I recently visited the most expensive home on the market in Ocean City, Maryland. The cost to build it was almost 20 times more than the price of the median home in the area, but nothing about this place is average.
My drive through Maryland is a blur of small wood-shingled homes until I turn down the quiet street where the house sits. On my left there's a picturesque grassy marsh filling with a rush of salty tidal waters.
And then I see it.
The home is a head-turning piece of modern architecture that rises three stories above the sea grass.
As I pull into the driveway, two things catch my eye. The first is a glass sky bridge connecting two separate buildings.
The second is a giant glass garage door. Displayed inside is a shiny black 458 Ferrari Spider.
The owner of the home is Roy Schwalbach, CEO of successful production facility called Jack Studios in New York City.
On weekends he commutes the three hours and 45 minutes from Manhattan to Ocean City in a Range Rover (or by plane from Teterboro, New Jersey, which takes under 30 minutes), but the Spider is for fun.
Schwalbach — who normally wears Brunello Cucinelli suits and sports a Rolex Platinum President worth over $50,000 — greets me in white denim and bare feet.
Guys like Schwalbach build homes in the Hamptons, not Ocean City. But, he tells me, "this is no ordinary beach house. It's a cross between a Manhattan loft and an ultra-modern beach compound."
Schwalbach's description is spot-on: When I walk inside the poured concrete floors and sleek grey columns make me feel like I'm in a penthouse in Soho. But the water views look nothing like the Big Apple.
In the kitchen, I gently pull on a utensil drawer and it floats open. Before Schwalbach says a word, I can tell he spent a fortune here.
Schwalbach says the total tab for the designer Italian kitchen by Boffi was $250,000. (This one room costs more than some of the homes in this area.) And he says he had to wait a year for it to arrive from Italy via a ship.
We head upstairs and Schwalbach shows me one of the home's five bedrooms.
He calls this one the "White Room." The floor is painted with a shiny white epoxy, the sheets are ivory, and so are the sheer drapes. Above the queen-sized bed is a three-dimensional, life-sized marlin made with mosaic tiles. The fish looks as is if it's swimming out of the wall.
"Since I was a young guy, I've been fishing. I chase blue marlins and white marlins," Schwalbach says.
Gesturing toward the balcony he adds, "As a matter of fact, you could fish from every room in this house. I love fishing, that's what brought me here." Ocean City hosts some of the biggest fishing tournaments in the world.
(The CEO even sports a giant blue marlin tattoo on his left forearm.)
The compound was created from what was originally two homes; Schwalbach built a sky bridge to connect them. We walk across its mosaic-tiled floor and enter the second half of the 6,050-square-foot home.
This is where his duplex master suite begins. The first thing I see is a sparsely decorated room that is actually Schwalbach's walk-in-closet. (Yes, he designed a closet with floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony.)
The rest of the master is upstairs. "This is where all the magic happens," Schwalbach jokes, pointing to his king-sized bed.
The view of the ocean-soaked sea grass outside is pretty magical too.
Steps away from the bed is the master bath. An 18-foot-long, double-sink vanity runs the length of one wall. The floor is covered in giant terrazzo tiles that, like the kitchen, were custom made in Italy.
The master bath has a hand-carved Boffi tub, which weighs 800 pounds. "We had to haul it up in a freakin' crane to get it up in here before the walls were put up," he tells me.
When I ask how much the Italian tub set him back, Schwalbach doesn't hesitate: "That cost $45,000 and it's worth every cent."
Below the master is another bedroom. This one belongs to his 12-year old son, Luke.
Another level down is a personal gym with bright red floors.
Each of the home's five bathrooms is decorated in colorful mosaics (made in Italy of course).
"Look at that view!" says Schwalbach as he steps onto the deck.
There are three levels of decks so most rooms open onto a terrace.
"The wood that I built this deck with will outlive you, your grandkids, and their grandkids. It's a Brazilian hardwood that'll last 300 years," he tells me.
Steps away from the house is a pool he dreamed up after vacationing at a five-star resort.
"I was in Turks and Caicos at the Amanyara and I was so inspired by the swimming pool that when I came home, I designed it and had it built right here," he tells me. He says recreating that swimming area here cost over $300,000.
"This is a custom made golf green that I built myself with some of the trickiest holes. Don't bring your checkbook here because I'll take it from you," Schwalbach says.
Thanks to a 194-foot deck, the home's backyard extends over the tide-filled sea grass to the waterway where Schwalbach boats, kayaks, and crabs with his son.
He says he fought the state in court for the right to build the dock. It took four appeals over just as many years, he says, and he estimates it cost him about $200,000 in legal fees, plus another $100,000 in construction costs. But he says it's all worth it when he paddles his boat down to the beach, where he often sees wild horses.
All-in, Schwalbach says the compound cost him $5.2 million. That makes the cost of his weekend home nearly 20 times the median price for a home sold in Ocean City last year. (According to data from real estate firm Long & Foster, the median sales price in Ocean City is $267,000.)
Schwalbach says he built this extravagant home as a place for him and his son to enjoy on weekends and he knew all along he'd never get out all the money he dumped into it. In fact, he's so sure he over-spent on the property that he recently listed it with Coldwell Banker for $3,599,000.
And Schwalbach says he has no regrets: "I have gotten so many great years out of this place. My son and I have enjoyed it tremendously and at this point, it is what it is. You just gotta let it go."
CNBC's Ray Parisi is the senior executive producer of special projects.