The founder of one of the country’s largest fitness franchise businesses emphasized creativity and family function when creating his Colts Neck oasis
by Laura D.C. Kolnoski
Is it a home or a resort? In truth, here we have both, and that’s exactly how Eric Casaburi, founder and CEO of Retro Fitness gymnasiums and his wife Kim planned it. With four children, the couple’s intention was to make this gated, 10,000-squarefoot home on 3.8 acres a desirable destination for their kids and the family’s many guests.
Casaburi, the author of Just Make Money! The Entrepreneur’s Handbook to Building the Life of Your Dreams (EGC IP LLC, 2015) is understandably proud of his exquisite seven-bedroom, nine-bath estate at the end of a culde-sac in a quiet enclave in the heart of Colt’s Neck’s horse country. Its windows look out over the equestrian complex Synergy Stables and the historic Hockhockson Farm, recently purchased by comedian Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey, who are turning it into an animal sanctuary.
“Kim and I built this house because we’d always wanted a place where people would want to come…and never leave,” Casaburi said with a grin. “We wanted it to be a Disney World, where our kids and their friends would want to hang out. It’s built for family entertaining. We’ve had outdoor parties with as many as 200 people, and it never felt crowded.”
Built in 2008, the house is comfortable for all seasons, with heated floors in the kitchen, foyer, and master bath, with eye-popping design both within and without, and grounds meticulously designed by Casaburi himself.
“I landscaped everything, working with Long Nursery and Landscape Contractors of Farmingdale,” the energetic fitness guru said. “I brought in half a million dollars in mature trees to create privacy and installed a quarter-mile jogging and walking path around the property’s perimeter.” Among the sites along the path are a full-sized batting cage, a sand volleyball court, and a whimsical play area with two play houses (one for boys and one for girls) equipped with electricity inside and out. A koi pond graces the front yard, while in the rear, a private grotto (made from stone from a Pennsylvania quarry), surrounded by trees and flowers, offers a serene respite for prayer and meditation.
To make Casaburi’s vision of the ultimate outdoor oasis a reality, he sent a team from Distinctive Pools to the Beach Club Resort at Orlando’s Walt Disney World so they could emulate its style. Casaburi’s version includes a lazy river, slide, steps, and ten-person Jacuzzi. A cave-like grotto, made of concrete and steel fortified by one-inch rebar and hidden behind a waterfall, houses a 60-inch television, and is already outfitted with conduit for a yet-to-be-installed swim-up bar. An area for caterers to utilize sits nearby, including a full outdoor kitchen.
While Eric concentrated on creating Nirvana outside, Kim worked with various designers on the interior, its finishes featuring upgraded marble, stone, and custom trim and woodwork. Archways throughout the home are framed in rich woods (experts traveled to Colts Neck from around the world to fashion the woodwork and fireplace mantles). A spiral wood staircase descends into the library with its fireplace and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, enhanced with a large saltwater fish tank embedded in the wall that separates the library and home office.
Adding to the entertaining theme of the property is a sizable wood wet bar area—with seating for eight, shelving, and patterned wood floors—making indoor parties perfection.
The ample kitchen features custom light wood cabinets and Viking appliances, including a double-door refrigerator behind wood panels, microwave, and large stove featuring a center grill. Additional fridges in the two-tiered center island make it easy for kids to grab drinks on the go, and the couple added copious prep space and warming drawers for maximum functionality. Custom marble floors and countertops were installed, and in conversational distance from the island is an eat-in area, where a grand table sits before a five-pane floor-length curved bank of windows overlooked the lush landscaping.
The master suite is an oasis of its own, with white columns, a fireplace that can be viewed from all sides, and two walk-in closets. Its large bathroom has a central marble shower flanked by his-and-her’s commodes and mirrored sink areas in dark wood with marble countertops.
The home is also equipped with high-tech systems that can be controlled remotely via smartphone, including lighting, sound, music, and security, and every room features a video intercom. Installing a commercial grade generator that runs on natural gas turned out to be more beneficial than Casaburi originally envisioned. During the power outages that plagued the area in the harrowing weeks after Superstorm Sandy, Casaburi, his neighbors, and relatives were able to shower and enjoy full power for 12 days.
Casaburi calls the mirrored full gym in the basement “a mini-Retro Fitness,” as it is outfitted in the firm’s signature colors, and with commercial equipment that mimics the real thing—including cardio and resistance training equipment, dumbbells, and barbells— perfect for spending the colder months preparing for a toned, bathing suit-clad summer.
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Bryant at 732.691.3284.