The hunt for every house begins with a checklist — two-car garage, first-floor master, bright and shiny kitchen. But does that list include solar panels, lakefront views or an elevator? Only in my wildest imagination, which is exactly what we were after. We got a glimpse into six area homes that are the stuff dreams are made of. You can bet there are kitchens and garages aplenty.
Editor’s Note: Unless otherwise noted, homes are private residences.
The European Manor, Preston
If you thought you were in the American South, you need to look again. Dr. Reg Goodwin and his late wife envisioned a house that embodied their love of French Country and English Tudor styles. Set on a picturesque lakefront homesite in Preston, the exterior stonework and charming chimney pots hark to French Country style, and the interior wood bar and trim and a towering fireplace speak of old England. But all that may be dwarfed by the two-story windows covering the back of the house, revealing a lake and surrounding Prestonwood golf course. “It’s like having a front row seat into nature, because of all the activity on the water throughout the year,” said Goodwin.
As of press time, the home was for sale. Contact Brian and Bettie Thompson with Fonville Morisey for more information. (919) 880-0383
A Zen Retreat, Renaissance at Regency
A sense of peace and harmony with nature pervades the home of Dave and Vinty Judge, which overlooks the lake at Regency Park. A love of Japanese architecture inspired the design, executed by architect Keith Giamportone and Rufty Homes builders. The homeowners prefer a minimalist, contemporary look with an abundance of natural materials, especially wood and stone to add warmth. “We wanted to build something that would intrigue us even after a long time,” said Vinty. Low-backed furniture, shoji-style doors, bamboo cabinets and numerous windows all reference the Japanese spirit of the home.
For Inspired Entertaining, MacGregor Downs
Considered and designed with entertaining in mind, these Cary homeowners, who spent seven years planning and two in construction, thought of everything. Hosting gatherings and parties numbering eight to 80 guests, the couple outfitted the home with five dishwashers, a private chef’s kitchen, an elevator and a pub level complete with antique English bar, a pool table and movie room. The centerpiece of the main floor, a dining room with raised panel custom wainscoting and silk upholstered walls, seats 12 luxuriously. The owners desired their home to be welcoming to younger guests as well, creating “Kidville” on the fourth floor as a getaway and entertainment area for their grandchildren.
The Town Landmark, Downtown Cary
It’s hard to imagine the pink Victorian home on Academy Street as dilapidated and empty with the roof and floor rotted away. That was the state of the building when Sheila and Carroll Ogle bought the house in 1993. A total renovation restored the 19th century home and added additional square footage to accommodate modern living, like bathrooms and an eat-in kitchen. The restoration earned the Anthemion Award from Capital Area Preservation in 2002 and the home, named the Guess-Ogle House, is designated as a Cary Historic Landmark. “The town just loves this house,” said Sheila. “People want to take care it of.”
The Cellar Escape, The Hills of Rosemont
Stepping into this dine-in wine cellar transports you to the Tuscan countryside — albeit on a cool day. The cellar is kept at a brisk 58 degrees, and the wine is organized by case on a custom-built shelving system. Rough edged timbers on the shelves and table add a rustic, earthy quality complemented by the curved ceiling and mottled walls, creating an experience that feels a bit like a secret underground wine cave.
A hidden door in the cellar’s wall opens to reveal the electronic command center of the home, housing the components for heating and cooling, security, lighting and other house systems. Not a place you would typically show guests, except in this case to brag about the photovoltaic, or solar panel, system that not only powers the home but sells energy back to the electrical grid as well. “It was one of the first homes we built with that feature,” said homebuilder Rex Bost, owner of Bost Custom Homes. “The homeowners get a check from Progress Energy every month.”
As of press time, the home was for sale. Contact Martha Bick for more information. (919) 932-7495.
A Labor of Love, Downtown Cary
“This project was one of those when you wake up in the morning you just can’t wait to get to the job because it’s such a creative thing to do,” said Jeff Fike, a general contractor specializing in home renovations. “It was an emotional thing; somehow I connected with the building and felt like I should save it.” Fike moved two structures slated for demolition — the main house and accompanying guest house — across Kildaire Farm road to a rare open lot where he combined the buildings into one completely renovated Craftsman-style home. The home sold the first day on the market to the Hill family, who fell in love with its character (Fike preserved as much of the original building as he could, including original hardwood floors throughout), history and beautiful front porch.” It made me feel homey and welcome,” said Connie Hill. “It felt like a home instead of a house.”
See a video of the house in transit on YouTube.
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Did you know the Triangle has the third largest concentration of Modernist houses in the country? We couldn’t track one down in Cary, but locally based designer Tonic Design clued us into one of their homes north of Durham.
The Modern Getaway, Bahama, NC
Spacious open interiors, lack of ornamentation, expansive windows and inventive architecture are all characteristics of Modernist homes, and all are represented in this custom home designed and built by Raleigh’s Tonic Design and Construction. “The space between the structures — we thought about that just as much as we thought about the actual building,” said designer Katherine Hogan. “It’s really great to be able to look out into the courtyard and then out to the deck to see the sunset and pool. It’s a really nice layering of spaces and textures.” The house is all on one level and moderately sized, which contributes to its Energy Star rated efficiency, but the generous windows create a connection to the outdoors that makes the walls disappear. “I think what’s really amazing is to see your clients occupy the space — it’s theirs, so much it’s theirs, because they’ve been so involved in the process,” said Hogan.
Photos courtesy of James West Photography