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Killer Cabana

For Rick Fender, owner of Fender Marine Construction, building a party cabana on his own property was a real change of pace, especially given the hundreds of boathouses, boardwalks, bridges, docks, marinas, pagodas and piers he's built over the years – to name just a few. But this project was personal.

"We weren't going to build it at first since we'd just finished building the house," he recalls. "But we ended up doing it to avoid having to rip up the yard again!"

He and his family don't regret that decision for a second. "We've enjoyed a lot of entertaining over the years – everything from political fundraisers and karaoke to Chinese New Year and even a 007 James Bond party."

MEETING OF THE MINDS: When Rick first brought in the architect, he had them meet with the interior designer as well as the builder. "Everyone has to be willing to work together. You don't want an architect who won't listen to the designer or builder, and vice versa," he cautioned. "You also want the cabana to look similar to the house – same color, same stone columns and roof, things like that. Then you bring in a landscape architect to tie everything together."

ALL THE BELLS & WHISTLES: Rick didn't hold back on amenities for a moment. The cabana has a wine cooler, drink coolers, every beer and soft drink, and a pullout drawer. It's got a dishwasher, two sinks, a barbecue grill, and everything's built with a side burner. "It's even got a warming drawer, which I never thought I wanted. But once you have one, you never want to get rid of it."

PARTY TIME: For a bit of whimsy, Rick installed a disco ball. "It's cool because when people on the lake see the disco ball going off, they know we're having a party and they come over." There's also a sound system that carries on throughout the yard, out to the dock and over to the pool, plus a big screen TV. "And then there's a really special bar made of quartzite that goes around the outside."

KEEPING COOL: When it's hot outside and you want to reduce the temperature by about 30 percent, you hit the mist system. "It's called outdoor air conditioning. I've been working with that for well over 20 years. You can put it on a timer to blow for 10 seconds, then turn off for 50 seconds, and repeat." 

Fender Marine's latest project is an architect-designed cabana on the Winter Park chain of lakes. Stay tuned.