Couple builds southern ranch style home in PGA Village
BY GREG GARDNER | PHOTOS BY ROB DOWNEY
For 10 years, Craig Dunkelberger drove up and down Reserve Boulevard to and from his engineering office, thinking that one day he might build a home in the exclusive PGA Village golf community.
As he grew his business, Dunkelberger bought a 1.6-acre lot, waiting until 2008 to build his unique southern ranch style home — the only one of its kind in a neighborhood known for Mediterranean-style estates.
“Every day I drove to work through PGA and I loved it and dreamed of building a house here,” says Dunkelberger. Living in West Palm Beach at the time and commuting to Reserve Industrial Park, the geotechnical engineer says he fell in love with the beautifully landscaped main drive that bisects PGA Village from east to west.
Dunkelberger and his wife, Robyn, moved to Port St. Lucie and lived there for about 10 years before they built the home with its compartmentalized layout, designed for their family. “We didn’t have the money then, but we were able to realize our dream,” says Robyn Dunkelberger.
In a departure from the norm, the mother-in-law suite with bathroom opens out to the pool deck rather than the master suite. The children’s wing and the master suite both have doors for privacy from the common areas of the main house.
Craig’s mother lived at the home for 10 years. “Everyone had their own space, but we all came together in the main house,” says Robyn. “We raised our kids here.”
The couple’s three children are all graduates of Florida universities in Tampa, Tallahassee and Gainesville. Two are graduates of Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce and all three attended Morningside Academy.
“The kids were in the pool all the time. And there were always kids visiting the game room,” says Robyn. Three bedrooms, a bathroom and the game room make up the children’s wing.
The original kitchen looks brand new after the Dunkelbergers replaced the stove, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator with Bosch appliances. When the dishwasher broke, it was almost as much to repair it as replace it.
“We had to replace them all because they all had to match,” Robyn says.
The home from the outside looks to be two-story with a faux dormer window, but there is no second floor or attic. Throughout the home are wood floors and high, coffered ceilings with crown molding.
Roof tile shortages and a nine-month wait after several hurricanes forced the Dunkelbergers to change their design from shingles to a 50-year metal roof that looks like shake shingles. The roof and the home’s design were subject to the community’s standards review board. “It was a big change — they had no product and we had to get a roof,” says Robyn. “We didn’t want a barrel tile roof.”
With steps up to its long, covered porch with paver floor and two rocking chairs, the home has a charming southern look. “I wanted steps up to the porch because I like steps,” Robyn says.
The property is landscaped naturally including “volunteer” trees that rise up on their own. “We have no palm trees, all native plants with a few ornamentals and we tried to plant native Florida vegetation,” says Robyn. “I have been known to do a little weeding.” Hickory, oak and pine trees sprout and usually are left to grow to maturity.
The couple have begun competing in adventure racing in Florida state parks. This new sport combines trekking, biking and paddling using navigation skills to finish first.
As part of his training regimen, Craig likes to ride his mountain bike at night on a 16-mile loop through the three PGA golf courses. He also has a course for a 10-mile run. The couple loves going to the spa after workouts. “I live in the spa and I spend more time there than the pool,” Robyn says.
The Dunkelberger home is listed for sale at $639,000.
“This is such a beautiful place,” says Craig. “We see deer, bobcat, wild turkeys, squirrels, rabbits and all kinds of birds. It is peaceful and quiet here, convenient, but you don’t have all of the traffic. We have our own space here, but we are ready to move on to the next chapter of our lives.”
“This house is too much for us now,” says Robyn. “It is quaint and it has served us well. It is time for the next family to move in here.”