Charlotte Residential Designer Creates A Lakeside Forever Home For Clients That’s A Cozy Getaway For Extended Family

Posted on | September 15, 2015 | No Comments

Every home tells a story, and every now and then, a design professional gets the chance to be part of a truly unique and special tale. This was the case for Kevin Holdridge, owner of KDH Residential Design in Charlotte, when it came to the Valita Project. This exquisite home serves as a lakeside getaway, a forever home, and part of an extended family legacy. This is a lot to ask of one home, but Kevin is an expert at designing homes that perfectly reflect his clients’ wants and needs. North Carolina Design talked to Kevin to find out more about this project and what made it so special.

Images Courtesy of KDH Residential Design ©

Kevin found this particluar project quite fulfilling. “The homeowners are retired empty nesters, and they wanted this to be the last home they would ever live in,” he recounts. “The wife grew up in two little cabins on the property, so there was a lot of history there. It was sad to tear down those cabins, but we all understood that it was necessary in order to achieve their dream home.”

“The homeowners have eight children, and each of their children has children,” notes Kevin. “They wanted to build a family lake house – something accommodating enough for when their kids gather during the summer, but cozy and relaxing enough for the two of them to live in every day. They wanted a contemporary twist on a beach house, so the home has a clean, contemporary feel, but you also have exposed rafters, timber columns and stonework that give it a lot of warmth and makes it very inviting.”

Kevin designed the home with two master suites – one on either side of the house. “They wanted a sanctuary where they could go and relax separately if they chose to,” he explains. “Each master has a large sitting area that overlooks the lake, where they can read, enjoy the scenery, and have some quiet time to themselves. Each master is completely different – one is light and airy and full of pastels and one is dark and has the feel of an executive office.”

Kevin worked hard to accommodate the comfort and needs of the couple’s many prospective guests as well. “We created an open floor plan that’s comfortable for two people but spacious enough to entertain a crowd,” he says. “There is plenty of seating in and around the kitchen, and you could reasonably put 20 people in the great room to watch TV. There are three bedrooms on the lower level – two typical guest rooms and a ‘bunk room’ with a bunch of single beds lined up so the grandkids can all room together.”

The homeowners plan to grow old together in this home, so Kevin took steps to provide for their future needs. “We created an aging-in-place design with an open floor plan, an elevator and zero threshold entryways,” he affirms. “One of the house’s best features is the large stretch of dormer windows at the top. They let in so much light – as we age our eyesight gets poorer and it’s so important to capitalize on natural light in a home.”

Of course, the project wasn’t without serious challenges. “The lot was very uneven and required a lot of grading,” he tells us. “We had to think carefully about how to create zero threshold entryways to both the basement and the main level with that topography. We had to really study the lot and come up with a unique way to perfectly set the house. We also had to figure out how to work the retaining walls and the drainage so that rainwater didn’t go down the hill and straight into the house, through the zero threshold entrance.”

Kevin found it very satisfying to be able to give the clients exactly what they wanted. “We spent a lot of time with the client trying to discern their objectives and their style preferences,” he recalls. “They were kind of up in the air about everything. Then when I unrolled the initial design sketch the wife started crying. She said ‘I don’t know how you did it, but that’s what I had in my head.’ That was a great moment. And this is a great home, with a great story. It was really something special to be a part of.”

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