The Secret For Creating A Kitchen That Sizzles

April 16, 2014

Everyone wants to enjoy their kitchen to the fullest. After all, this is the heart of the home, where we nourish our families, entertain our favorite people and create many of our best memories. Hiring a designer can go a long way toward giving you a kitchen that works for your most practical of needs, and still looks effortlessly beautiful. We sat down with Charlotte interior designer Rosa Dest of Rosa Dest Interiors to get her take on how a designer can create a space that’s perfectly customized for an individual homeowner. Rosa has years of experience successfully transforming kitchens, and she shared with North Carolina Design a bit of her process.

Images Courtesy of Rosa Dest Interiors ©

Rosa explains that one of most significant things a designer can do for homeowners is to help them develop a plan. “A good plan is the most crucial aspect of a design,” she notes. “A plan plus the right components equals a beautiful, functional kitchen. The first thing I do is find out about a client’s lifestyle, and how they really want to use their kitchen. Form always follows function. Working with a designer gives you something that’s not only pretty, but functional for your specific needs.”

Rosa says that designers can anticipate homeowners’ needs, and offer solutions they may not have otherwise considered. “We know the different resources that are available in the market. A homeowner may see something they like, but we can suggest other options which are better suited to their budget, their goals and their needs. We can also suggest components that will give a kitchen that special ‘wow’ that everybody wants. And we work hand-in-hand with providers to ensure that everything fits together perfectly into a cohesive design.”

The featured kitchen here showcases Rosa’s ability to successfully meet the homeowners’ functional needs, while giving them a truly beautiful space. “The wife loves to cook, bake and entertain. She wanted really good appliances, and her island was really important to her for storage and for added counter space. We moved her stovetop out of the island and into the counter, and gave her a dual-fuel range and oven. We also made sure there were ample drawers and cabinets for storage.”

“As far as form, she wanted something that was romantic without looking ostentatious.” To achieve this look, Rosa used a soft, off-white cabinet glaze, as well as classic moulding and floral accents. However, she also added signature touches for a bit of flair. “We designed the kitchen so that the eye travels from the cedar ceiling planks in the breakfast area, to the butcher’s block, to the pendant lights to the copper hood. It’s a cohesive look that really provides the feel she was looking for.”

“Before And After” Transformation Of Winston-Salem Home

April 14, 2014

I love seeing “Before and After” images that detail a great interior design transformation. Today, in her own words, one of our favorite interior designers, June DeLugas, takes North Carolina Design through one such metamorphosis. The Winston-Salem interior design firm of June DeLugas Interiors has taken this dated 25 year old home and made it current and welcoming.

Images Courtesy of June Delugas Interiors ©

The photos of this featured project highlight the before and after results of a home in the Winston-Salem area. We are thrilled to be a part of this magnificent project and were honored to assist this family in transforming their home. The house in its original state was defined by outstanding architectural details and antique elements from all over the world. Our goal has been to maintain the original character of the home while simplifying the interior to better showcase its unique features.

Our clients are the second owners of this 25 year old home. The original homeowner collected stained glass windows which can be found throughout the house. Numerous existing features such as the stained glass, antique marble mantles, grand columns, hand forged wrought iron railings, and Italian marble floors were incorporated into the updated design plan.

Architecturally, this home was designed to take full advantage of its natural surroundings. Our first course of action therefore, was to eliminate the heavy draperies in order to highlight the beautiful lake and golf course view. Hanging minimal window treatments provided softness and warmth while drawing the eye outside. The change in window treatment had a dramatic effect on rooms such as the master bedroom. Continuing with our desired feel, we placed a four-poster bed in this space, painted white with silver striping, along with custom nightstands.

Next came the sunroom, where the family enjoys spending much of their time. The abundance of natural light works well with the neutral color palette of the room. This space is nicely anchored with a low pile shag rug.

In updating the great room, our emphasis was on showcasing the openness by allowing light to pass through the entire house. The hand-carved medallion from the dining room ceiling was thoughtfully repurposed and relocated to the great room. Once painted, it was used as wall art to fill the large space behind the piano.

In the dining room, lightweight sheers allow the evening sunlight to filter in. We placed new dining chairs, a new rug, and painted the walls with the softest, light blue we could find. The couple’s favorite painting and sideboard were accented by a new mirror and chandelier.

After the completion of those rooms, our client invited our design team to transform the purple office, our favorite makeover in this house. We chose Benjamin Moore Dove Wing as the ceiling color and Clay Beige for everything else, including the ceiling beams and wood paneling. We placed custom-sized loveseats on either side of the fireplace, accented with blue and teal pillows. Our client loves herons, and has one that seems to live in her back yard, so we found a print by the Audubon Society and had it enlarged and framed to place over the mantle.

Each time our design team completes a room, we find the results to be more outstanding than we imagined. There is still more work to be done in this home – two bedrooms, and eventually a kitchen remodel. We will continue to our efforts, room by room, until we have completed the amazing transformation of this home.

Creating The Landscape Of Your Dreams

April 9, 2014

Finally … the winter that zinged us with cold temps, snow and freezing rain is a memory, and North Carolinians are warmly welcoming spring! For many, one of the best parts of this season is watching gardens and lawns come to life with color. No one relates to this particular joy better than Kevin Fontaine of the Raleigh landscaping company, Fontaine Landscaping. Kevin is one of our favorite landscapers, and his wealth of knowledge makes him a go-to for landscaping advice, from the ground up. North Carolina Design chatted with him recently concerning some of the essential components of a successful landscaping project.

Images Courtesy of Fontaine Landscaping ©

Landscaping is a natural fit for Kevin, and he truly loves what he does. “I love the outdoors, and watching the landscape change through the seasons,” he notes. “I also really enjoy the creativity landscaping offers. But the best part – the ultimate goal – is bringing enjoyment to people’s lives. Landscaping is near and dear to homeowners. It’s not a necessity, but it’s close. They take a lot of pleasure in it — not just in the aesthetic aspects, but in the added functionality.”

Kevin explains that outdoor spaces that are both beautiful and functional don’t just happen – they require a good plan. “Homeowners go to Home Depot and grab a hodge-podge of a thousand different plants, but they just don’t make sense together. You need a really a good plan to achieve a really good outcome. A good landscaper can develop a plan that achieves all of your goals for your space.”

It’s important for homeowners to understand how a landscape project will come together. To help clients visualize his plans, Kevin relies on scaled renderings and 3-D walkthrough videos. “3-D videos are a great tool. We can walk homeowners through their new landscape and help them see how it will all look, and how it will function as a whole.”

Future maintenance is a big factor in landscaping, and should be an important part of any plan or installation. “Being smart about landscaping can save homeowners time, effort and money,” Kevin notes. He incorporates concepts like fescue to Bermuda lawn conversions and LED lighting plans to create cost-effective, low maintenance landscapes that significantly minimize power and water usage.

Kevin is committed to educating homeowners about their options and helping them understand everything that goes into building a landscape. “Our YouTube channel provides homeowners with helpful how-to’s for their landscapes,” he says. “It shows them all the stages involved and all the work it takes to put a landscape together.” Fontaine Landscaping also created Outdoor Experts University, an informal seminar presented to homeowners associations to educate them on gardening and lawn care.

Kevin’s willingness to go above and beyond for his clients and commitment to getting the job done right have not gone unnoticed. Fontaine Landscaping was recently the proud recipient of the 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award.

A Blue Ridge Mountain Dream Called “Home”

April 3, 2014

When Marcus Katz and his wife, Pearl Baker Katz, decided to create their dream home in Western North Carolina, they initially set their sights on a small renovation. As they worked with Asheville Architect, Amy Conner-Murphy, owner of ACM Design, the vision they had for their dream home began to take shape – and transformed from a small project into a major renovation. The end result? An exquisitely appointed, luxurious property that has all of the amenities of a high-end retreat, but with every comfort of “home sweet home.” Amy was kind enough to share with North Carolina Design how she and her team added some of the finer details to the home.

Images Courtesy of ACM Design ©

The Katz’s wanted to build a second home in the Asheville area. “Marcus grew up coming to summer camp in the area, and he loved it,” Amy explained. “They both wanted to create a spectacular retreat where friends and family could be treated to luxury while they were visiting, but still feel very much at home.”

To accomplish the homeowners’ vision, drastic changes had to be made. “The main residence was taken back to the studs and completely revamped with a new floor plan. While we kept the rustic feel of the exterior, the interior doesn’t at all resemble what was there originally.”

The new layout gives the homeowners the exact function and aesthetic they need. “It’s an open, casual, inviting kind of space,” Amy said. “People can linger and enjoy the view while they have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine from the bar.”

The property’s spectacular view is one of its best features, and Amy and her team found a brilliant way to capitalize on it. “We used expanses of glass bi-folding doors that open almost the whole width of the room. This allows the indoor and outdoor spaces to flow into one another. When the weather permits, which could be 9 or 10 months out of the year, they can actually live both indoors and outdoors.”

When it comes to guest accommodations in the home, visitors are spoiled for choice. “The main home’s guest suites were designed to give visitors a high level of privacy and luxury,” Amy said. “The homeowners truly had in mind a space where their guests could relax and feel comfortable. Everything is provided – guests can check emails, or have a hot bath after a day of hiking – all the creature comforts that could make someone feel at home have been thought of.”

The couple’s guests can also stay in the spacious and luxurious dual-level guest house. “The top level of the guest house is like a very posh hotel suite,” Amy noted. “It has everything — a well-appointed kitchen, a master suite and a gathering space. The lower level is more like a den and game room space – somewhere where family and friends who have children can feel comfortable and follow their own routines.”

The home’s outdoor space is a veritable paradise for the Katz’s and their guests, featuring a fully outfitted summer kitchen, an infinity pool that faces the mountain view, a poolside waterfall, gardens, a tennis pavilion and hiking trails. “You can hike in the mountains and see hundreds of native species, without ever leaving the property,” Amy said. “The whole place really is an Eden, just as the homeowners imagined.”

Click here to view the North Carolina Design Directory of quality professionals, artisans and retailers for all areas of the home.

Southern Pines Offers A Wealth Of Creativity & Design Resources

April 1, 2014

In the interior design industry, support and teamwork are essential to the creative process – and to ensuring wonderful results. The Southern Pines interior design firm, Village Design Group, and its vibrant Design Center, take this idea to a whole new level. The group provides resources To The Trade, along with in-house commercial and residential design services for clients located regionally and nationwide. With a wealth of product options from quality vendors for every area of the home, Village Design Group assists both designers and homeowners in meeting their design goals. North Carolina Design spoke with owner Vicki Stone about Village Design Group, and what makes it unique.

Images Courtesy of Village Design Group ©

“We really are a multi-purpose, diversified group, but we work seamlessly as a team,” Vicki affirms. “Over the 32 years we’ve been in business, we’ve built up a lot of accounts and brought together an incredible collection of design resources, which we use to create a one-stop design shop that serves homeowners, our own designers and those in The Trade.”

The firm is located in a 12,000 square foot showroom, where the public is free to browse an immense selection of furniture, fabrics, accessories and wallpaper. Designers are on hand to provide selection guidance for those who need it. Village Design shares the showroom space with Kitchen and Bath Galleries and Meadow Creek Tile – a partnership that has been invaluable to all involved. “We can offer cabinetry, appliances, countertops and tile – everything necessary for a remodel or renovation, in one place,” Vicki notes.

Those in the design industry also benefit greatly from Village Design Group’s wide selection. “Our To The Trade service really provides something invaluable to independent designers who don’t have the resources to maintain lines or open accounts, and are limited when it comes to the case goods, fabric and upholstery lines they can offer their clients,” Vicki explains.

“When designers register with us – which they can do from anywhere in the country – they have access to all of our resources. This gives them a great deal of flexibility and many options that they would not otherwise have had. We have a dedicated account person that helps them place orders, check orders, and get things delivered. We really are here to help and support them in every way, and those who have registered have found that it’s a very worthwhile service.”

While Village Design Group is located in Southern Pines, the firm is providing fashion forward design resources to interior designers not only across the Carolinas but throughout the country. Vicki confirmed that current projects have the company working with interior designers as far north as Connecticut and as far south as Florida. By providing the most notable names in fabrics, trims, and home furnishings, they are able to accommodate the needs of their design clientele.

In the end, Village Design Group is all about offering everyone great options, good value and excellent service. “People tend to believe that designers and products are expensive, and that it’s wiser to do things themselves,” Vicky explains. “What they don’t understand is that good design is a talent and a valuable skill, and hiring a designer saves time and money and prevents mistakes. Our ultimate goal is to help people end up with the room or the house of their dreams, and we have the resources to do that successfully.”

Raleigh Landscape Architects Balance Beauty & Sustainablilty

March 21, 2014

Sustainable landscaping is a great way to lower costs and maintenance, and ensure that you are doing what’s best for your landscape and for the environment in general. But of course, we all want beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy. To find out how landscape architects balance sustainability with aesthetics, we talked to Raleigh landscape architects Dan Sears and Ron Price of Sears Design Group. These seasoned experts shared with North Carolina Design how they truly appreciate the natural beauty of landscapes and are committed to solid sustainability practices.

Images Courtesy of Sears Design Group ©

“Sustainability enhances human health and well-being, and it’s good for both economic and environmental reasons,” Ron affirms. “There’s a lot of cost and environmental impact to maintaining an emerald green, weed-free lawn, for example. Cool weather grasses like fescue want to go dormant in the summer, so keeping them green requires a lot of maintenance, a lot of water, and a lot of chemicals.”

While sustainable design has become popular of late, it’s just par for the course for Dan and Ron. “A lot of people think sustainability is a new thing, but we’ve always been sensitive to doing things that aren’t competing with nature,” Dan explains. “The Good Lord made plants to thrive, not just survive. We focus on plants that are adaptable or indigenous — plants that will tolerate a little less care and less water. We avoid exotics, and use more perennials and fewer flowers.”

When it comes to what constitutes a beautiful landscape, there really is no one right answer. “Design is very personal, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Dan says. “We help the client discover what it is they want, then we capture that spirit with alternatives that are sustainable.” Ron adds, “We have to strike a balance between function and aesthetics, so we try to educate clients about their options, and what’s realistic in terms of site conditions in the greater context of what’s best for the environment.”

To create beautiful landscapes, Dan and Ron use principles common to any designer, such as color, scale and texture. “We design a sequence of blooms to add color all year,” Dan notes. “But plants are so much more than flowers. Leaves, grasses and ornamental trees create texture and color. The way we group plants together is also really important. The beauty of one plant can work harmoniously with plants around it. Or it can create a beautiful contrast.”

If clients do love showy blooms and exotics, Dan and Ron advise potting them rather than planting them. “Putting annuals in a pot provides more accents seasonally, because the pots are pretty even when the plants are not,” explains Ron. “Plus, pots are pretty low maintenance. A whole bed of annuals is challenging. But people say ‘Hey, I can take care of this pot.’”

In the end, the mission of Dan Sears and his team is a singular one. “We want to bring our clients enjoyment and betterment of their lives, without compromising future generations,” says Ron. “Yes,” adds Dan. “And I’m proud to say that we do so successfully.”

Bienenstock Furniture Library: A Treasured Furniture Resource

March 19, 2014

Just blocks from the High Point Furniture Market is a longtime and outstanding resource for those interested in learning more about the incredible history of furniture and interior design.  Open to everyone, The Bienenstock Furniture Library has long been a treasured resource for those in the design and furniture trade. North Carolina Design had the pleasure to speak with Library Director Karla Webb to find out more about the library’s history, and what it has to offer interior design and furniture professionals.

The Bienenstock Library began with founder Sandy Bienenstock’s passion for furniture design. “In the late 1920s, Sandy was hired by Furniture World Magazine as an accountant to straighten out their books,” explains Karla. “As he worked for them, Sandy fell in love with furniture design, and also with the furniture industry. He went on to buy the magazine and became its owner, editor and publisher.”

Sandy Bienenstock may have loved the furniture industry, but he knew little about it. So he set out to educate himself. “He started collecting books on everything related to the history of furniture and home furnishings,” Karla notes. “He really was trying to build a library of great old books – books that were rare, out of print and hard to come by. His collection grew and grew, and he really wanted to make it accessible to everyone.”

While Sandy lived in New York, he came to High Point twice a year for the Furniture Market. He knew and greatly appreciated the connection between North Carolina and the furniture-making industry. He bought a historic home on Main Street, where he and his wife Bernice founded the Bienenstock Furniture Library in 1970 with his personal collection, which totaled about 3,000 books.

Now containing over 5,000 books, the Bienenstock Furniture Library is the world’s largest collection of furniture design and history resources. It also goes far beyond furniture to include references on textiles, carpets, decorative arts and antiques. The library’s climate-controlled rare books room contains books from as far back as the late 1500s, including first editions of Hepplewhite, Chippendale and Sheraton, and a complete set of Diderot’s Encyclopedia. There’s even a bookstore where people can add to their company or personal collections.

People from all different disciplines visit the library, for a number of different reasons. “Our clientele is very broad,” Karla explains. “All types of people come in – interior designers working on historic homes, era scholars working on their doctorates – even people who just want to know more about their grandmother’s rocking chair.”

The library features a conference room, which is frequently used by design professionals, students and retailers. “The room is open for anyone to use for anything they want,” notes Karla. “Industry organizations use it for conferences, seminars and meetings. Colleges hold class in the room. During the High Point Furniture Market, some retailers will reserve the space to get away and have a private setting where they can mingle with clients or dealers.”

The library works hard to pursue Sandy Bienenstock’s vision of accessible education. “Sandy was passionate about investing in the education and future of the furniture-making industry,” says Karla. “He started a scholarship fund in 1984, and we have awarded over $400,000 to students. We are always doing our best to move forward and carry on Sandy’s legacy.”

Delighting In The Details of 2014 Kitchen Trends

March 17, 2014

As we find ourselves looking forward to the fresh new start that spring always brings, we decided that this would be a great time to turn our attention to what’s fresh and new in design. Since I truly love kitchens, I thought we’d explore the new trends that are happening in the heart of the home. To that end, we talked to expert Winston-Salem kitchen designers Tim Nichols and Melissa Jessup of Cabinet Studio. These guys definitely know their kitchens, and they were happy to share their thoughts with North Carolina Design about what’s new in kitchen design.

Images Courtesy of Cabinet Studio ©

It seems that when it comes to kitchens, simple elegance rules the day. “The trend seems to be toward a more tailored look with less embellishment,” says Tim. “Homeowners want cabinetry that’s simpler and lower maintenance.” Melissa agrees. “I think people are primarily looking to keep things clean, simple and light,” she notes. “They’re leaning toward a more transitional style, like cabinets that have pretty, traditional door frames but flat center panels. They don’t want to have to get in there with a toothbrush to scrub ornate door details.”

The clean, subdued look extends to the kitchen’s color palette as well. “A lot of people are opting for painted wood,” Melissa explains. “They’re steering away from white kitchens, unless they are a softer white like alabaster or melted brie. More often they choose soft colors like light greens and light grays. Then they might add bolder, darker accents, on the hood or the island.”

Natural stone countertops are apparently here to stay, although preferences seem to be shifting slightly. “Granite countertops are still very popular, but people are starting to pay more attention to quartz,” Tim affirms. “Quartz is more expensive, but it’s also more durable.” Melissa notes that quartz can also offer aesthetic benefits that rival those of granite. “I think that what has traditionally attracted people to granite is its character and movement,” she explains. “Now there are quartz countertop options that have those same qualities.”

Like everything else in the kitchen, homeowners prefer tile backsplashes that are a seamless blend of the old and the new. “People seem to be going back to porcelain tile.” notes Tim. “But they’re not necessarily choosing subway tiles. Different shapes and designs are being introduced. Arabesque designs are gaining popularity.” Melissa notes that people are using tile to create focal points in the kitchen. “There’s a focus on creating beautiful backsplash designs and patterns. The cabinetry actually acts as a background to the artistry of the tile.”

Fittingly, practicality is a priority in today’s simpler, more streamlined designs. “People are looking for ways to add convenient storage to their kitchens,” explains Tim. “They prefer drawers over doors. They’re also choosing to use drawer inserts like flatware dividers, tray dividers and lazy Susans to organize their essentials.” Melissa adds, “It’s really about figuring out the best way to use the space. Sometimes that means putting dishes in drawers, and finding creative ways to organize pots, pans, lids and cookie sheets.”

Melissa notes that simple doesn’t in any way mean plain. “Every project is different, and every client brings in different ideas. We get a really interesting mixture of requests. It’s an exciting time to be doing kitchens.”

Beautiful North Carolina Kitchens Awash In White

March 12, 2014

I am definitely very partial to the wonderfully clean, crisp and classic look of white kitchens. My own kitchen is white, after all! White kitchens have been a Southern tradition for many years, and now it seems they are experiencing a renewed popularity with homeowners in North Carolina. To get a better understanding of just how popular they are, as well as a bit about the ins and outs of creating one of these beautiful kitchens, North Carolina Design caught up with Gina Arledge, owner of The Kitchen Studio in Greensboro. Gina is a bona fide expert in all kitchen styles, and she was happy to share her thoughts.

Images Courtesy of The Kitchen Studio. Photography by Dustin Peck. ©

“White kitchens really are a classic timeless staple in the South,” Gina explains. “We often go into homes from the 40′s and 50′s. Some have their original cabinetry, and it’s often white. There was a dip in popularity for a good 7 or 8 years in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. We were still doing white kitchens, but there just wasn’t much demand.”

Gina says that, in the end, white has won out again. “Right now 70 percent of the kitchens we’re seeing are white. I think the demand has resurged because people are looking for something a little more simplified and less ornate, with cleaner lines and less muss and fuss. They appreciate the crispness, lightness, brightness of a white kitchen, as well as the classic feel that it offers.”

White is also a highly versatile choice for a kitchen. “White can act as a blank canvas that accommodates anyone’s tastes,” says Gina. “It can be very classic, and it can be very, very contemporary. And today, painted white wood is available at any price point, so there’s no barrier to having a white kitchen. Essentially, white crosses all design styles and budgets, and it can work for anyone.”

White kitchens do come with some challenges. First, there’s the day-to-day challenge of keeping them clean – especially seeing as kitchens are inherently messy areas. “It’s true that white is not as forgiving a finish,” notes Gina. “You do have to be more thoughtful about making sure that spills are cleaned up quickly. That said, white paint has come a long way. The high-quality factory finishes and UV top coats available now offer a better shield from dirt and stains.”

Another challenge of creating a white kitchen is avoiding a look that’s too clean. “If you’re not careful, white can look a little sterile,” Gina explains. “I like to pair it with rich wood floors to add warmth. I also like to give the homeowners areas where they can incorporate their personal style, like open shelving for decorative items.”

Gina notes that there are many ways to add personality to a white kitchen. “You can add a bit of color with fabrics and window treatments, and character with pendants and bar stools. You can go retro, or combine some modern elements with some traditional elements. The possibilities really are endless.”

Beautiful Lake Lure Renovation Achieves National Recognition

February 17, 2014

It’s interesting how the most challenging projects also turn out to also be the most rewarding. That was the case with today’s featured home renovation. This two-year labor of love presented Asheville builder Sean Sullivan with numerous challenges, but ultimately Sean’s company, Living Stone Construction, achieved spectacular and award-winning results.

Images Courtesy of Living Stone Construction ©

Just two weeks ago, it was announced in Las Vegas that this home won the National Association of Home Builders Gold BALA Award (Best in American Living) for Whole House Renovation. The accolades don’t end there. It also won a North Carolina Home Builders Association STARS award for Best Whole House Renovation in the state. Sean was kind enough to take the time to talk to give North Carolina Design his perspective on the project’s unique challenges and what it took to bring new life to the home.

The homeowners, MJ Bertsch and Melanie Furimsky, wanted to transform their existing Lake Lure house into a cozy lakeside retreat, and they came to Sean. “The house was really dated and in pretty bad shape,” he said. “We ended up tearing the structure down and building a new house from the existing foundation.”

Sean faced obstacles from the word go. “The home is on a steep slope that leads down to the lake, he explained. “Steep slopes are always a challenge. It’s also very difficult to build in the town of Lake Lure. There are a lot of stringent regulations from county and town municipalities. It took about 6 months just to get approvals.” The next challenge was replacing the sea wall. “We had to time the replacement to coincide with the lowering of the lake’s water level, which the town does periodically during the winter.”

Once the new sea wall was up, Sean and his team developed a plan to renovate from the bottom up. “We started by renovating the boathouse, then worked our way up the hill. As we went up the hill, we had to find a way to control storm water. Erosion control is a prime concern – you don’t want lakefront banks washing into the lake. We had to cut into the landscape to create drainage.”

The challenge within the house was to accommodate all of the homeowners’ wishes. “They wanted a cozy Craftsman that was also spacious. We gave them high ceilings and open rooms, but stayed true to a traditional Craftsman aesthetic. They also wanted to capitalize on their view, so we came up with a huge wall of windows overlooking the lake.”

A universal design was also important to the homeowners. The home features an elevator, lowered light switches, widened doorways, and an open kitchen, bar space and living area. The open concept idea serves a dual purpose of being wheelchair friendly and providing ample entertainment space for the homeowners.

In spite of the challenges – or perhaps because of them — Sean looks back on the renovation fondly. “To be honest, the whole project was really a lot of fun,” he noted. “As a team, it was probably our most popular project yet. We worked our way up the hill to the house, then we backed down that steep driveway and left, knowing that we made the homeowners happy, and that it was a truly a job well done.”

Publisher’s Note: As evidence of the outstanding interior design in this project,  Allard & Roberts Interior Design of Asheville was awarded “Best Interior Merchandising” by the North Carolina Home Builders Association.

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