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Live Oaks of Topsail Island

"Breathtaking" is the first word that comes to mind when describing the ocean and sound views from the top floor of the first home built in the new Live Oaks of Topsail Island community.

"Live Oaks has views no one else has on the island, unless you are in a high-rise condominium," says Sandy Ledbetter of Intracoastal Realty.

Located on the south side of the island directly off Highway 50, Live Oaks will be a community of 22 Caribbean-style homes. Each of the four-story units will reflect the tropical theme, with colorful vinyl siding and galvanized metal roofs. The community's prime location is only a block from public access to the island's uncrowded beaches.

Nearly equaling the impressive views is the impressive attention to detail and planning for each fourbedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house. At 2,700 square feet, the homes are the vision of builder and project co-owner Jonathan Briggs, who has an intense eye for detail.

"It's not a typical spec house," Briggs says. "We wanted to spend the money to do it right." Briggs and his partner, Kim McCallum, have worked hard to ensure those details are obvious throughout each home. Nine-foot ceilings on every floor, as well as hardwood floors throughout the house, are just the beginning. Each of the four bedrooms has its own private bath and deck, and a ground-level elevator provides an efficient means of access to all floors.

The homes also feature separate heating and cooling units on each floor for comfort on all levels. The fourth-floor living area is spacious and open, with a powder room and deck. A focal point for the living area is a 42- inch ventless gas fireplace with granite hearth, which is framed by a built-in television nook and bookshelves.

Amenities such as custom cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances are the highlight of the kitchen. In the master baths, a Jacuzzi and Summer Rain shower are featured. The home is equipped with two 80-gallon water heaters to guarantee hot showers for everyone.

There is ample storage space starting from the ground up, with a two-car garage on the first floor and customized bookcases, cabinets and seating and storage benches throughout the rest of the house.

Briggs, who has been in the construction industry for 24 years, has built almost 50 homes on Topsail Island, where his company is based.

"Jon is an exceptional builder and knows what needs to be done in a coastal area to keep a home maintenance- free," Ledbetter says.

This includes using high-quality materials that will weather the harsh conditions of coastal living. Stainless steel screws and hinges on the outside decks and exterior doors are just a few of the finer points Briggs has included to ensure the durability of the homes in Live Oaks.

The community will also feature a clubhouse, which will include a weight room, adjacent to the community pool.

"I see our buyer as a person who wants a family retreat as a second home that has enough room for everyone in the family and is in a great location," Ledbetter says. The first phase of Live Oaks will be finished by the end of August, with the completion of the first five homes in the community.