Nov. 13, 2018
Bearing little resemblance to the original model, Bill and Janie Fowler’s home represented one of the most extensive remodels on the 2018 SaddleBrooke Remodeled Home tour, taking eight months to complete. Outside, the home’s elevation was transformed with the addition of a casita and side-entry golf cart garage to the front of the home, along with the squaring-off of the arched entry. Inside, all arched window openings and passageways were also squared off, with new casement window replacements throughout. Walls dividing a formal living and dining space from the kitchen and family room were removed, revealing an open, vaulted great room space spanning the back of the house which now capitalizes on home’s spectacular golf course, lake and panoramic mountain views
Views were paramount on Bill’s must-have list, but, ultimately, it was Janie’s desire for a guest casita that moved them to purchase and renovate the home. While the recently flipped property lacked a casita, it appeared there might be room to build one. The Fowlers consulted with SaddleBrooke Remodeling to see if the home’s lot would accommodate a casita addition. Once this was deemed feasible, the Fowlers knew they’d found their new SaddleBrooke home and Janie set out to put their unique stamp on it.
Going beyond the common remodel of the Topaz floor plan—the removal of the wall defining living and dining spaces to create one great room—the Fowlers opted to also remove the divider wall with arched openings that separated the foyer from the living space. While removing these walls created more openness, it was the removal of upper cabinets and opening of the wall adjoining the kitchen island that lent the space its true open-concept feel. The new design emphasizes the dramatic vaulting of the Topaz floor plan and draws the eye to the views from the now uninterrupted wall of windows; views that are further enhanced by the new single-sash picture windows. A newly plumbed gas fireplace with stacked stone of varied shades of brown, rust and slate was added to one end of the great room to create a warm focal point.
While the home’s kitchen boasted new granite and stainless appliances, Janie, a retired professional caterer, longed for a dream kitchen appointed in her style with greater functionality and storage space. To accomplish this, the kitchen was completely gutted and new Amish-made, custom knotty pine Shaker-style cabinetry with wider, deeper dimensions was added. The design plan of adding a few cabinets with deeper, taller bases resulted in a staggered effect that gives the space more attractive dimension along with increased storage. The Fowlers cleverly repurposed the kitchen’s original cabinetry and granite, using some of the existing material to create a Butler’s Pantry in the hobby/laundry room. They gave the remaining granite to their friends who were working on their own remodel with the same contractor.
With newly plumbed water and gas lines to accommodate, a new gas burner stove and pot-filler faucet were added to a location more convenient to the handsome new porcelain farmhouse sink. The newly opened kitchen was outfitted with striking Italian granite tops featuring veins of copper, blue and slate against a crème background that also tops the remodeled master bath. A longer, wider peninsula provides with a bar-height counter extension in the newly opened space enhances the views from the kitchen and entertainment flow between the kitchen and living area.
Above the peninsula hang two of Janie’s custom creations; a personalized antique recreation of a proprietor’s sign and three staggered pendant lights that she had an artisan craft from antique washing machine plungers on pulleys. The home and its casita reflect an eclectic mix of the New England style of found, repurposed items and a laid back, rustic Pacific Northwest aesthetic, all punctuated by the homeowners’ sense of humor. Tour visitors delighted in the myriad of whimsical lighting fixtures and decor throughout the house. All custom creations, the front entry chandelier is composed of three vintage gramophone horns and the dining nook table chandelier features cascading arms of antique telephone pole insulators forming light shades.
Inspired by the flooring of her Washington home derived from a schoolhouse built in 1892, Janie selected a palette of five different shades of ceramic wood-look plank tiles from two different manufacturers. The tiles were randomly arranged to mimic a natural rustic wood floor. Since the March Home Renovation Tour, the Fowlers had Bill’s office walls clad with the leftover wood from their Washington home. Describing the essence of New England style, Janie said “That’s what they (the settlers) did—used items they had on hand to beautifully create what they needed. That old flooring has a mix of cherry, pine, oak and hemlock woods and you can still see the nail-holes and stains from a century ago.” To compliment the newly paneled office, the Fowlers had the existing light-stained built-ins painted brown and removed one of the built-in cabinets to accommodate wine refrigerators.
The existing garage edge served as boundary for the home’s new golf cart garage and casita extension on the opposite wing of the home. The addition formed a new front entry space that provided privacy and the security to install a handsome new glass-paned front door. Nicknamed “The Tug Room,” the 320 square foot casita is a playful homage to the Fowlers’ former boat, Justatug with a blend of nautical and Americana décor. The casita’s ensuite bath features nautical light sconces and, in case of emergency, Justatug’s life preserver is mounted on the wall.
With the casita now providing bed and bath space for guests, the Fowlers opted to remove the tub/shower enclosure of the main house’s second bathroom, creating a fanciful powder room. The bath’s frosted glass panel doorway properly announces it, tongue-in-cheek, as The Department of Stand-up Affairs and The Office of Sit-Down Operations. No longer needed for guests, the home’s second bedroom is now Janie’s “Loom Room” with plenty of space to accommodate her weaving hobby.
A retired contractor, Bill understood the inevitabilities of renovation, namely unanticipated delays and budget increases. While they faced both, the Fowlers were determined to build to suit their lifestyle and personality, not that of a future buyer. Ultimately, they were so satisfied with the job the contractor and his subs had done with their “forever after” home, that they cohosted a progressive dinner celebration with Dave and EddyLee Scott, (owners of the renovated Fiesta model featured in the SB Notes August issue) inviting all the workers and their families.