While in college at the University of Florida, Gary Schneider would ride his bicycle past a home located on Southwest Second Avenue near the Mark Bostick Golf Course every day.“I always loved the house,” Gary said. “When it went on the market, Cherylle and I decided to buy it as a possible place to live in when we retired.”Gary is a real estate agent with Bosshardt Realty Services and Cherylle Hayes is a radiation oncologist with the Cancer Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center.
When the couple purchased the home, the exterior was attractive, but the inside was dated. “Nothing had been changed since the house was built in 1966,” Gary said.
Schneider had hired Riverland Construction on previous projects, so he turned to the company when he purchased “the house with the orange door.”
“As we began to renovate, we decided to gut everything and replace it with the latest features — not just the interior, but everything, from the roof to the landscaping,” Gary noted.
Cherylle served as the designer of the project.
“Riverland accommodated all of our needs,” Gary said. “They were open to any and all the things that we wanted to realize our dream.
This mid-century modern home turned out better than we ever dreamed.”
THE RIVERLAND APPROACH
Javier and Melissa Suarez were expecting the custom home that Riverland Construction built for them to be energy efficient, but they’ve been surprised by the results.
The electric bill for the Suarez’s 3,000-square-foot home in Jonesville runs between $140 and $160 a month, with a low bill of $52. According to Riverland co-owner, Steve Mathews, the home is a great example of how a “common sense” approach to energy efficiency and putting the dollars in the area of a budget that will yield the best return/savings on what the industry calls a “green home.”
“The Riverland team has been very straightforward and dependable,” said Javier, who is the system administrator for Citizens State Bank in Newberry. “We plan to use them to turn our garage into a playroom.”
Riverland’s owners, Jimmy Vickers and Steve Matthews, have known each since grade school in Trenton, where they played football and basketball together through high school.
Today, they maintain personal involvement in each of the company’s projects. When they are not working, they place a high value on philanthropy – both owners support National Wild Turkey Federation, the Trenton girls basketball teams from seventh grade to high school, and the athletic department at Oak Hall.
BUILDING ON A LEGACY
Matthews bases his approach to business on his role model: his Uncle Albert, a builder in the Trenton area.
“Long before sustainable building practices were popular, he sourced building material from the local area,” Matthews said. “Two-foot overhangs for roof eaves, foundation drainage systems, rainwater collection barrels and many other tricks of the trade were part of Uncle Albert’s building practices.”
Today, Riverland employs many energy efficient practices and technology in its buildings, including:
- Installing open-cell foam insulation directly to the bottom of the roof deck, reducing heat infiltration. Using radiant barrier sheathing to further keep the Florida heat out of the attic
- Employing ductless air conditioning systems that operate at high SEER ratings
- Working with the architect, truss engineer and HVAC contractor to design a system that will allow the heating and cooling ducts to be kept in a chase within the home
PLANET SMOOTHIE EXPERIENCE
When Ray Logan was building his Planet Smoothie franchise location along Archer Road, he got a bid from an Orlando-based contractor that had built other stores for the corporation.
“It was through the roof,” Logan said, so he got a second bid from Riverland.
“Riverland’s bid was much better, but I was concerned about how good the work would be,” Logan said. “It turned out that they had my best interest at heart all the way through the job.”
Logan, who is originally from Lake City, resonated with Vickers and Matthews.
“The down-home local guys were much better to work with than an out-of-town contractor,” he said.
Vickers’ favorite part of building is the end product, whether it is transforming a vacant lot into a home or taking an existing structure and making it into something special.
“In six months, it goes from dirt to a home where a family will spend the majority of their life together,” Vickers said. “A home is the largest investment a family will make in their lifetime. It’s something you can’t take lightly. It’s where they’ll lay their heads, where they’ll raise their children, and where most of the memories are made. They put their trust in you to make it just right.”