Windermere's exclusive enclave Isleworth has taken the unusual step of letting another builder behind its gates.
Phil Kean Design Group, which engages in architecture, construction, design and interiors, last week became only the seventh builder allowed to work at Isleworth since its owner Tavistock Group bought the land in 1986.
It was Phil Kean's work on another Tavistock project that brought the company into Isleworth.
"We weren't looking for a new builder, but they had great success in Lake Nona, a sister company," said Mark Hayes, president of Isleworth Realty and Stockworth Realty Group, companies of Tavistock Group.
Isleworth, which has 320 mostly multi-million dollar residences and many celebrity residents, is almost built out, but there are still opportunities for Phil Kean to make his mark.
Working from his Winter Park offices, Kean, an architect and certified residential contractor, specializes in designing one-of-a-kind, luxury residences with attention to design detail, its promotional literature says. The firm provides architectural and interior design services worldwide and residential construction, engineering and real estate services in the Central Florida area and its beaches.
The firm's niche is modern architecture inspired by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Neutra, Schindler, Le Corbusier and Meier. In addition, Phil Kean Design Group features transitional, traditional, Tuscan and Spanish Mediterranean inspired homes.
Even with all its attributes, it wasn't easy for Kean's firm to get into Isleworth, which has set the standard for luxury living in the Orlando area for decades. It is not unusual to see homes in the community take up an entire block, boast large front lawn fountains or stand amid bronze sculptures that dot the landscape.
It took a six-month review process to determine if Phil Kean could measure up to Isleworth's standards, said Hayes. "Every home is custom and materials are sourced globally."
Tavistock reviewed the firm's financials, making sure it had impeccable credit so that it could stand behind its work.
The quality of other homes Phil Kean had built was scrutinized for quality and whether the firm was capable of building true luxury homes.
"We at Phil Kean Design Group pride ourselves on upholding a reputation of the highest of quality. We are honored that the Isleworth community is going to allow us to continue to provide that level of service in both design and construction in their community," Phil Kean said in a statement.
While Kean measured up and ended up with a coup by becoming part of Isleworth's stable of builders, many others are not so fortunate.
"I get approached constantly by builders," Hayes said.
Even those that get their foot in the door often do not go the distance, Hayes said. "A lot of time when you disclose what they have to go through, they don't follow through."