Category Archives: Ranch

MAKE YOUR MODERN | Grandma’s Ranch Gets Its Groove Back

As you already know, Kelly and I are big fans of ranch homes. They are one of our specialties. Why? They offer one-level living, simple lines, ease of remodeling and are often in relaxed and established neighborhoods closer to town. Many people quickly look past them, but we see blank boxes for creating cool pads. As most of our clients are looking for that rare modern in Asheville we see it as an untapped resource. Between Kelly, myself and our team of designers and builders – we have helped find unique ways in achieving this. And let’s not forget our visionary and adventurous clients as well!IMG_2980In this case, Dave and Suzanne Donovan, were looking to leave their new, modern home in town and for wide open spaces to roam with their dogs, horses and motorcycles. We found them a 2400 sqft, 1967 vintage ranch overlooking the rolling hills of Fairview with nothing, but open skies, peace and quiet. This “Grandma Ranch”, as Kelly affectionately calls them, was suffocating from decades of traditionalization. However, with our mod-vision glasses, the four of us gazed beyond the crown moldings, printed wall paper and chopped up spaces.

Living CompAs with most ranches this one had divided living spaces. The first priority was to open it up for a flowing entertainment space with views out both sides of the home. Along with the layout, David Way brought his vision to the brick fireplace and clad it to match the kitchen and dining area cabinets to make the spaces sleek and seamless. Kitchen CompOnce the entry, living room, kitchen and dining area became one it was time to pull down the jello molds from the kitchen walls along with the 90’s Home Depot cabinets. Again, our designer/builder, David Way, was able to design and fabricate a custom kitchen that brought simple lines, elegance and efficiency to the space. Suzanne and Dave’s eye for details brought the modern bling with choices in tile, light fixtures and furnishings. Overall, a cool collaboration between designer and owner. Master Bath CompWith few exceptions most 60’s ranches have a tight master bath by today’s standards. Even with the current trend of downsizing from the extensive master baths of the past 20’s years, one still has to remove walls and closets to fit in a minimal spa style bath. Here the old tub was removed to allow for a sensuous shower for two. Sexy! Front CompThe exterior was stripped down, given a Silkwood shower and completely redressed. Dated roof shingles were covered with standing seam metal, shutters were removed and both brick and trim were given tone on tone paint to streamline the facade more seamlessly. A new front door was purchased to give it that cool, retro pop that was lacking in the quiet ranch.

In the end I know Dave and Suzanne could not be happier having adopted and saved this stray rancher. From all reports they may actually stay and not move again. {Bummer!} Kelly, myself and David Way enjoyed playing with them on this project and helping them stitch together a modern nest in the fields of Fairview. Cheers to the team!

Want to see more? Watch this little slide show and pick up a few more details.

For more of our articles on remaking ranch homes here in Asheville click here.

Need help with making your own modern in the mountains? You have a phone — call us! 818.771.2350.

Roost Rancher

Roose - Caribou FrontKelly and I were showing a real estate client some mid-century homes in south Asheville yesterday and stopped by to take a quick peek at Roost’s most recently completed project. This modern home reinterprets the ranch home for today.

Ranch Renovation in Fairview

Kelly and I stopped by to see the progress on one of our clients newly purchased 2400 sqft ranch home. Having quickly sold their new modern house in North Asheville for them we were able to find a fixer upper ranch home built in 1967. The home is located in the pastoral setting of the Fairview IMG_2970horse farms where our clients can enjoy horseback and motorcycle riding. The house needed complete updating so we brought in some of our designer and contractor resources to discuss the possibilities and costs with them  before completing the purchase.


On the exterior the roof is being replaced with standing seem metal with matching gutters. The shutters will be removed, new windows put in and the brick will be painted a gray to give the home a streamlined modern look. Landscaping will be minimal so the house will appear to float above the pastures and leave the views uninhibited.


On the interior the main living spaces are being opened up to make one flowing entertaining space. This will open up the views to both sides of the house and expose the mid-century style fireplace to the kitchen and dining. New oak wood floors are being put down throughout the house. The master bedroom is being reconfigured to add in a larger bath and built in closets.

Stay tuned as Kelly and I continue to check in on the progress of this home and another recent ranch home purchase and renovation.

A New Modern Ranch

IMG_2867You all know I love a ranch house, but my affection just went to a deeper level. I’m ready to make a committment if NC state will allow it. David and his client are creating an updated version for today. Yesterday, I stopped by for a quick visit.

The home is being built on what was an empty lot in an existing neighborhood of fifties ranch homes. As both a designer and builder he was careful to maintain the scale and elements of neighboring homes. Context influenced him to included the garage, picture window and front porch. Get the idea? Caribou Comp 02The house will be approximately 2000 sqft and include four bedrooms. The back of the home has a recessed patio with a wall of doors that will open completely to dissolve the barrier between interior and exterior. His client hired a friend to fabricate the custom metal door.

Unfortunately, given the mud and my designer tennis shoes I did not get inside. However, I’ll be back and better equipped the next time — so stay tuned.




Brickstack + Bellwhether = Asheville-styled Modern Ranch

DSC_0018Recently, I was able to connect with Scott Huebner of Brickstack A + D . Scott was brought in by Bellwether Builders to pull together the design vision for this ranch home expansion in the Grove Park Inn neighborhood of North Asheville. During the time of construction it was right around the corner from me so I was able to watch the progression and get occasional tours from Brad Rice of Bellwhether builders.

Elevation Before and After New

The progressive owner’s looked to Scott to guide the home back to its more modern roots. Through discovery it was found the house had been remodeled at least twice, disguising some of the more modern and horizontal lines remaining only in the fireplace and large picture windows on back of the house. In the process the home gained 2500 sqft of indoor and outdoor living space + garage to accomodate the client’s growing family. The other criteria was that it be “fun” for their children. Overall, Scott thought the collaborative process between client and designer was synchronistic allowing for a cohesive team vision and construction.

Evelyng Before and After Plan

From my perspective the design is a thoughtful balance between the original mid-century atomic ranch and today’s northwest modernism making use of earthy lines and materials. It seems to me a very Asheville appropriate ranch aesthetic and, overall, a successful investment given the neighborhood and view location. Great job to all involved.

Details comp

Yes – I’ll say it again. We have well established, ranch neighborhoods here in  great locations. They are worthy of exploration for creating a modern lifestyle in Asheville. Take along a designer and work it out like Scott did.

SOLD: 11 Beaverbrook Rd.

First BeaverbrookSale Price: $617,500

Size: 3115 SQFT

Features: 4 Beds + 3.5 Baths + View

Beaverbrook is a wonderful and wandering, hillside street on top of Lakeview Park. Developed in the 50’s and 60’s, there are significant ranch homes, a few seriously atomic, that offer simple living in a great location provided you have the right vision. Mike Barton saw that in expertly recreating this home for himself. From a 50’s ranch he carved out a clean and light filled home with great volume and comfortable flow. From my experience, it is a house that steps back, opens up and let’s you live your life the way you want to. It is not just sophisticated in its styling, but in the mindful editing to do more with less. Just the way I like it.


A few details I liked most: The cool front door. The sleek kitchen cabinetry with quartz countertops. Large floor to ceiling pocket doors to every room. Room expanding private patios off bedrooms for California style living.  A well lit master closet where you can both view everything at your fingertips and can host a dance party.

11 Beaverbrook Comp

Listing agent, Clary McCall, describes it – “Totally remodeled contemporary home in desirable Lakeview Park. This 4/3.5 has a huge master bedroom suite and closet. Tons of updates to include all new Bosch chef’s kitchen with quartz countertops, luxury baths, designer paints, hardwoods, porcelain tiles, etc. Other updates include total electrical, plumbing, roof, gutters, HVAC and more. Gas fireplace in living room. Great downstairs inlaw suite or office. Nice downtown views.”

For a more complete visual tour click here.

I couldn’t end without reminding you that simple and modern style living in Asheville can be accomplished by starting with one of our many ranch homes. There is an abundance in wonderful neighborhoods such as Lakeview Park waiting to fulfill their more modernist destiny with thoughtful design guidance. Take a drive and see for yourself or allow me to arrange a tour.

MAKE YOUR MODERN | Extreme Ranch Makeover

As I previously mentioned this summer, Bill and Michael’s new home was published in the Summer Edition of Western North Carolina Home and Garden magazine. They’ve been sharing photos of their home construction with me over the year. An Asheville styled contemporary grew out of a mountain side ranch home by stacking a soaring living space on top with a new street level entry. (How many times have you heard me tell you and my modern seeking clients there is a lot of potential in our ranch homes here?) Bill and Michael took this idea to new heights – literally. Take a look at the finished construction for yourself courtesy of Western North Carolina Home and Garden magazine.

Retro Renovation

I was online today in search of some retro style countertops for my distinctly mid-century kitchen. I came across this fun and informative site. Enjoy! RetroRenovation

Midland Drive Mid-Century

Yesterday, I took a moment, along with Kelly, to tour a favorite mid-century home in Lakeview Park during a broker hosted open house. As I have written about this sophisticated home previously, I wanted to simply offer a few quick snaps for you. The home provides a great, open backdrop for the owner’s art collection. Enjoy!

MAKE YOUR MODERN | Grove Park Ranch

Grandma’s House Gets Modern Updates 

David Way of Roost, LLC gave me a call today while he was putting the finishing touches on a very traditional ranch house not far from the Grove Park Inn. As I have only spoken to David about the new homes he builds, I don’t think he was aware of my passion for ranch homes and their livability. He soon found out as I was on site in ten minutes. After all, he was in my hood.

I caught David outside scanning his Mac on top of some discarded cabinets along the drive.  As is typical of many ranches in our mountain town, the garage is on the lower level. This means the homeowner is often greeted by an unfinished basement when they arrive home navigating ceilings of dangling fiberglass insulation through a sea of gray concrete. David easily carved out a new downstairs entry that was well lit with new recessed lighting and had a surprisingly nice looking ceramic tile on the floor that he found at Home Depot for $2 per tile. Deal! In the process he framed out a new office and laundry for the owners adding extra square footage and useful rooms with better access.

The stairway was now well lit and open, drawing you upward into a new living space created from deconstructing a narrow corridor of doors, a typical ranch house issue. The house, having given up a few walls, offered a flowing lifestyle from kitchen to hall to living to outdoors. You could hear a collective sigh of relief from the owners who can now breathe in the openness of their relaxing new space bouncing with good chi. Cabinets, flooring, fireplace and lighting were all new of course, sporting a blend of contemporary styling. Sweet.

Though ranch homes are very predictable in their challenges, they offer compact one level living that is so desirable by my clients today. Asheville has a variety of wonderful established neighborhoods that offer walkability and close proximity to amenities. Thanks, David, for giving us a peak!

For more information on ranch home remodeling in the area search my blog or call me for some insight on good areas for buying and design resources for remodeling.

Article and Photos by Troy Winterrowd

MAKE YOUR MODERN | Bringing a Bert King Contemporary into 2011

I recently toured 10 Crowningway in one of my favorite Asheville neighborhoods, Sunset Summit, just off Town Mountain Rd. The current owners, Bradley and Peggy Holmes, purchased the 1964 built, Bert King home in 2006. Having lived in it for a few years they were slowly exploring renovating the home when a pipe burst causing extensive damage and forcing them to seek repairs. This presented the opportunity to expand and bring the house into the future at the same time.

As I pulled into the drive of the home I did not recognize it from the photos as I had found from its 2006 MLS listing. It was similar, but not the same house. I pulled out again to check the address. This was it. The confusion stemmed from the house looking so originally 60’s that I thought I was at the wrong house in the same neighborhood of mid-century homes. The house had seamlessly been altered within its original aesthetic. The owners had been careful to match the original wood siding and other appropriate details.  Cool!

Mid-Century Make0vers – Allow me to pause and make a point here. You will often see around the country and in Asheville mid-century and ranch homes that get a traditional makeover by their owners and become a mix of conflicting styles. In Asheville you will witness many being “dragged out” in craftsman style garb such as windows, doors and siding. The end result is conflicting and uncomfortable and often times challenging to sell. I find that maintaining the homes true nature is the best way to go long term. Let’s look at people as an analogy. We have all watched those make over shows where they find people who are 40-something trying to wear clothes of a 20 year old, a man trying to hide his balding head with a come-over or a woman trying to shove her breasts into a shirt that is way too small. Without fail the fashion expert will make them over wearing clothes that fit their true proportions and nature, age appropriate and working with their natural bones. In the end they look more fashionable, approachable and walk with more integrity by doing less. The same is true of a house. You don’t have to be a designer to know that it just feels right. Keep it simple and work with what you have.

In continuing with my tour I found that the entry space was the most visible, but subtle departure from the original styling. The contemporary slat wall was crafted by a local artist, Craig Wies, using slats of rich Walnut. The choice was a personal statement and reflection of Brad’s upbringing in Pennsylvania and memories of building family homes using walnut off the land. To avoid isolating this feature they tied the wood into the entry flooring and the cap to the kitchen cabinetry.Originally, the home had no internal stairs to the basement. In removing the flooded and damaged laundry from this area and expanding it in the front they created an expansive entry and circulation area. As I toured the bedroom wings there was mention of the house having been expanded in one area to allow for a closet and other closets and doors being rearranged. If they hadn’t told me I would have thought it was all original. Again, it was seamless in its updating. This played out further in the den. Despite closing off an entry to the living space and rearranging a closet they were able to salvage all the paneling and place it back. The warm wood maintained the integrity of what was appropriate to the period and lifestyle keeping the contemporary and cozy feeling of the room while adding a needed third bedroom to the home.Overall, the house was clean, open and comfortable like most of the Bert King homes I have been in. I can’t say much more than they just feel right. Peggy states, “Some architects bring the outside in, but she feels that Bert King’s designs really bring the inside out.”  They definitely balance function and flow and make for a quality livable home for generations. Just ask the Holmes who plan to live a quality life in their own for many years. I commend them for their sensitve updating to this Bert King classic contemporary home and hope they inspire others to do the same.

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.