Rial Jones builds some of the most unique and luxurious custom homes in Florida – he’s the man who hides Mickey’s in the Four Seasons homes near Disney World and builds a Millennium Falcon bunk room while also creating elegant, one-of-a-kind opulence.
Outside of work as president and founder of Jones Clayton Construction, Jones’s life is whimsical and unique – similar to the homes he builds. His meticulous design and craftsmanship appeal to everyone from heiresses, CEOs and even the occasional rock star.
Jones’s said travel is at the top of his list of hobbies. He’s visited six continents and so many countries he lost count.
“There is always a trip or travel plan scheduled,” he said. “I’m getting ready to go to Norway. I just got back from a 3-week trip in Asia.”
His children, 23-year-old Lexi and 25-year-old R.J. have gone on just about every trip with Jones. The Norway adventure may be the first time their schedules won’t allow them to go, he said.
R.J., a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero, coaches basketball at Gateway Charter School in Naples. Lexi is a social worker in Orlando who recently graduated from the University of Alabama. Jones, 57, is a Florida State graduate who studied political science but worked in real estate from the time he graduated.
When the children moved out, Jones, the empty-nester listed his well-known mansion in Windermere and built something more modern in the nearby neighborhood of Isleworth. Downsizing for Jones doesn’t mean less beautiful or unique – he said the home was recently featured in Florida Design Magazine.
“With the kids gone, I just didn’t need as big of a place. It was time for a new style,” he said. The new home is “funky … It’s more contemporary and lighter brighter fresher kind of thing - similar to a lot of the homes we’re building right now.”
Jones’s previous home was well known for a number of reasons: its design and grandeur, but also a famous guest who found the property in 2016 when it was on the market.
Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler rented the Windermere home – even though the Jones family had had no intention of renting it out. A long-time fan of the rock group and its lead singer, Jones wasn’t about to say no. Tyler rented the home twice more since then. Each visit, Tyler invited Jones to hang out and the two became friends. Tyler offered Jones use of any of his homes and invited the family to an end-of-tour show with back-stage access in Mexico City, Jones said.
Jones did take Tyler up on his offer, and the family vacationed at the singer’s Hawaiian beach estate. The two still stay in touch with the occasional text message.
“He really turned out to be a great guy, really interesting guy and someone I have really enjoyed getting to know a little bit,” Jones said. “He is a very smart guy, very quick, very personable. It’s maybe not what everybody would expect.”
Jones through Jones Clayton is working on three high-profile communities including the Four Seasons Private Residences– average home size 7,000 to 8,000 square feet with access to the resort’s amenities; The Ritz Carlton Residences - about 3,000 square feet homes all on a Greg Normal Signature golf course; and Carmel – an 18-acre lakefront site recently purchased by Chuck Whittall, president of Unicorp National Developments Inc.
The Carmel project in Bay Hill in southwest Orlando will be 11 homes, of which six are acre-lake front sites, Jones said.
“It truly is one of the most beautiful sites we’ve seen and built on in Florida,” he said, describing the 100-year-old oak trees, azalea plants and old Florida charm of the property. The 18 acres was an old family estate owned for about 100 years. Jones said they have been able to build the roads around to save most of the trees. “It’s just an incredible property,” Jones said.
Unicorp closed on the property in June. The roads are being cut in now.
“We’re hoping by the end of the year all the roads and amenities will be completed there and we’ll be able to start construction on the first homes in November or December,” Jones said. “There is so little lake front on the Butler Chain that is available, so it’s really a unique opportunity to have a lakefront lot in a new neighborhood.”
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