Opulence and attention to detail are the order of the day in a Great Falls home by The Building Group.
The marble-floored front entry boasts a domed ceiling.
The dining room is embellished by decorative plaster moldings.
The conservatory walls are faux-painted while the floor is clad in ornamental mosaic tile.
An elaborate fireplace enlivens the living room.
In the family room, a wall of windows brings the outdoors in.
Travertine floors and backsplash clad the kitchen.
A floating staircase curves upstairs from the front entry.
In the master bath, a glass mosaic-tile wall behind the soaking tub is a focal point.
A lower-level theater is adorned in red with gold sculptural accents.

Boutique Builders

The Building Group concentrates on just a few projects a yea—with uniquely luxurious results

Boutique Builders Owners of The Building Group, Mike and Mandy Mafi bring separate talents and years of experience to a thriving partnership. Mike, a structural engineer, and Mandy, an interior designer, formed their company 10 years ago—and while it hasn’t grown in size, it has definitely increased in scope. Today, The Building Group constructs lavish custom homes in Northern Virginia using the highest quality materials; the houses range from 6,000 to 30,000 square feet. “We are a boutique builder,” Mike Mafi says. “Every house is unique. We only build three or four houses a year because we want to keep the quality intact.”

Of the homes The Building Group produces, about half are built on speculation. The Mafis tap an architect for the design and work with subcontractors throughout. They have no employees on staff, so their overhead is low. “Spec homes are easier and take less time,” says Mandy, who designs the interiors for all their projects. 

Typically, a project as elaborately customized as a home by The Building Group takes about two and a half years to complete; however, the company can complete a spec home in under a year. Says Mike, “Ninety percent of the selections are done before we break ground, which expedites the process.” 

Sprawled on eight wooded acres in Great Falls, a recently completed home by The Building Group is about to go on the market for $6 million. Designed by James McDonald Associates Architects, this 14,500-square-foot home was conceived to blend into its naturally sloping lot. It boasts an infinity pool perfectly sited to take advantage of the surrounding bucolic views. “The house was designed around the pool concept,” Mafi explains. “We wanted to emphasize a natural look.”

The opulent interiors showcase an array of high-end materials, from walnut and travertine floors to elaborate mosaic-tile designs imported from China and Italy. Ceilings range from 12 to 24 feet and faux-painted walls abound. In the public rooms, walls and domed ceilings are embellished by decorative plaster moldings with designs inspired by visits to the Library of Congress and the mansions in Newport. 

The home has eight bedrooms, 12 baths (“Nowhere in the house are visitors ever more than 30 feet from a bathroom,” Mafi says), five fireplaces and an elevator. The enormous front door, complete with transom and sidelites, is decorated with ornate ironwork; it opens to a spacious foyer where floors are clad in marble and a floating staircase curves up before a wall of windows. Two additional staircases make it easy to access the second floor from anywhere in the house.

The basement boasts a home theater, full bar with custom cabinetry, workout room and wine cellar, while the second floor houses the master suite, four bedrooms and staff quarters. Each bedroom has an en suite bath and a balcony. 

Mafi works hard to facilitate all the moving parts in the intricately detailed  projects helmed by his company. “I enjoy my job and work about six and a half days a week,” he says. He adds, “I don’t nickel and dime; I’m willing to pay more because it’s important to me that it gets done right.”

Mike Mafi is a structural engineer and acts as his own contractor. He is also a licensed real estate agent. Mandy Mafi is a licensed interior designer and a member of ASID.

The Building Group offers three home designs: Premium, Premium Plus (the home pictured here) and Mansion. There is a two-year warranty with each sale.

The Building Group, 1024A Towlston Road, McLean, Virginia 22102; 571-437-7474; thebuildinggroupinc.com; email: mikemafi@aol.com