MAKE YOUR MODERN | Recycling a Ranch Home Bellwhether Style

As both a designer and realtor I think ranch homes are a valuable and overlooked commodity here in the Asheville area. For those people wanting a simple, one-level home close to town we have some 40’s to 60’s neighborhoods loaded with potential and offering a great lifestyle here. In a recent conversation with some of my favorite design/build talent, Brad and Katie Rice, I discovered their last ranch remodel won some awards and felt it was worth noting. I am simply copying an article published in Western North Carolina Builder/Architect magazine that showcases the home along with their timely philosophy.

Clean lines and open space welcome you as you cross the threshold. Light cascades through sun tunnels embedded in the soaring ceilings and dances off the glass-tiled backsplash of the sleek, modern kitchen.  The 40-year-old home is unrecognizable: a newer, greener, fresher version of its former self.

This stylish remodeld ranch in Asheville’s historic Montford neighborhood embodies the philosophy of Brad and Katie Rice of Bellwether Design-Build, the team behind its award-winning metamorphosis: to bring together innovative design, cost-effective construction and sustainable building practices.

“People usually have kind of a ho-hum opinion of ranch homes,” Katie explains.  “part of the excitement for me was to show what could be done.”

Here is combination of shots showing what is now the soaring great room.

The husband and wife team brings 20 years of experience in building and designing homes of every project. Katie’s interests in design and sustainable building meld seamlessly with Brad’s background in construction and his strong ties with local subcontractors.  The boutique company offers start-to-finish services, including land consulting, home design, renovations, remodeling and interior design. Keeping a home’s design and construction under one roof — whether for a custom-built home or a remodel — helps Bellwether’s clients control their costs.

“The design-build package is not found in many firms,” Brad says. “We also believe that good design is green design.”

And building green doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of green.  The exterior of the Rosewood Ave. remodel that dazzled the Parade of Homes judges was fashioned from a salvaged barn roof found in nearby Waynesville. The luxurious marble countertops in the bath were remnants, costing a fraction of market prices and requiring no new energy to manufacture.  Also remnants were the wool carpets — inexpensive, natural and long lasting. The low-E windows were locally manufactured products that help support the Western North Carolina economy and lock out the Appalachian cold superbly, reducing both heating bills and the home’s carbon footprint.

The exterior before remodeling.

Getting in on Budget

“We offer our customers a better value and a wider range of services,” Brad continues. Both he and Katie are proud to provide clients with options designed to help them complete projects no matter the size of their wallet.

“We understand designing within budget,” Katie says. “The design expenses are always incorporated into the building expenses.”

Many customers go to a designer first, and then bring the result to a contractor. But a designer wiht no building background may create a home far beyond a customer’s budget. Similarly, a contractor may be able to build from a plan, but cannot offer design expertise. “We bring both of these estimates to the table,” Brad says, “and this provides our clients with a well-rounded financial approach to their new home from the get-go.”

Whether a new build of a remodel, Bellwether Design-Build is dedicated to keeping operation costs reasonable.

“Essentially, we’re a small and versatile firm that is capable of doing a lot of projects with very little overhead,” Katie says. “We are happy to be able to provide any service a client might require in order to ensure that he or she is completely thrilled with results and their investment.

This home was the winner of three awards in the Asheville HBA 2009 Parade of Homes: Gold Award for Craftsmanship in Price Category, Innovative Home Award and the Trend Award for the best use of recycled materials.

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