Category Archives: Builders

Modern Monday

IMG_4821Under Construction | Here is a quick peek at what David Way of Roost, Inc is currently working on. This 1900 sqft home anchored to the hillside of Chicken Hill is getting closer to completion. The interior spaces have high ceiling heights to add more light and vertical space to the efficient floor plan. Both the upper levels will have expansive viewing decks to increase the three season, livable space. The two rectilinear masses defining separate living spaces will be clad in complimentary materials. The lower mass is currently being wrapped in rough-sawn boards. Overall, a cool addition to our urban infill. Cheers!Roost jefferson

Modern Detour | NYC

IMG_1898Hi Folks. My apologies for the absence of content for the past few days, but I was fortunate to have Jim Bixby of 828 Design escort me on a quick and creative design inspired weekend in Manhattan. For 51 years I’ve been wanting to visit the Guggenheim and I was finally able to realize that dream to experience this exhibition building. They are currently hosting a show called “Storylines” which was right up my alley. From their collection they pulled 137813_35d1eb1d16e9d468_bnarrative driven, contemporary art telling a variety of stories by the artists. The Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design featured a great exhibit and tour on Heatherwick Studios, a London-based design firm, call Provocations. The inspiring examples showed what can be accomplished leaving behind standard thinking in building and construction. Finally, we visited the new Whitney Museum of American Art designed by Renzo Piano situated between the end of the High lederman-o05a9997-web_2340Line and the Hudson River and just down from our hotel. Very stunning experience given its relationship to context and a very NY collection of art. A provocative combination and worth a relaxing stroll.

Thanks again to Jim for providing the tour and thanks to Kelly and Matt, here at Modern Asheville Real Estate, for supporting me in taking this inspiring opportunity and continuing to grow our business. Cheers to all!

Parade of Homes | Peregrine 05 by Roost

21 St Charles Pl Asheville NC-small-001-Front-666x445-72dpiPeregrine 05, as David Way of Roost refers to it, is the latest in a developing series of Roost homes that evolved over the past decade. Having seen Peregrine 04 at the Parade of Homes a couple of years back, David’s clients sought him out to design a version on their lot in the Lakeview Park neighborhood. What evolved was an expanded and highly customized 2000sqft version adding in an equal amount of outdoor living space.Peregrine Comp

The Peregrine line of homes originated from the need to cleverly pack a lot of home in an efficient, one-level living space. Peregrine 01 in Montford was a 3 bedroom and 2 bath home constructed in 1400 sqft of indoor living space. Two outdoor living spaces were carved out of both ends of what is basically a box. Typically, the outdoor spaces are sheltered by a strong horizontal canopy.

21 St Charles Pl Asheville NC-small-005-Front-666x443-72dpiToday’s Peregrine 05 is approximately 2000 sqft with a luxurious owner’s suite on one end and extended canopies to shelter the outdoor living spaces. As with all Peregrine homes they are built with quality from core to finish. The framework begins with 2×6 construction, and engineered floor joists and subflooring. Walls are further tightened packed with formaldehyde free insulation.21 St Charles Pl Asheville NC-small-027-Kitchen-666x443-72dpi

For finish details Roost’s own cabinetry shop provided all the cabinetry throughout the home including Roost’s exclusive closet system. The home features extensive hidden storage in both the living space and owner’s suite. They even crafted the built-in master bed with hidden storage. Many of the cabinets are finished off with their own line of cabinet pulls.21 St Charles Pl Asheville NC-small-032-Closet-666x443-72dpi

Curious to see more? You can view the online tour or, better yet, come get the skinny on this cool home during the upcoming Asheville Home Builder’s Association’s Parade of Homes. You’ll be able to see all the finished details no shown here. David and the owner, Joy, will be there to answer any questions. Kelly and I will be there to assist them. You can stop by on either Oct. 11, 12, 18 or 19 from Noon until 5pm. To find out more on the complete tour click here. We all hope to see you there. Cheers!

More For Less

An Interview with Builder – David Way

At last I was able to spend some time with David Way, a local builder who has found a way to create efficient and smart homes here in Asheville.  Over the years I have toured his homes in Montford and East Asheville and have remarked on how functional and fun they are.  Building upon challenging infill lots he constructs something lightlivable and inspiring.

He has recently completed this modern spec home for owner Chris Barlas (right).  Chris owned a flag lot near UNC and wanted to build a rental house there.  I asked Chris why he picked David to build his home.  Chris says, “I have been watching homes for two years and every time I saw a house I liked it had been built by David Way.”  David and Chris both enjoyed working together and admitted the process was entirely smooth.  David likes to keep the process organic so things can change as they come up allowing for owner input.

David has been tinkering with home design since high school.  It was his preferred subject for doodling.  He was constantly reviewing architecture magazines and was fortunate to work for an architect during high school.  Following he earned a 2 year degree in construction before working for a developer for a few years.  There he learned a lot about construction efficiencies.  He now works on his own and has two other guys that work with him.  They have a workshop where they like to do all the millwork and specialty finishes for his projects.


Some of the signature traits of David’s homes are 2 x 6 framework, 9 foot ceilings, double insulated windows, tankless water heaters and tavern grade wood floors.  His goal is to build long lasting, durable and efficient homes for his clients.  Even though David’s talent clearly shows through his aesthetic his favorite compliment is how little his clients need to adjust the thermostat.

Virant Design: Remodeling their Modern Home

Entry ExteriorI recently met Tom and Yumiko Virant at their home 496 Sunset Drive.  It is a house I have admired for two years on my daily hikes through North Asheville.  It is a 2100 sq/ft modern home with 800 sq/ft of decking.  It was originally built in 1961.  Tom and Yumiko both have degrees in architecture and work together as their own design/build team, Virant Design.  Yumiko is a licensed architect while Tom is a general contractor.  They have many interesting stories to tell about other projects they have worked on, but for the sake of this post I will let Tom tell you about the home they currently live in.

Fall exterior

Tom says, “My wife and I bought the house in the fall of 2003. At the time I was working for a design/build company as a job-site superintendent overseeing high end residential construction, and my wife was working in an architecture firm in Asheville. At first we thought we could do some minor renovation, move in, and continue to work on the renovation over time. As soon as we started digging into the project (literally) it became apparent that the best thing for the house would be a full gut renovation. The original house had some great design features that we liked, and had a great site, so we decided it would be worth it in the long run.”

Interior Remodeling“At that point it was clear that it was going to be more than working on the weekends, so I quit my job and started working on the renovation full time (I am a licensed contractor as well). The design process was the first step, since we had a feeling that we were going to completely gut the interior, we redesigned the layout and detailing of the house to make more sense in the 21st century. Larger master suite with walk-in closet, larger kitchen, etc. The house had been slightly under built originally (by today’s standards) and had not been well maintained for the last few years, so demolition was the next step. 

Roof FramingWe tore off the old roof (and roof framing), completely gutted the entire interior (all walls, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment) and tore off the exterior decks. All that was left of the original house is the foundation, lower level slab, upper floor framing, about 3/4 of the exterior wall framing, and the windows (which the previous owner had just installed before the sale, which was a big reason why we purchased the house. Pella architectural series, all custom sized.)”.Floor Construction

“After the demo, we went about rebuilding everything, upgrading everything as we went. Generally most of the work was done by myself with a couple employees, and a couple main subcontractors (electrical, plumbing, a/c and heating system, drywall, roofing, grading, etc.) All of the carpentry, woodwork, trim, copper work, hardwood floors, retaining walls were all done by me.”

Sunset Comp

Here is a detailed list of the complete renovation:

•    All new interior framing, drywall, paint, trim etc.

•    All new electrical, everything brand new from the pole on the street to the last switch…

•    Complete low voltage wiring and panel.

•    All new mechanical systems – 6 zone radiant floor heating

•    New propane high efficiency boiler, supplies both heat and hot water

•    Efficient “Mini-duct” Air conditioning system

•    All new interior finishes, oak kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, stained wood doors, Emtek brass hardware, custom base cabinet in master bath w/ marble top.

•    All plumbing fixtures are Grohe, Toto toilets, and a Duravit sink in powder bath (double shower in master, plus custom “Japanese” (deep) soaking tub)Tub

•    Full marble tile in master bath, decorative tile in powder bath.

•    13″ tall clerestory glass all the way around the house, lets in great amounts of daylight!

•    Relined fireplace on upper level and rebuilt as “bellfires” unit, similar to a “Rumford” style

•    Relined old boiler flue and installed Rais-Wittus “Mino” wood stove in lower level.

•    Ash hardwood floors throughout entire house (tile in bathrooms, and slate in entry foyer)

•    Built in cabinets in lower level “family room”

•    All closets have built-in closet systems

•    Laundry chute from master closet to laundry room

•    New roof framing, including exposed glulam beams and commercial reinforced PVC roofing membrane (typical product on large commercial buildings, walmart etc…)

•    Icynene spray in foam insulation.

•    All new exterior decks, cypress decking, concealed fasteners, copper and Cambara handrail

•    Added balcony off master bedroom with outside shower

•    Exterior copper coping on roof and exposed beams

•    New cypress siding and cedar trim

•    Two large retaining walls to create flat lawn area and enlarged driveway

•    Extensive perennial landscaping.

Rear Side

A Modern Practice in Building

introDesigner Katie Rice is part of the Bellwether Builders’ team and has been dreaming of her current business and lifestyle for fifteen years now.  Katie has a degree in Building Science and is focused on creating healthy buildings.  Whether it is creating energy efficient envelopes for lower energy costs or efficient layouts for ease of use she enjoys creating buildings that give life and freedom to their inhabitants.  Katie provides the creative and design direction for their work. 

Katie’s husband, Brad Rice, is the general contractor with an “unlimited” license.  Before spending a few years working with a master trim carpenter in Portland, Oregon, Brad had extensive experience as a framer.  For the past eight years he has been building custom homes in the Asheville area along with spec homes while the economy allowed it.  Together, Brad and Katie are a full service design and build team along with Jeannie Kuhlman, Director of Operations.

kitchen1One of the benefits of being a design build company is that they know what things cost during the design phase.  From early on Katie likes to sit with the client and discuss their wants and needs along with completing a costing sheet.  She helps clients understand right away the dollar outcome of their decisions and offers guidance on how to meet their budget goals.  “We work so there are no surprises down the road for the clients and help give them control over the budget,” says Katie.  Taking that even further, they are offering an established monthly fee for their service and letting the homeowner pay all the construction invoices directly with no mark up.  It is a novel approach, but clients seem to like it.  In today’s environment you have to be both resourceful, creative and give something up to move forward with projects.  However, what you are gaining is the client’s trust.   They are working with you through all steps of the process. front











Katie and Brad’s work reflects in their Montford neighborhood home.  Their home provides a creative backdrop to their lifestyle and work.  The outside has two entrances for separating the office and home.  The space is defined by very functional and distinct spaces for working and living, but is open to adapt to different needs for work and play.  Their work office is separate, but open to allow for interaction with their kids.  The living space has distinct areas for cooking or an intimate conversation, but it can all be cleared away to serve as a meeting or small community space.  final-photoOverall, their home is a reflection of their creativity and ingenuity, their understanding of space in relationship to today’s lifestyle needs and building quality.  What they have achieved for themselves is what they hope to achieve for their clients; a way to afford a smart home of any style that works by stepping back and giving the occupants long-term flexibility and freedom.  This is one of the important principles in modern space design. 

You can find out more about Bellwether Builders and their flexible approaches to projects by going to their website through the link on the right of this page.  

(text by Troy Winterrowd, photos by John Fletcher)

Ranch Home Appreciation 101

img_13581I happen to be a fan of ranch houses.  Perhaps it is a nostalgic sense of home for me, having been raised in ranch houses all my life since the 1960’s.  As an adult I appreciate their simplicity and potential for easy living.  Feeling alone in this town of Craftsman lovers I finally found my support group by the name of Bellwether Builders.  I recently showcased one of their homes currently for sale in the historic Montford neighborhood.   I was curious to get to know it better and understand the vision behind this masterful makeover at 50 Rosewood.

katie-rice2Katie Rice, one half of the design team for Bellwether, states “We are excited to redefine the ranch.  Their time has come.  When we see a ranch, we see amazing potential and opportunity. Exploring the possibilities of remodeling ranch homes is like having a stretched canvas ready to go. All you have to do is create the art.”  I wholeheartedly agree with her. 

At 50 Rosewood they cleverly created a new home from the bones of the existing ranch.  Starting with raising the roof and letting in the light to define a new great room they updated the space to reflect today’s lifestyle. file1-3651 They opened up the first bedroom to become a flexible living space that could be a home office, media room or guest room.  All the details were thoughtfully chosen from the bath fixtures to the exterior barnroofing on the front.  It is creative, fun, casual and comfortable.  I recommend to those of you who are wondering what to do with your own rancher, take a look at this quality remodel.  I recently showed it to one of my clients.  Her father was a Beverly Hills architect so she has seen many completed and remodeled homes.  She thought this one was very clever and appreciated the attention to details.  To see more finished details see the previous post on 50 Rosewood.entry-beforeimg_5086














Here is some general information on the ranch home for further exploration.  There are many new websites and magazines that showcase the ranch.  

Ranch-style houses (also American ranch, California ranch, rambler or rancher) is a uniquely American domestic architectural style. First built in the 1920s, the ranch style was extremely popular in the United States during the 1940s to 1970s, as new suburbs were built for the Greatest Generation and later the Silent Generation.

The style is often associated with tract housing built during this period, particularly in the western United States, which experienced a population explosion during this period with a corresponding demand for housing.

The ranch house is noted for its long, close-to-the-ground profile, and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style. Their popularity waned in the late 20th century as neo-eclectic house styles, a return to using historical and traditional decoration, became popular. However, in recent years the ranch house has been undergoing a revitalization of interest.

Preservationist movements have begun in some ranch house neighborhoods as well as renewed interest in the style from a younger generation who did not grow up in ranch-style houses. This renewed interest in the ranch house style has been compared to that which other house styles such as the Bungalow and Queen Anne experienced in the 20th century, initial dominance of the market, replacement as the desired housing style, decay and disinterest coupled with many of teardowns, then renewed interest and gentrification of the surviving homes.[1]