141 Oliver is the second new construction home to join our Storybook collection. With it’s completion, I can confidently tell you that while renovations will always have my heart, there is something to be said for new construction. I mean, after the initial holding of my breath while waiting to see if what I drew on paper actually framed up to look like a house in real life, there were essentially NO surprises. It was soooo easy! The house practically built itself. Aaaaand I did not cry one time…like not even a sniffle! HOWEVER…. as enticing as a drama free construction site sounds, I desperately missed the story inspiration only an old home can give. You’d think the control freak in me would love the blank slate that new construction provides- essentially allowing me to take the design story any direction my imagination desires to go; but I have found, without the history of a past home and it’s previous owner’s design choices to study, I have a hard time committing and truly connecting to a story. It made me realize just how valuable demo time is to my creative process. While I usually have a general story theme nailed down before the first wack of the sledgehammer occurs, it is during the long weeks of digging thru the guts of a home that the details come out and the story comes alive in my head.
So, while 141 Oliver was still navigated by a story, the details never quite made it past the theme/outline phase of the process. Basically the story stayed 1 dimensional just answering the necessary questions to help create a cohesive design. Crazy thing is, despite the ho hum story-line the house still came out with its own unique character and I found myself, once again, saying “I think this might be one of my favorites.” Who knows, maybe this means I’m maturing into a real designer/contractor and will one day be able to wean myself off a story altogether …. Nah! What’s the fun in that!!!
Even though I don’t have a typical storybook tale to tell, I would like to share with you the fictional facts I told myself about 141 Oliver so you can see how they played out in real life. And as a consolation prize for not getting a real story…. this post is going to reveal all the final product pictures!!! (Let’s be real…. that’s what you really want anyway.)
First off, I started with this information: 1) the lot was skinnier than a typical old town Conway lot and 2) the house would be residing in the historic overlay district of our city. With this information alone it did not take long for me to fall in love with the idea of building a shot-gun replica popular in historic cities like Charleston and New Orleans. Honestly, I tried to convince myself it was modeled off of a Charleston style shotgun since I had already completed a New Orleans inspired project the year before… but I had so many people drive by and tell me that it reminded them of New Orleans I gave up and admitted I had landed back in the French Quarter.
To make the home feel “historic” I added architectural details to the house that would have been reminiscent of an early 1900 shotgun like the curvy corbels on the front porch (huge thank you to Erik Menzie and his team for making that dream come true), the functioning custom Shutters (Jimmy Bishop) and the trim detail around the windows and doors (Marty Tabor exterior, Chris Bise interior).
With the classic shotgun elements in place, I looked to the fictitious homeowner to help determine the individual flavor of the house. Because the lot size dictated a smaller size home (around 1200 sq foot to be exact) I decided to design with a single gal in mind. I pictured her as a free spirit, artsy type which meant the home would have a young, funky, modern vibe with a vibrant personality.
To me one of the best examples of how this played out was in the color scheme. On the outside I chose a serene light green for the siding that would sit nicely next to her neighbor, Cindedwella. But then tried to go with the unexpected for the shutter and door color. Normally I like to play it safe by choosing complimentary paints found on the same color strip but for 141 Oliver I tried to think more like an artist and ended up with 3 different shades of green- 1 sagey, 1 blue green, and 1 hunter greenish and somehow it just worked! I then brought the door color inside and splashed it on the cabinets and eating nook.
I loved how this funky almost black green color functioned as a neutral. We pretty much ignored it when bringing in the staging and no matter what color we paired it with…. it just worked.
Speaking of Staging, I must take a second to once again thank Donna Benton of Waterhouse Market for bringing in all the furniture, art and accessories to help make this story come alive for the Open House.
Ya’ll, she decked this house in ONE DAY! While I tend to overthink every design choice I make she just seems to have a natural knack of knowing exactly how to decorate a space to feel both magazine worthy and livable. I am so beyond thankful she continues to agree to share her time and talents to make these storybook debuts so special.
One of the nicest comments I heard at the open house was that “while the house was small in size it lived big.” I think this was accomplished by giving the living spaces extra tall ceilings and eliminating wasted spaces. Plus Donna did a great job showing how furniture could be arranged to make the most out of a small space.
To bring in the artist funky style I went with a long neck wall sconce for the dining nook light instead of a more common chandelier or pendant.
Big thanks to Pevia Electric for going the extra mile to retrofit this wall sconce and the ones flanking the kitchen sink from plug-ins to hardwired fixtures. (Cabinets by the one and only Jeff Perry.)
I chose a freestanding table for the island instead of traditional cabinetry for a more eclectic feel- stereotypical of most artists. And let us not forget the library ladder…. ah the library ladder….
Not sure how this exactly ties into the story other than my single lady probably wasn’t 7′ tall so she needed a way to reach the top cabinets in her 10′ tall kitchen and library ladders are just fun. Plus it knocked off “do library ladder” on my 40 year old bucket list. This has been a dream of mine since first watching Belle roll around the Beast’s library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Other ways I added a younger touch to this otherwise historic feeling home was in the tile work. I used basic over sized subway tile in the master and brought back the basic 80’s square tile in the guest bath but had David install them both in a more modern way.
And how fun is that pegged chair rail in the guest bath?!?! This little free spirit could hang all sorts of tchotchkies like Turkish towels, hanging plants, soap on a rope, etc.
The other two bedrooms were left empty during the open house so the pictures are kinda boring but I’m going to leave them here just as proof that this 1200 sq foot cutie was able to fit 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The only picture I neglected to get was the laundry room- but trust me it’s in there!
Well there you have it. More of a picture book than a novel this time but I hope you enjoyed the visit. I’ve got some exciting projects in store for the spring- I can’t wait to tell you all about them!
Big Thank You to Makenzie Evans for the Beautiful photos!