Published: May 30, 2012 01:49 PM
Modified: May 30, 2012 01:49 PM
Writers retreat home ready for new chapter
Paul Greens Chatham County home is remodeled for contemporary lifestyles
The Chatham County summer retreat for North Carolina writer Paul Green was remodeled more than 10 years ago for use as a bed and breakfast and event center called Windy Oaks. Over the past year, it was totally renovated again to serve as an executive family home where lavish parties and corporate events could still be held. The main house now boasts 4,884 square feet of heated living space that is airy and light, yet still in keeping with its southern setting. A rocking-chair front porch, private deck and large back patio overlooking sweeping grounds on this 25-acre property is an amazing find considering it is just five miles from the University of North Carolinas main Chapel Hill campus.According to his daughters biography, (www.ibiblio.org/paulgreen) Green spent many hours writing in a log cabin behind the main house. The log cabin at the summer retreat was remodeled 10 years ago to include two bathrooms and a sleeping loft above the cabins main living room. The house and cabin are connected to a large septic system that will accommodate events for 200 people, according to Allen Tate listing agent Jackie Tanner.The main house, which has retained the character of a 1920s rambling farmhouse, now has five bedrooms, 3.5 baths and an oversized two-car garage connected to the main house by an enclosed sunroom that also opens to a private deck.Ryan Edwards of Ecologic-Studio (919-933-1205) has been designing homes since 1998. Curt Hendrickson, owner of Magnum Fine Home Builders, has been building homes for more than 15 years. Together they find creative solutions to the challenges of remodeling older homes.Edwards background is in architecture and design, and Hendricksons is construction. We work as a team in a design-build approach, Edwards said. This is what allows us to do something in a week that would normally take three months. Curt is very creative and out-of-the-box when it comes to finding solutions when remodeling older homes. This is key to making this type of project possible.They were brought into the Windy Oaks project in late June of 2011 to add a master bath, after the current owners had totally remodeled the farmhouse kitchen to include a soaring ceiling, traditional white cabinetry and marble countertops. Edwards walked through the property, talked with the owners and went to work designing an open space plan for todays lifestyle. The main floor of the house had five slightly different levels due to settling of the foundation. The front entry was small and there were a series of small rooms that led to a very over-sized L-shaped dining room, which wasnt needed if the house was going to be converted for use by a family. The new kitchen was beautiful, but it didnt open to a large family room, which is also desired by todays homebuyers.Edwards recommendation was to take out all of the bedrooms and baths downstairs, open up the front entry, move the main stair to create a larger foyer, have space for a powder room and shrink the dining room to work for a family. He also had to create another stair tower at the back of the house to access to more upstairs bedrooms.Within a week, he had a plan that everyone liked. My recommendation was to build a series of spaces and tell the story of how someone is going to live here where you are going to sit and eat, where to watch the Super Bowl, Edwards said.To that end, he and Hendrickson moved a hutch to the outside wall to create a large opening between the kitchen and great room. That pulled the kitchen into the rest of the spaces.The goal was to create two small gathering spaces in one large space. They accomplished that goal by placing columns to set off the fireplace that harkens back to the 1920s parlor era. The second space was centered around the television, which is near the kitchen. That allows the cook or guests sitting at the kitchen island to see kids playing video games and adults sitting by fireplace. The placement of the two spaces is inviting because guests greeted in the foyer dont see the TV when first entering the house but they do see the fireplace.Great effort was made to ensure the home has a lot of natural light and great views of the grounds at the back of the house. An example of that effort is the placement of the master bath. A freestanding soaking tub there is a wonderful place to look up at one of the knurled oaks for which Windy Oaks was named. Pica Builders of Pittsboro did the framing and helped with re-excavation of the site to restore the foundation. Down Under Flooring of Chapel Hill restored the original floors and laid the flooring in the new addition using old-growth pine milled by Heartwood Pine Floors of Pittsboro.Ecologic-Studio and Magnum Fine Home Building say they have excellent subcontractors. DQ Electrical Company of Graham re-wired the entire house. Fluette Heating and Air Conditioning of Graham tied into existing mechanical systems, replaced mechanical systems that were faulty and replaced the duct work. Go to www.1164OldLystraRoad.com to see floor plans of the house and log cabin and an interactive presentation of the estate, which has a Chapel Hill mailing address but is located in northern Chatham County.Children living in this house would attend Chatham County Public Schools: North Chatham Elementary, North Chatham Middle School and Northwood High School.Directions: From 15-501 South at James Taylor bridge in Chapel Hill, turn left onto Mount Carmel Church Road, right onto Old Lystra Road. Stay on Old Lystra Road for 2.6 miles. Home will be on the left marked by Windy Oaks sign. For more information about this 25-acre estate property, which may be subdivided, call Allen Tate Realtors© Jackie Tanner at 919-360-1820 or Jenny Barber 919-624-9532. Sally Keeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-932-0879.
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