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Parade of Homes builder goes for 'wow' factor

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
May 16, 2010 at 12:16 a.m.

Tony Prokop built this grand living room area located in the Lakeview subdivision at 261 Erie St. The high ceilings are accented with wood beams and a decorative fireplace.

IF YOU GO

Builders Association of Victoria Parade of Homes Tour Schedule

Wednesday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

Tickets are $10 a person.

For more information: contact the association at 361-578-7711 or visit www.victoriaonparade.org.

"Crazy" is what some builders called Victoria-based builder Tony Prokop before the 2010 Builders Association of Victoria's Parade of Homes event.

In the months before the show, Prokop, 44, worked on eight homes in a 60-mile radius of Victoria, entering four into the contest.

"All the builders said I was suicidal to do that many," he said, smiling in the kitchen of Tour Home No. 4, his Mediterranean-styled home that placed first in seven out of 10 categories.

Prokop and his sub-contractors worked practically around the clock and finished the 4,085-square-foot home in five months, a process he said usually would take about a year.

"I love to build. I love to work and I love to pour everything into it," he said.

The home on Erie Street lured wide-eyed visitors who oogled their way through the home, which featured a variety of ceiling designs, a media center with twinkling optical-lighting stars and a closet with built-in slots for 52 pairs of shoes.

"This one's lovely," said Melanie Buchhorn, a Victoria resident who toured the home with her family. "This is definitely on my wish list. .It's every girl's dream."

It's what some would call the "wow factor."

"You're trying to show how livable a house is as far as square footage," said builder Bradley Blaton, whose homes have won best the favorite feature category for the past five years. This year, his home won first place for his outdoor living area with a pool.

His goal was to create a resort setting with a Mediterranean flare. Blaton's 3,489-square-foot home welcomed visitors with a rolled staircase, built-in aquarium and an elegant bathroom which included a tub with underwater lighting fixtures.

"It's kind of like when you got to a really nice hotel in the Caribbean," he said. "It's that feel."

But even with the sagging economy, both builders are confident the market for building will be picking up.

"With the market stabilizing slightly, people are realizing life is going to go on," Prokop said. "If we can hold on another six months or so, things will start to pick up."

A row of plaques lined the counter in Prokop's award-winning kitchen, but the builder was humble about his achievements.

He credits his superintendent, Jayson Moore, sub-contractors and homeowners with the accomplishments, which he calls just "icing on the cake."

"If everybody does their job and the homeowners are happy them that's great," he said. "I know that I've accomplished what I set out to do."

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