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Veteran builder, Parade rookie

SARASOTA - Duane Clayton has been building houses here for more than 20 years. But he's not exactly a household name to local home buyers.

In fact, today he enters his first Sarasota-Manatee Parade of Homes with a Florida Green Building Coalition-certified house. But it's not in Lakewood Ranch or some other well-known subdivision. It's on Kenilworth Street, off U.S. 41 in south Sarasota -- not exactly ground zero for home building.

Doesn't matter. Clayton does things differently. Serving as designer, builder and even salesman, Clayton has built a house, the "Duval," with features that are rarely seen in model houses. They include porcelain tile on the floors, a Thermador induction cooktop to go with stainless-steel appliances by the same upscale manufacturer, and a water heater powered by a heat pump mounted atop the tank.

He also likes designing houses he calls "architecturally correct."

"My ambition is to be an established builder West of the Trail, in that part of town," said Clayton. "Because of the classic architecture in that area, there is a lot of enjoyment designing homes that I classify as architecturally correct, and also appealing to as many people as possible.

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