Tag Archives: interiors

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.

Alchemy Design Studio

indexImageOn Tuesday I finally had the opportunity to sit down with Traci Kearns of Alchemy Design to get to know her and her team’s work. In Asheville speak, we seemed to share the same art & design vibrational frequency swapping opinions on design clients, new construction in Asheville and the work of artists such as  George Peterson. I’ll be visiting one of her projects next month to see more of her modern design work first hand. In the meantime take time to get to know her by visiting here.

Renovate with Color

Affordable Remodeling that is not Black and White

If you’ve been with me over years of remodeling homes and retail spaces you would have heard me say, during my efforts to be creative and economic, “It’s all about the paint and lighting.” It was over this philosophy that I bonded with Scott Courtenay-Smith last Tuesday night sharing glasses of Spanish red at the Battery Park Book Exchange. Scott is owner and resident artist of  “Renovate with Color.” We all know about Design-Build companies. Scott refers to his company as a Design-Paint company. Get it?

I first heard about Scott on the weekend pages of the Citizen Times. His work was featured in the “Home of the Week” section where he transferred a North Asheville, mid-century ranch into a creative retreat for a couple of IBM Executives who moonlight as potters. How perfectly Asheville! He combined a bold color palette mixed with vintage Asian illustrations from the couple’s travels. Scott’s inspiration ignites directly from the home or business owner using what they have as the nexus to begin the transformative and aesthetic dialogue. The clients were comforted in the way Scott included them throughout his process, so they felt even closer to the final result.

For a business client, understanding their branding is important to Scott and he likes to illustrate their story with his color and graphic choices. Recently, he noticed how the local Benjamin Moore store missed an opportunity by painting the outside of their store a muddy brown. Given the richness and history of the paint company, Scott approached them with his own vision that captured their branding at a billboard scale to grab the attention of the driving audience on busy Merrimon Ave. The result reflects the story of the business itself.

Another component that Scott feels is important to his work is the green aspect. He is able to bypass extensive remodeling and waste while transforming a space completely with paint. Once, he convinced a residential client to keep their kitchen cabinets and let him rework them. They were thrilled with the dramatic change, the expert paint treatment he provided and the money they saved in the process. No cabinets and hardware were harmed in the process and, more importantly, they did not end up in the landfill.

For merely $125, Scott will come to your business or residence for a one-hour consultation. He follows that up with a summary report and a master color palette tailored for your project. Given the nature of today’s economy and home values it sounds like an appropriate alternative for your investment dollars. More with less. I get it.

Article by Troy Winterrowd

Interior Mixology

Blending Down Home with Uptown

I sat down over a cup of coffee with interior designer Leslie Anne Huntley today to spend a few minutes finding out about what motivated her as a designer. She had dreamed of doing interior design for years following a career in education. Her passion nagged at her long enough to finally take the plunge and earn her degree in Interior Design from Western Carolina University. She followed that by working for a company designing high end, contemporary kitchens and baths. Dreaming of far off spaces beyond the kitchen she started her own company, Roost Interior Design, to broaden her creative world and design portfolio.

Leslie’s mantra is to work with what you have mixing the old with the new. She enjoy’s working with the client’s existing lifestyle and possessions by repurposing and enhancing the space in ways that seem completely new, but not foreign to her clients. She says,” my mission at Roost is to help synthesize my clients’ tastes into a harmonious space. It’s not about my personal taste, but helping our clients to discover the ingredients for an environment that brings comfort and happiness to them.”

I was able to get a quick tour of a home that Leslie recently completed, a cozy bungalow in Montford within walking distance to downtown. Showcasing the charming, historic bones of the cottage she opened up, lightened and added a layer of modernist sparkle, polish and shine to bring together a time blended interior that could appeal to a variety of clientele. Overall, I appreciated her eclectic “Metropolitan Home” style aesthetic that professionally balanced warm & comfortable with cool & clean.

Article by Troy Winterrowd, Photos provided by Roost

Ciel’s “Bower House” Details

Interior designer, Talli Roberts, is always up to something interesting.  She’s exclusively working with a builder on their modern addition to the neighborhood.  I sat down with her to see the warm, clean, sophisticated palette and layout she is putting together for the home.  Here are a few details.

Conceptually, Talli and the team are exploring a steel and glass front door similar to what is seen here to bring you into the dramatic space and frame the view beyond.  The stair railing immediately inside the door will be custom created of steel as well.  Oak wood flooring will be throughout the entire house on both levels similar to a mid-century home.

The signature kitchen will be simple, warm and sleek.  Talli is considering using a Walker Zanger backsplash of matte glass bricks.  The counter is out of Ceasarstone in “Raven”.  The cabinets will be in a warm, brown walnut and provide an earthiness to contrast the cool stainless appliances.

The guest bath will also feature walnut cabinets topped with a “Lagos Azul” counter in a honed finish.  The flooring will be made with 24″x24″ tile floor in a natural stone with a matte finish.  The shower will consist of horizontal gray tiles.

I asked Talli what she enjoyed about working on this project.   She talked about two things.  One, community was unique in that there will be different styles of  homes in this luxury mountain community.  She previously worked on the Garden Grove house which is more of a rustic timber frame home.  Second, she enjoys working with such a collaborative team.  The owner, the builder (Cottonwood Development) and the lighting designer have all been involved in the process.  She prefers to work this way and feels like it creates the best results for the project.

Talli originally graduated from the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida.  After graduating she worked as an interior designer and project manager for a large interior design firm in southern Florida.  When she came to Asheville she first worked for an interior design firm and then Four Corners home interiors store.  Missing the construction she decided to venture out on her own and is now busy with multiple projects.  Next she will be getting certified as a LEED Green Associate.  Talli is recently published in WNC Home and Garden Magazine.

Text by Troy Winterrowd


Inspired Home Furnishingsintro-photo

Dwellings is an eclectic home furnishings store in Biltmore Station, along the river’s edge of Biltmore Village.  Owner, Chris McMillan, has been growing and nurturing his business for six years, having spent 20 years employed in the furniture business.  He expresses the style of his shop as “Soft Modern”.

When Dwellings first opened it featured smaller gift products.  After Chris started importing display pieces from India, the shop quickly evolved into a one-of-a-kind furniture showroom displaying upholstered furniture, modern lamps, industrial finds, large-scale graphic art and the original, hand-made display pieces manufactured in India.


It is apparent upon entering Dwellings that Chris has an eye for creating rooms that are both modern and fresh, yet reflect history and warmth.  The space feels more like a home than a retail shop with pieces that Chris has meticulously collected for the past several years.  Whether it is a simple sectional to anchor a living space, a 100 year-old industrial cart for coffee service, art books or your Doc Martin boots, it is a experience of discovery.  So, when you want to add comfort and a timeless quality to your new, modern condominium or a clean modern style to your craftsman home…his selection works. 

Recent Projects: Market Club and Tessier Assocs. Office at Capital Center in downtown Asheville.design1

Offerings and Services:  design services, free-local delivery, friendly customer service, great shopping environment and complete mix of products including custom upholstery.

What make Dwellings unique:  one-of-a-kind pieces – both new and old, custom designed and hand-made furnishings from India.  (text and photos by Troy Winterrowd)

Four Corners Home


Bill and Michael, owners of Four Corners Home, have gathered a smart, earthly collection of furnishings from the four corners of the globe.  Michael likes to describe their pieces as “Warm Modern”.  You’ll notice that their collection truly represents nature. They have found a great home in “planet conscious” Asheville.  In fact, they specialize in earth and people friendly products.  A great percentage of their furnishings focus on sustainable woods such as bamboo and rugs made in India manufactured without child labor using 100% New Zealand wool.

Starting seven years ago as importers of artisan handcrafts and accessories, the partners have gradually expanded their products to include a complete line of interior furnishings, from earth-toned fabrics, sparkling ocean glass, and an assortment of metals and wood grains.  Whether you are furnishing your downtown urban loft or cozy cabin in the woods Four Corners’ collection feels right at home in Asheville. 

Four Corners has two locations. One 3500sq/ft store in the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, the other 5500 sq/ft location with their complete collection is behind Biltmore Station on the edge of the Biltmore Village where they recently opened a new section at called “The Loft”.  Here they are staging smaller scale furnishings to show buyers how to furnish smaller and more sustainable rooms. four-corners-loft-ensemble1


Recent Projects: Southern Living Show House with designer Tracy Kearns, The Ramble’s Hand-made House with designer Susan Neilson

Up-Coming Projects:  an eco-remodel photo shoot for WNC Magazine – by staff designer Talli Allen-Roberts, Sales Center inside the Grove Arcade for Residences at 151.

Offerings and Services:  design services, free-local delivery, friendly customer service, great shopping environment and complete mix of furnishings for all rooms of the home and office.

What makes Four Corners Home unique:  a large selection of sustainable furnishings, two convenient locations, ASID Interior Designer on staff, special services for industry trade, web-based sales.

(text and photos by Troy Winterrowd)