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Natural Inspirations

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

Defined by authenticity and permanence, there is an elemental attraction to mature neighborhoods. One such place captured the hearts of a couple immediately drawn to the mix of diverse, well-tailored houses and the friendly, welcoming environment.       
    “We loved the neighborhood. It had so many old,
large trees. It felt very welcoming,” says the home-owner. Magnificent evergreen and deciduous trees surround their suburban lot providing natural privacy from neighboring houses. Knowing they had to raze the outdated home that existed when they purchased the property, the homeowners’ keen senses of place and desire to maintain continuity inspired the earthy sensibilities of the new home. “We absolutely didn’t want to change the land. But rather, have a home fit with the natural elements,” she adds. 
    Jim Fahy, architect of Jim Fahy Designs, understood perfectly.  “A new home in an established neighborhood must respect that environment. The building must be in scale.”  The homeowners were open to different styles but decided on an eclectic craftsman with deep, woodsy browns for the exterior using stone, shake siding, and metal roof dormers. Covered and traditional porches off the master bedroom, the kitchen, and the roadside front provide ample outdoor living space.
    The interior is large enough to accommodate eye-catching architectural details like a coffered ceiling but small enough for a cozy, warm, familial atmosphere. Covered nine-foot ceilings keep the house in scale with its surroundings. Elemental materials such as wood, tile and an earth tone color palette establish connections to nature and create homey comfort.
    The kitchen, designed by Lorin Frye of Willow Grove Design, Inc., anchors a hearth and dining area. The granite island countertop has lots of unexpected, colorful veining but is contained with steel gray granite around the perimeter. Backsplash tiles are a rust color with greens and grays. Tiny squares of glass intermingled into the backsplash catch the light creating a subtle shimmer and liveliness; a perfect accent to the home’s abundant natural lighting.
    That same effect is repeated in other parts of the home. Shower tiles are brown with bits of glass giving the same nuanced, dynamic glimmer. Craftsman style tile for the fireplace surrounds make a handsome, timeless statement in the kitchen hearth, living room, and master bedroom.
    Continuity is the home’s keystone theme both spatially and temporally. Trees and land are visible from most points of the home. The homeowners have discovered how prominent a role the trees play in their home. “We don’t have many interior decorative items. That’s intentional because we want to grow into the home. Because of this the trees stand out so much more. They are always changing and we’re treated to their magnificence. My father was an environmentalist and I feel the presence of him when I see these beautiful trees.” 


Design Resources
Danrich Homes   
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery   
James Fahy Design   
Willow Grove Design, Inc.

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