2008 included Hillcrest Homes and Development, MJS Inc., and CEC Interiors.

"All the finishes are in proportion. They may have been big, but they made sense," Straughan said. "The interior designer did furnishings that were in scale with the room. Every time you turned around, there was another special and neat feature that was usable."

The home's den features bookcases that stretch 15 feet high; hidden behind one of them is a door that leads to the master-bedroom closet, which includes a washer-dryer station. French doors guide you through to the master-bath suite, complete with fireplace and computer-controlled shower. The master suite includes its own patio and a private pool with 10-foot waterfall.

The family room has hand-made ceiling beams, a stone archway and matching fireplace. A foyer is framed by a polished marble staircase, and an exercise room sits at the end of the marble hallway. The home-theater room, made of hand-crafted wood, has its own bar and beverage center.

Source: Orlando Sentinel


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