John and Colleen Repplier’s North Melbourne riverfront home is an oasis of tranquility

By Ingrid Bradley

Weeping waterfront views, the near-and-distant chatter of birds amid boastful blossoms, and quiet boats boarded with hopeful anglers, describe Melbourne’s seaside community, Portofino Bay. Nestled below U.S. Highway 1, just north of the Pineda Causeway in Melbourne, and a world away from anything remotely busy and less peaceful, is another stunning residence built by Christopher Burton Homes.

Beyond Portofino Bay’s gates, this oasis of tranquility and beauty hosts a point jutting out into the Indian River Lagoon, upon which resides a luxury palace. Just one of more than 200 Christopher Burton-built luxury homes on the Space Coast, this “Bay” beauty is indicative of the lifetime of experience, knowledge and talent the company infuses into each masterpiece. Built exclusively for Colleen and John Repplier, the project was a joint venture between the owners’ ideas and the builder’s realities.

“We picked Chris to build our home because we love his models,” says Colleen Repplier, president of a global fire-protection products company. “The quality and craftsmanship was very evident, and after meeting him we felt a real connection with him. We met with some other builders, but it became evident that they were only comfortable constructing designs they had used in the past. Chris partnered with us and allowed us to customize the design of our home to fit our needs and lifestyle, while still keeping the architectural style that was required to fit into Portofino. It was a delicate balance, but he pulled it off.”


Selecting the right builder was important to the Reppliers, as it is for anyone looking to build a home, especially a custom one. Burton and his team met and exceeded client expectations, as well as enhanced the Reppliers’ vision. The homebuilder addressed complicated lot and building challenges, and integrated unique architectural and technological features to make the home unique and special.

Meeting and exceeding expectations began with Christopher Burton Homes’ design process, which took the Reppliers’ “wish list” and provided suggestions that ultimately improved their initial design and vision.

“I can’t tell you how many times Chris would see something that would make our home more functional or special, and would do the redesign at minimal or no cost, just because it was the right thing to do,” says John Repplier. “I look at those changes now and can’t imagine the home without them. Our meetings with Tom Davis and Chris would get us so energized – it was a lot of fun.”


Addressing challenging building issues, such as an odd-shaped lot amid a cozy placement of homes, is Burton’s signature. He effortlessly can make the most of the natural attributes of architecture and nature.

“The lot was on the river and a very unusual shape which presented quite a challenge to the design and floor plan,” explains Burton. “One of the important features was an oversized four-car garage and we had only about a 40-foot front radius with which to work on the cul-de-sac.

“Additionally, the lot was elevated above the river by a 10-foot tall retaining wall, resulting in a terraced site that separated the home from the river. Each of these physical features presented their own set of challenges, but also ultimately created the beauty and unique setting that makes this one of Brevard’s most stunning riverfront homes.”


When building a luxury home, those extra architectural touches and technological advances matter.

“We use state-of-the-art products and methods to waterproof, sound-deaden and storm-protect our residences, and thus protect and help our owners to live safer and spend less over time to maintain their homes,” explains Tom Davis, Christopher Burton Homes’ vice president and director of business development and residential design.

As a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition, Christopher Burton Homes uses Energy Star-rated products that integrate energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, among other forward-thinking initiatives. Quality, architectural niceties and practicality don’t have to be unaffordable.

“Probably one of the most remarkable things about what we do, and one of the things that is confusing to people, is that we make our homes truly affordable. We use the tagline from time-to-time, ‘Better than you imagined and more affordable than you dreamed,’ because when people see our homes or see our photography, visit our website or see our brochures, the homes are so well appointed and beautiful that many think they just can’t afford one of our homes. In truth, our homes are an amazing value and affordably priced,” says Davis.

The Reppliers like to reflect on their favorite unique signature features of their “paradise point” which, of course, includes an extensive fire sprinkler system manufactured  by Colleen’s company:

  • Burton’s signature cypress ceilings covering expansive front-and-back porches.
  • Hand-crafted wood-and-iron circular staircase.
  • Rock-faced pool area and tiki hut.
  • Quality of the structure.
  • Being in Portofino Bay with so many great neighbors.
  • Ability to offer guests a bathroom for each bedroom.
  • Detail of wood trim throughout the home.
  • Being a certified “green” home.
  • Having a house that doesn’t feel too large or too cramped. The more than 5,000-square-foot residence features four oversized bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths, two offices, large laundry room, four-car garage, living room, family room, integrated game room/media room, four bar areas, outdoor kitchen and covered lanai, second-floor riverfront entrance, hideaway storage and expansive gourmet kitchen.

The team at Christopher Burton Homes looks favorably toward the building future.

“Our desire is to always find better ways to do things. From the windows, HVAC, roofing and insulation materials we use, to pest prevention, cabinetry and appliances, we are constantly searching for vendors and suppliers that will make our homes better and our homeowners happier,” says Burton.

“We really do consider our new Christopher Burton-built residence the most like ‘home’ of all the houses we’ve lived in. Part of that is due to being involved in the design, and part of that is due to the experience of working with Chris and his team,” says John Repplier.

“It’s been nearly two years since we’ve moved in and we still stop by the Burton office just to chat with the staff and say hello,” he continues. “We’ve never had that relationship with any previous builder. Without hesitation, we’d recommend him to anyone thinking of building.”

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Christopher Burton Luxury Homes is located at 3999 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne. For more information, call (321) 757-3247 or visit