Inspiration in the Studio

Inspiration in the Studio!

In the past few months, I’ve been working hard on several new construction projects. Anyone who has built a custom home knows there are so many decisions to be made…more than you could possibly imagine. Combing all of the individual elements into a cohesive design is easier said than done, but I love the challenge.

I can’t wait to see this bathroom come to life in 2011….a spa-like combination of cabinetry, tile, countertops, plumbing fixtures and paint.


The warmth of this exterior palette will be gorgeous once it’s all put together. The stone, siding, shakes, trim, windows, roof, metal accent roof….so many colors and textures and they all work together beautifully.


I’ll be sure to share the photos of the finished projects. In the meantime, back to creating….

STARS Award Goes to Whitney Blair!

Dan and I just returned from Charlotte after a quick trip to attend the STARS Gala sponsored by the North Carolina Home Builders Association. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about an amazing remodel transformation! The judges thought it was amazing too and Whitney Blair was awarded a 2010 STARS Award for the project. It’s an honor to be part of the Whitney Blair team that creates such amazing homes!

Dan and I always enjoy the company of Jeff and Lisa Sanderson with Whitney Blair (although I should have worn higher heels)!


Congratulations to all of the winners! There is some amazing talent in North Carolina!

An Amazing Transformation!

This past week I received one of those e-mails….a reminder of the incredibly personal connection we have with our homes.

I opened the e-mail and the note began. “It’s hard to express how I feel….my heart is smiling. I am thrilled. I woke up at 4:30 this morning, couldn’t sleep so excited over the house. It felt like Christmas when we were children.  Thanks for taking a project close to my heart.”

The note was written by a client who took on a major project with personal meaning for her entire family.  30 years ago her parents built a home in Ocean Isle Beach. For years, it served as a gathering place for her five siblings and extended family…so many memories of carefree summers at the beach. After the death of her parents, she and her husband (a very patient man) accepted the challenge of renovating the home so the family memories could continue for the next generation.

The kitchen before (oh, if these walls could talk)….


The kitchen today….

It always bothered Corinne’s mother that the staircase was not installed as originally planned 30 years ago.  We remedied the problem by reversing the staircase; yes, it was rotated and moved. It allowed the living room to be opened to the kitchen with a convenient pass-thru. Here’s the living room before….

And now…

The exterior of the home before…

And now…

As with every successful project, it takes a team of professionals to make it happen!  For this project, the contractor who worked incredible magic was Jeff Sanderson (and his Construction Manager, Dino Viscosi) with Whitney Blair. The cabinetry was custom-made by a true craftsman, Kirk Riffel, with Creative Cabinetry.

Corinne, it was absolutely my pleasure to play a small role in such a meaningful project. Your parents are proud!

A Completed Project on Lake Gaston (another favorite)!

For the past 18 months, I’ve been working with the most fantastic clients (and now wonderful friends) to bring their dream of a second home on Lake Gaston to life. I had the pleasure of working closely with Sid Cutts with Corbitt Hills Construction on the project.  I cannot say enough about Sid’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. Several weeks ago, we spent the day photographing the project and I wanted to share the results. I’ll do my best to give you a virtual tour… we go….

The exterior facade is gorgeous with handcrafted detailing in the columns, shutters, and gables.


The foyer of the home is open to the adjacent lodge room and dining room.  Notice the stunning front door and beautiful light fixtures by Currey & Company.


The lodge room has a beautiful view of the lake and includes more quality detailing in the built-in cabinetry and ceiling detailing. Check out the curved leather sofa…the perfect conversation space!


This kitchen is a dream! The large center island is the perfect gathering spot. We decided to stack the cabinets to the 10′ ceiling height to maximize storage and make a grand statement. Mixing the finishes on the cabinets gave added visual interest. We worked closely with Lake Country Kitchens to create the perfect design. The kitchen backsplash is a combination of tiles, including natural stone and handcrafted decorative tiles and mosaics. What do you think?


The keeping room is open to the kitchen and breakfast nook. Notice the beautiful floors throughout this home! They are fabricated from reclaimed wood and custom finished specifically for this home.


I could live in this master bath.  The barrel vault welcomes you to the walk-thru shower. It’s the perfect master shower combination…two personal showers on each end so there’s no need to adjust settings.  The walk-thru center space (which, unfortunately, you can’t see) includes an arched window, a rain can shower head and body sprays. It’s the ultimate shower experience!


Here’s a detail of the beautiful tile work. Laura Olmstead with Triangle Tile and Stone helped us create the perfect combination of materials and design. Notice the pebble shower floor in the photo above.


The lower level is the perfect spot for entertaining. The wine storage cellar has a gorgeous door accented with wrought iron. The rustic furnishings (and a pool table not shown in the photo) are made from antique wagon wheels and reclaimed teakwood. Sid did a fabulous job crafting the “awning” over the bar. We used engineered cork plank flooring for it’s aesthetics and durability.


The girls have the perfect sleepover hangout in this bunk room! We made sure their every need was met, right down to the reading lights in their personal cubbies. Oh, to be a kid again!


Although the home is a beautiful creation, I always try to remember that nothing man-made can ever top the beauty of nature. Check out the peaceful morning on the lake.


As with any quality custom home, it takes a lot of talented craftspeople and vendors working together to make it happen!  Thank you to all the friends I met along the way….

Coastal Living Idea House in SeaWatch

Today was close to perfect!  It all started with a long walk on the beach with Dan and my happy dog. The sun was shining and the dolphins were jumping….life is good.

This afternoon we visited the Coastal Living Idea House located in the beautiful Seawatch at Sunset Harbor community. Every Idea House I’ve ever visited brings inspiration and this one is no exception. The interiors were perfectly executed by Phillip Sides Interior Design located in Montgomery, Alabama.

The architecture of the home, designed by Guidry Coastal Architecture, is charming with exquisite detailing.


The entry is casual and dramatic.  I love the black and white photography that lines the staircase.


The great room is large and inviting….a calm, coastal retreat.


One of my favorite interior details is this small window seat alcove. The window treatment is a simple shutter lined with chicken wire and fabric accents.


The kitchen has a large center work island that also functions as a breakfast bar.  Notice the forged iron island pendant designed by Phillips Metal Works.


The upstairs loft is flanked by two sets of built-in bunk beds.  The peek-thru windows are home to small reading lights.


This home will be featured in the November issue of Coastal Living, but it’s open to the public for viewing through November 29th.  I promise it’s worth the visit!

Now, how to end my near perfect day?  Maybe another long walk on the beach and a glass of wine.  Life really is good!