Asheville Area Builder & Remodeler Transforms 1960′s Ranch House Into A Colorful & Contemporary Home For His Family

Posted on | June 7, 2016 | No Comments

There’s no story we love more than that of “The Little House that Could” – a property that didn’t look like much at first, but became something spectacular in the hands of an expert. Once nondescript, dated and overlooked, today’s featured home is now an organic mountain contemporary masterpiece thanks to Sean Sullivan, owner of Asheville design build firm Living Stone Construction. While we call the project wonderfully inspired, Sean and his family call it something more – “home.”  Sean was gracious enough to let North Carolina Design peek inside his private living space, and share its fascinating story.

Images Courtesy of Living Stone Construction ©

Originally a 1960′s ranch house, the home had no central air conditioning and just 900 square feet of living space. It was a true diamond in the rough – nowhere near suitable for Sean’s family’s needs. However, Sean saw its potential – most significantly in its location. “It’s a great example of infill development, where you go into a neighborhood and make use of underutilized space,” he tells us. “This home was perfectly located in downtown Black Mountain, near a lake, a golf course, shops and restaurants.”

Sean made a number of significant changes. He removed the original roof, raised it, and created a beautiful and distinctive half-butterfly roofline. He converted the existing kitchen into a dining room, and built a new addition that houses the new kitchen and an art studio for his wife. He also turned the home’s crawlspace into a machine and TV room, and created a chic and eclectic wine room. The home now boasts 1,500 square feet of main floor living space.

Sean planned each space in the home with great thought and care. “This home is an example of ‘right size building,’” he tells us, referring to a concept in which homes are built with no wasted or extraneous space. “It has just the right amount of square footage for our needs. Everything is designed to optimize space. The house has abundant storage, lots of windows, and lots of natural light.  People come in and can’t believe it isn’t larger than it is.”

There is also little or no wasted energy in the home. “We are always very committed to green building,” Sean says. “We’re really excited about this home’s energy efficient features. It’s LEED certified platinum. It’s net zero ready, meaning it could achieve net zero energy use if we added more solar panels. All of the products we used are natural. We used geothermal heating for the home, and we use the cold air vented from the water heater to chill the wine room.”

Sean sought to create a contemporary and clean aesthetic, and used natural mountain elements like cedar and stone to tie the home back to its surroundings. The home’s interior offers abundant color and life, as well as a sense of warmth – all attributed to Sean’s wife Laura Sullivan, owner of ID.ology Interior Design. “Laura designed every room, every wall, every cabinet and pull out. I especially love how she used organic elements and darker, softer colors to balance the light colors and clean lines of the space.”

The house is rich with colorful, personal details – nearly everywhere you look there’s a story waiting to be told. The dining table is made from walnut slabs Laura’s father gave to the couple years before. The door to the wine room is a genuine door from an Asheville jail, given to Laura by her sister. Sean’s mother-in-law gave Sean and Laura a stained glass window for Christmas, without knowing he had planned to use it in one of the closets. It can be seen from the front of the house and amazingly, it fit perfectly.

Everything about this house seems to fit. As Sean had hoped and planned, it all speaks to his family’s life together, as well as their lives as individuals. “It’s really wonderful,” he reflects. “I have my man cave, and my wife has her woman cave. The kids are tickled pink – they think it’s the coolest house ever. I am just so proud of the way it turned out. It’s perfect. It’s home. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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