The only way to describe the Cantelli home is "la dolce vita."
The Italian phrase means "the good life" and reflects the theme of Ron and Leslie Cantelli's home at 1837 Cedar Point Road in Sandusky.
The 4,000 square foot home on the Chaussee began as a figment of Ron's imagination when he was eight years old. Ron's family rented a home on the water and since then he's always wanted a home near Lake Erie.
In 1982, he bought the house at the current address, but had to wait 17 years to create his dream home.
Ron was inspired to build his home after viewing house plans of Italian villas. His passion for Italian architecture grew from his mother's roots in the Republic of San Marino.
In 1999, he began the construction of his dream.
"We wanted to build a nice home that was like a vacation home," Ron said. "We wanted to keep it friendly. Nothing fancy."
Two years later, the Cantellis moved into their home. A unique aspect of the home is the lack of boundaries.
"I don't like doors," Leslie said.
"Only doors we have are bathroom doors," Ron added. "Everything's wide open."
The family room is the main feature of the house. With its high ceilings and open atmosphere, it can be quite cozy, Leslie said.
"We make it real homy and comfortable for our kids. It's our favorite room. We spend a lot of time in there," Leslie said. "This is all for us to get together and not close anybody off."
On opposite sides of the room, wooden statues of griffins guard the entrance. According to Leslie, the mythical creatures bring luck to the home.
Leslie also added a piece of history to the room with an original St. Louis Post-Dispatch article of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
On the back side of the house, the Cantellis have their own private cove. All types of wildlife can be seen from the house including eagles, cranes and egrets.
In the master bedroom, one can see a view of Lake Erie.
"It's nice and wide open," Ron said. "You wake up in the morning and get a big picture of the sunrise or a thunderstorm."
"It's very private," Leslie added.
Ron, who is president of CabinetMakers, built many of the cabinets throughout the house.
"This home is like a showcase to show people what I can do," Ron said.
Since construction was completed, Ron has constantly been looking for ways to improve the house.
"It's a work in the process," Ron said. "After you live somehwhere for a while, you keep massaging it until it works well."