Oakhurst’s mega house might just last forever

Oakhursts mega house might just last forever

Emilia Fuentes

Neither one is an architect, but they designed their own home.

Oakhurst residents Ej Sadler and Deborah Baumgarten got married five years ago, and ever since they met, the two wanted to build their own house. Halfway through their relationship, the dream to design their own home became a reality.

“We both wanted to live in a loft, like a unique warehouse space,” Sadler said.

Their home is large, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a home theatre room and two garages.

“It’s pretty ironic, but it is a house for two,” Sadler said.

Baumgarten moved onto Mead Street in Oakhurst in 2007. Before coming to Decatur, she lived in Lake Claire but wasn’t happy there. Once she moved to Oakhurst, she met everyone on the block and Baumgarten immediately felt at home.

While in the planning stage of the house, Sadler and Baumgarten collaborated with designer Amy Landesberg, but she eventually left because she had a different idea of what the house was going to look like.

“There are elements we took from previous iterations of different houses with Amy. We incorporated a couple of [her designs],” Baumgarten said.

Small-scale but trivial decisions are made about things in the new home, like the couple’s kitchen canopy for hanging pots and pans.

“There are lots of decisions for little things: how high is the floating canopy? How big is the floating canopy? How thick is the floating canopy? What color is the floating canopy?” Sadler said.

The couple easily makes these decisions due to their similar tastes.

“If we walked into a furniture store and there were a thousand couches and the salesman told us to pick one, we would sit on the same one,” Baumgarten said.

The use of concrete for the house instead of drywall forces the couple to plan every decision in advance.

“When you’re building with concrete you have to think ahead of time,” Baumgarten said. “With drywall it’s easy and you can decide after.”

Neighbor and Winnona Park principal Greg Wiseman moved onto Mead 18 years ago and didn’t mind the couple’s plans for their massive home. He’s a longtime friend of Baumgarten and Sadler and knew they wanted “a really unique house.”

The house is as safe as it is unique. In addition to hurricane-resistant windows, the house features doors that open out instead of in. That way, intruders can’t kick down the door during a break-in.

“We are all going to their house if there is a zombie apocalypse,” Wiseman said.

Their mailbox isn’t so zombie-proof. When the couple stashed their original designs of the house in the mailbox, they were surprised to find it empty the next day. Despite stolen drawings, the couple doesn’t worry about intrusions.

“You could stand with a hammer and hit at it for a good 10 minutes and you could make a small chip, but you couldn’t get through,” Baumgarten said.

Baumgarten and Sadler also prepared for old age in their designs.

“The front door is wheelchair accessible. There really aren’t any steps to get into the house, so when we get older it will be easier to get around,” Baumgarten said. “We could even end up moving onto the main floor and have a housekeeper stay upstairs.”

They are unsure what will eventually happen to the house because the couple doesn’t have children.

“I guess we would leave the house to my sister,” Baumgarten said.

“No, they wouldn’t want it,” Sadler objected.

Regardless of what happens, Baumgarten and Sadler anticipate a safe and long-time home. If there’s a zombie apocalypse on Mead Street, they might have to build a few extra guest rooms.