Vibrant Colors, Universal Design And Green Building Practices Transform Charlotte Home

Posted on | July 11, 2014 | 2 Comments

When Charlotte residential designer Jenny Pippin, of Pippin Home Designs, and her husband, photographer Wes Stearns, set out to renovate their Lake Norman home, they first had modest ideas in mind. Their vision quickly expanded, and after a year-long process, the couple created a beautiful, vibrant, one-of-a-kind dream home that addressed their existing home’s issues and incorporated their top priorities. North Carolina Design chatted with Jenny about what makes her home unique, and the journey it took to design a home for an exacting client – her own self.

Images Courtesy of Pippin Home Designs and Artist Eye Photography ©

The home has actually undergone two separate renovations. In the first renovation, the footprint was expanded from 875 to 1200 square feet, and the existing carport was enclosed to create a garage. The second renovation was major, but it came about for a simple enough reason. “We needed a new roof,” Jenny explains. “We also needed a third bedroom and a second bathroom, so while we were contemplating the new roof, we thought, why not add on to the top of the house? And then things just evolved after that.”

Evolved indeed – into a whole new living space and workspace. “I used to have to commute 17 miles to my office, which took an hour each way,” Jenny recounts. “We decided to move my entire office into the home, and also create a photography studio for Wes.” The couple made the new second level of the home its main level. The 1200-foot existing home became a lower guest level, complete with guest bedrooms and a rec room.

Because of the steep slope of the build site, the garage, once enclosed, had continually flooded from rainwater runoff. Jenny and Wes moved the garage up the hill, which solved the flooding problem, and installed a bridge connecting the garage to the new front door.

The home does much more than meet the couple’s functional needs. From its 14 different paint colors to its metal spiral staircase, the design is decidedly bold, funky, and fun, and is carefully thought out to reflect the personalities of its owners. “We wanted to inspire people to be less neutral,” Jenny notes. “And we wanted to create someplace fun. Everyone who comes in smiles and feels really happy in our house.”

Jenny is known for her passionate endorsement of green building practices. For her own home, she incorporated passive and active solar power, as well as a rainwater harvesting system. She used low-VOC paints and water-based finishes, and incorporated sustainable materials like bamboo, cork and recycled corrugated metal. The home is silver-level certified from the North Carolina Healthy Built Homes Program, and Jenny and Wes host fundraisers, events and tours in the home to promote green building practices.

Creating a home that would welcome anyone of any physical ability was also of key importance to Jenny. “Years ago I broke my back,” she explains. “The home I lived in could not accommodate a person with a physical handicap, and I had to lay in a hospital bed in the front of the house for months. In this home, everything from the bridge, to the bathrooms, to the kitchen, and even the yard itself is accessible to anyone — from children to people in wheelchairs.”

Jenny did find it a challenge to design her own home. “I have done so many different projects for so many different people – it was really hard to narrow down what to do in my own house,” she admits. “In the end, I used an integrated approach to create a space that organically suits our needs, the landscape, and the environment – just as I do for all my clients. And I would say it was a complete success.”

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2 Responses to “Vibrant Colors, Universal Design And Green Building Practices Transform Charlotte Home”

  1. Linda Livesay
    July 12th, 2014 @ 9:01 AM

    I can personally attest to the beauty of this home. I have had the great pleasure of visiting and feeling the wonderful energy that is in every corner of this home.

    Jenny and Wes know what makes a house a home. Everyone that has visited wants to stay forever.

    Thank you Wes and Jenny for your vision and for sharing it with so many of us.

  2. Lori
    July 13th, 2014 @ 1:06 PM

    beautiful transformation!

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