Charlotte Builder Punctuates This Spacious Renovation With A Cozy Family Atmosphere & Elegant Architectural Details

Posted on | July 26, 2016 | No Comments

Any seasoned home builder or remodeler in North Carolina will tell you that no two homes are alike. That’s the thrill of the project. Jimmy Benham, a project manager for Benham Builders – one of Charlotte’s premier custom home builders and remodelers – enjoys the fact that each home is a new challenge. Under the leadership of Jimmy’s father, Jim Benham, Benham Builders has been crafting fine homes in the Metro area since 1995. Jimmy sat down with North Carolina Design and shared details about an especially unique renovation. Formerly owned by a 1990′s Charlotte Hornets star, the home was purchased by a married couple with older children who wanted to create a homey, family atmosphere in this very spacious house.

Images Courtesy of Benham Builders ©

The new owners loved the size of the house, and the fact that it sat on 16 acres of land. They also loved its location in a gated community, and its very close proximity to a shopping center. However, the home’s style and layout didn’t quite work for their wants and needs. “It was a commercial build,” notes Jimmy. “The original builder used concrete slabs and steel joists, and gave it a flat roof instead of a pitched roof. He also gave it a slate floor, and used minimal moulding and minimal details.”

“Our clients wanted something that felt smaller, warmer and more welcoming. That was the most significant challenge for us. But we saw that the home had good bones, and we knew we could do it.” Another challenge – meeting the family’s unique functional needs. “The homeowners still have one teenage son at home, and he is disabled,” Jimmy explains. “It was very important that he be able to get everywhere he needed to go in the house.”

The homeowners are very close with their older children, who no longer live at home, and with their extended family, who live out of state. “They wanted their home to be the go-to spot for celebrating special family events, like their children’s graduations and engagements,” offers Jimmy. “They love to entertain. They regularly host large parties, and they frequently have guests who stay for an extended period of time.”

As a design–build company, Benham Builders added thoughtful architectural details to the design in order to “shrink” the home, added more interest and gave it a cozier feel. “On the exterior, we used parapets to disguise the flat roof,” Jimmy affirms. “Inside, we wanted to visually bring the 23-foot ceilings down in scale.” In the foyer, he crafted an exquisite arched tongue and groove wood ceiling, and in the living room, he built a gorgeous stand-alone coffered ceiling. He also added abundant traditional moulding throughout the house and replaced the original doors with two-panel mahogany doors.

Jimmy and his team made a number of changes to meet the homeowners’ son’s needs. They created a level main floor, with zero entry access to every room. The master bedroom was moved downstairs so that the parents could sleep close by their son. The front of the house was blown out to create a formal foyer, which leads out to a zero entry driveway that easily accommodates the son’s transport van. An elevator was built into the original front covered entrance.

Jimmy opened up the kitchen, making it lighter and brighter, and ensuring that it related more intimately with the living area. He added a large island perfect for prep work, casual meals and conversation. “The wife spends a great deal of her time in the kitchen, relaxing and enjoying meals with her son. It needed to be a comfortable, functional spot,” he explains. The kitchen space was also extended to create a scullery kitchen, where caterers can work during parties without disrupting the main kitchen.

The comfort of guests was a priority, so Jimmy ensured that there were large pavilion spaces where large groups can congregate. “We were actually invited to one of their parties,” Jimmy tells us. “It was great to see how well the space worked. There was even a perfect spot for a live band. In the time we spent with them, we really did become family. It feels great to know we rose to the challenge and helped give them the home of their dreams.”

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