The moment you walk into Vista Monti on Buderim, you exhale deeply. This light-filled, spacious luxury home is a sanctuary from the everyday. It was designed to evoke a holiday resort feel, which instantly invites a sense of expansiveness and relaxation.

Vista Monti means ‘mountain view’ in Italian, and it certainly lives up to its name. It’s orientated to capture stunning views of the hinterland and Mt Ninderry from various vantage points within the home, including the second-floor kitchen and the master ensuite bathroom, which won Bathroom of the Year in the HIA Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay Housing Awards, held in November 2023.

This five-bedroom, four-bathroom luxury family home was also a finalist in the Kitchen Design and Spec Home award categories.

Vista Monti was the first build for Zaleta, a newly formed family-building company on the Coast. While the husband-and-wife team behind the brand, builder Wojtek Stainwald, and designer Melissa Stainwald, have been designing and building aspirational homes on the Coast for 25 years, this new venture brought son, licensed builder Arlan into the fold.

Each time Melissa designs a home, she says she envisages herself living there. It is evident that Vista Monti was certainly designed with la dolce vita (the sweet life) in mind.

“When designing Vista Monti, we intentionally set out to create a space where every day felt like living in a resort,” Melissa explains.

“For me, nothing screams holiday luxury like sipping a cup of tea in a bubble bath with a view, so we used this inspiration to create such a space in the master ensuite.”

Light plays an important part in projecting a sense of luxury. The home is bathed in natural light thanks to six judiciously placed skylights, including one above the curved shower in the master ensuite.

“Watching clouds dance overhead through the skylight adds that extra touch of luxury to your daily showering ritual,” says Melissa.

This sense of ‘lightness’ is amplified by large windows and glass doors as well as ambient, task and accent lighting throughout the home.

Function meets comfort and style in the luxuriously appointed bathroom. Two large drawers with internal drawers help keep the bathroom clutter-free, along with the two wall-hung recessed cabinets. The toilet and vanity are also wall-mounted, which gives the bathroom the illusion of more floor space, creating a grander feel.

The tiled arched doorways, alabaster stone wall lights and brass fittings elevate the sense of luxury and give the space a soft, feminine ambiance.

Melissa’s design objective was to bring the outside in through the use of tactile, grounding textures such as Tasmanian oak timber used for the floor-to-ceiling slat cladding and flooring down to the veneer on the rangehood and pantry shelves. Handmade Spanish tiles and limestone underfoot bring character and individuality through variation in shape and texture.

“Each tile is one-of-a-kind and imparts a sense of warmth, authenticity and human touch to the home.”

This attention to textural detail is evident even down to lighting fixtures incorporating clay, rattan, banana leaf and raw brass. The hand-cast, white-set render on the curved stair balustrade and the fireplace reiterate the raw organic feel.

The spiral staircase is the showstopper feature of the home. Melissa says the original plan had a “very boring” staircase taking up too much of the foyer. “What’s the first thing you notice when you go to a resort?

“It’s all about the entrance, when you have that first feeling of excitement, like I’m on holiday.

“So, the staircase had to be really exciting and welcoming and really set the tone for what the home was trying to say.

“In the end, it was a talking piece. Everyone loved it because it told a story.”

Soft curves and arches throughout the home provide an architectural point of difference. Melissa describes it as “the new Mediterranean” or “minimalist Mediterranean”.

“Sometimes when you think of Mediterranean [architecture], you think of extremely overdone spaces. But this has a new Mediterranean feel that’s really pared back and really raw.”

These arches and curves also evoke a soft, feminine feel, thereby creating a more welcoming space.

Another design intervention that has paid dividends was putting the kitchen, which was originally slated for the ground floor, on the second floor.

Melissa insisted it go on the second floor to capture the view — the island bench looks over a wall of glass. This necessitated the installation of a commercial-grade dumb waiter, which serves a dual purpose — carting groceries up to the kitchen and sending food down to the alfresco and pool entertainment area.

The landscaped garden was designed to evoke a lush, subtropical haven and features an inground MagnaPool and firepit area.

Zaleta means ‘quality’ in Polish. The name is not only a tribute to Wojtek’s ancestry, it underpins the company’s mission, which Melissa says is to redefine and rewrite the dialogue around building a home.

Melissa says all too often she hears people who have just finished the build process complain: “Oh, I’m so exhausted. Oh, that was horrific. Oh, that was a terrible experience. We’re glad that’s over. We’ll never do that again.”

So, Zaleta unpacked the reasons behind this and asked: “How can we rewrite that story and make it a positive experience?” Two key things the Zaleta team did were introduce a client concierge and team up with Lifesize Plans at North Lakes, which offers customers a virtual, real-scale walkthrough of their floorplan.

“You can literally walk through your house, move furniture around, sit at your bench, see if you’re happy where the doors and windows are,” Melissa says.

And Zaleta’s concierge attends every customer appointment, from initial colour consultation through to laying the slab. “She is basically there to answer your questions before you even ask. Communication is vital. I think people get nervous when they don’t know what’s going on.

“So, we try to tick all boxes.”