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Don & Charlotte Malko

Friday, November 8, 2019  |  Homeowner Stories, News

With their 50th anniversary approaching, Don and Charlotte Malko knew they wanted to do something special to celebrate. Going on a cruise or travels abroad didn’t seem worthwhile, as they wanted to mark this milestone with something that would last beyond a few days or weeks. The couple wanted to celebrate with a new home. That’s when they decided to visit Neal Signature Homes at Country Club East. A custom-designed home would not only be a gift to celebrate their golden anniversary, but it would also mark the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

Their journey with Neal Communities began when Don and Charlotte first moved to Florida and were searching for a homebuilder. The pair actively participated in many Parade of Homes and open house events; Charlotte even kept a book of newspaper clippings to help them narrow down the right builder. They followed Neal Communities closely, and were ultimately impressed with the beauty of the communities they visited, and the reputation of Pat Neal and his associates.

“We toured every development, going on every Tour of Homes,” Don said, “and we found ourselves comparing every model home to Charlene Neal’s work. Neal Communities always had the best offerings, and Pat Neal’s professionalism and integrity was found throughout everyone he employs. It made our decision an easy one.”

They eventually purchased a home with Neal Communities in the Siena neighborhood of The Country Club. Shortly after move-in, they purchased their second Neal Communities home, this time in Central Park, where their daughter would live.

Excited with all the possibilities of a new home, including new appliances, a new roof and flooring, and the ability to apply all of their creative enthusiasm at the design center, Don and Charlotte knew they wanted to build with Neal again. A month before their 50th anniversary, they walked into the Neal Signature Homes sales center in Country Club East with their hearts set on a new house from the homebuilder that started it all.

Don is a retired educator, having taught art history and art education for over 33 years. Today, he continues to paint, with oil on canvas, specializing in aviation art. For the past 15 years, Don has been the editor and publisher of AeroBrush, a magazine that focuses on aviation art enthusiasts.

Using oil paints at home, however, comes with challenges. The smell of turpentine along with the possibility of drips limits his ability to paint without restrictions. That’s why the recently opened Carlotta model home caught his attention. With two separate garages, Don saw the possibility of converting the carriage style garage into an art studio.

With the unique ability to provide semi-custom homes in a luxury market, the team at Neal Signature Homes quickly assembled to make Don and Charlotte’s home aspirations possible. Lois Reed, New Home Sales Associate, provided guidance on home site selection and plan options. Janet Ladwig, at the Design Gallery, walked them through all of the design possibilities.

“It’s like being a kid in the candy store,” Charlotte says. An HGTV enthusiast with a passion for home décor, Charlotte couldn’t stop smiling when talking about her new home. “I’m excited for everything,” she said. “I love to shop, but instead of filling my closet, I’m going to fill our new home.”

After 15 years in their Neal Communities home in Siena, they listed and sold the home in less than 30 days. “The appraisal of the home and what we received for it,” Charlotte said, “it’s just wonderful. The home kept its value over the years and we’re very happy with how it sold.”

Now the Malkos are happily looking forward to their new home, with expected completion in June 2020.

“We already live in vacation land,” said Don, “so we have fun every day. Now we’ll have our dream home in a place we love and we can’t wait.”