Published: Aug 15, 2015
Original Post: Citizen Times

This is the second part of a two-part story (Link To Part 1).

When Marcus Katz and his wife Pearl bought a secluded mountainside house in South Asheville not long ago, they had no intention of tearing it down.

But it was not long before the couple began envisioning a bigger, more lavish dwelling where they would live in warmer months. “The more time we spent here, the more we kept dreaming,” Marcus said.

What they ended up building for themselves is remarkable.

Tucked on a densely wooded tract near Biltmore Park Town Square and The Ramble, their second home feels like a luxury hotel — one with a modern yet rustic decor that creates a comfortable, elegant atmosphere.

There are glittering chandeliers, glass-enclosed showers etched by a local artist and a soundproof massage room, not to mention nearly 20 televisions and wall-to-wall sliding glass doors throughout that open onto patios and decks offering sweeping vistas of the mountains to the east.

In the foyer are palm trees and other plants beneath a huge chandelier and a catwalk.

The three-story home and a two-story guest house — across a stone terrace — encompass between 13,000 and 14,000 square feet. Together, they have seven bedrooms and 14 baths, half of them full baths.

The 10,000-square-foot stone terrace includes an infinity-edge swimming pool feeding a stone waterfall that cascades all the way to the bottom of their wooded property. (The landscaping was detailed in last week’s article.)

Originally from Atlanta, Marcus spent much of his adult life in California, where he ran what he said was the first company of its kind in the country to offer student loans directly to the public. (“I went out there with an idea,” he said.)

After marrying, the couple moved to Miami Beach. “It didn’t take long for us to realize … that we had to find some place cooler,” said Marcus, 67. His wife, who is 51, also ran her own student loan business.

The couple bought the house in 2009, a year after Marcus retired and about six years after it was built. It had changed hands only once before.

Soon thereafter, they started rebuilding it, expanding its original footprint. Among the additions were a light-filled spa and fitness center on the bottom floor (once a vast storage space), as well as the terrace where the couple arranges chefs to visit and cook on the hibachi grill.

The couple enjoy hosting large gatherings. “We had a fun housewarming party,” said Marcus, who has three grown children and 10 grandchildren, not to mention hundreds of cousins.

Come winter, the couple will head south. For now, though, they are comfortable in the mountains.

NUTS AND BOLTS

The home: The five-acre property includes a main house and a guest house, totaling 13,000-14,000 square feet with seven bedrooms, seven full baths and seven half baths.

The homeowners: Marcus and Pearl Katz. Marcus retired recently from his student-loan business.

Wow factors: There are many: An infinity-edge swimming pool, collapsible walls to the stone terrace, glass-enclosed showers, a soundproof massage room and decks that offer sweeping views of the mountains to the east.