Monday, November 15, 2010

Custom Design ~ The Icing On The Cake

Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination to see beyond the blueprints of a custom design project.  I love the process of working from the design phase to watching a project unfold before my eyes.  It’s like baking a cake from scratch.  You have to start somewhere . . . akin to leafing through the pages of a cookbook to find a tried and true recipe.  There are always some instructions to keep the cake from falling, keep it from crumbling, and to keep it delectable.  Sometimes; however, you just like tweaking the ingredients so that it’s a little different from all of the cakes which have been previously made.  Something to call your very own!


Custom building and remodeling can be a bit like baking from scratch.  There are always some of the necessary elements, for a successful outcome, and a bit of patience is needed before the icing can be put on top.  The cake has to be baked, cooled, and prepped.  And - as is always the case, sitting in front of the oven doesn’t make it cook any faster.  We all know what happens when one opens the oven door too soon!

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This photo was taken in the early summer.  It’s a vacation home project I’m working on in Blowing Rock, NC.  At this stage of building, the possibilities abound!

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We were able to pick out stone selections from a local quarry.  The stone mason was so kind as to set up an example of some options, in both the stone type and the design.

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This was another option.  My client prefers straighter edges.  Even though this is a mountain home, since she has a more modern leaning, these felt a little too rustic for her.

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From the road, the house appears to be a story-and-a-half cottage.  It actually consists of four levels.  Two are below grade.  (Did I tell you it’s on the side of the mountain?)


Now you have a better idea of the height of the house.

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It’s a long way down!  The trees hide the drop from the edge.  I could only go so far before my toes began to tingle.  (A phenomenon which happens to me when I feel I’m a wee bit high off of the ground!)  By the way, in speaking of scary heights, the builder had us out on a stone-hunting escapade, where he wanted us to see some work he had done on another home.  The road was all gravel and when we turned around to come back up the slope, the back tires spun out and we could have met our demise down the side of the ledge.  We were finally able the to figure out how to make it out of there.  (Too long of a story to tell.)  After that narrow escape, we could hardly speak . . . for a few minutes.  We finally broke into hysterical laughter after we realized we were going to live to tell about it.  It was a bonding moment.  Near death experiences will do that to you!


Of course, during the process of construction, we did go ahead and source the permanent selections.  Since these were “attached” to the house, we needed to stay a step ahead of her builder in order to keep things on schedule.  The tile installer was working away on the master bath, at the time of this photo. 

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We loved the deep charcoal tones and knew this would be a winner with her preference for a gray palette.

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The floor is looking great!  (Please forgive the spots.  Photography during construction catches dust particles, too!)

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The shower is coming along nicely! 

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Now back to the exterior view.  It’s such a shame to have to put up doors and railing.  (Well, except for the "it’s a long way down, thing”.)

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What a difference!  My client is beginning to get a clearer picture of the project’s progress.

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The glass panel inserts allow for the vistas to be enjoyed, year-round.

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And even though there is still a lot of work to be done, I would say she already has her icing on the cake!

All my best! ~ Wanda

interior Click on the image for a divine recipe!

PS - Contest Alert!  I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of Vicente Wolf’s “Lifting the Curtain On Design”!  All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on any two of my posts, beginning with the 2010 High Point Furniture Finds – Post 1, and by November 30, 2010.


I’ll announce the winner the first week of December 2010.  I hope you’ll enjoy a festive month!


anishka, allied member ASID said...

excellent progress Wanda!

Wanda S. Horton - Interior Designer said...

Thank you, Anishka. It always means so much when a fellow designer appreciates the process. XO! Wanda

averydesigninteriors said...

Wow, so much fun to see the progress on your project.
I am now inspired to post some of my 'during' photos of the fireplace project. It's great for clients to get a sense of the process rather than only seeing the finished product.
Thanks for sharing this with us Wanda.

Storibook Designs said...

That house & that view are sure to be amazing. You're better than I though Wanda. I am not comfortable with heights at all. I probably wouldn't even be able to go out on that deck with the railing and glass panels. The rest of the family would be sitting there and I'd be on the threshold just inside...ha, ha. Thanks for sharing such a great project and your humor too!