Rhodo Reno – A Case Study In Right Size Design

Sean and Laura SullivanThe Rhodo Reno
A case study in “Right Size” Design
By Sean Sullivan, AMB, CGP, CAPS

My wife (Laura) and I decided to buy a 1960’s rancher in downtown Black Mountain to renovate for ourselves. We liked the feel of downtown and wanted to be close in to the lake, park, pool and center of town. We had our work cut out for us though since the home hadn’t been touched in nearly 40 years!
The 900sf shack sat on a crawl space situated nicely on a corner lot near the golf course. Believers in making all things beautiful, and the desire to give every home we touch “curb appeal”, we first nailed down the floor plan. We wanted to keep as much of the original structure as possible, leaving the two exterior door locations, existing room layouts (virtually the same), as well as leaving the original location of the hallway and common bath. Because we had to combine the two end bedrooms into a master suite, we needed to design a small addition on the back to replace the lost bedroom and give the home a proper kitchen.
We enlisted the help of an architect partner to help create the new style, passive solar design, and get the exterior elevations just right. After that was nailed down, we set out to make this the most efficient use of space we could create. Since most of our clients end up building homes larger than they had originally intended (due to having lower levels on sloping lots), we wanted to show what it meant to “right size” a home.

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A Custom Rockcliff for the Parks in Southcliff

RMP_0715_6_7_8Joe and Shari Parks had the good fortune to be able to retire wherever they wanted. But they were very particular about the company they chose to build their house.
They picked Living Stone Construction, largely on its reputation in Southcliff, the gated community in which they chose to build.

Southcliff, a gated community south of Asheville with dozens of acres of preserved forestland, relies on a few select contractors to build homes that look like they’ve sprung organically from their settings. One of those preferred builders is Living Stone Construction, an award-winning company that designs energy-efficient, green homes that enable residents to live at home far into their years.

At the time they met Living Stone, the Parks were living in Oklahoma in a beautiful 1920s house that they remodeled in 1980. They loved the home but were only partly satisfied with the renovations – “you never get everything you want in a remodel,” Joe said. So they were extra cautious in selecting the builder for the first new home they’d ever had.

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Custom Alexandra for Christine Dowd

Alexandra model in Thoms EstateChristine Dowd knew what she didn’t want in a house. She didn’t want what she had, which was a house she’d built whose finishes were so rough she ripped a sweater on a door frame.
What she wanted was a beautiful new house in Thoms Estate, a north Asheville enclave of good taste and friendliness that had a couple of lots she liked. She was out there looking at them one day when a couple who lived beside one of the lots invited her in to look at the home that Living Stone Construction had built for them. Christine loved it (and she loved the couple).
“They graciously showed me around their home,” she said. “They loved their house. It was so well designed. You could tell that someone had taken a lot of time to get all the details right. When I walked out of their beautiful home, even though I’d contemplated other builders, I’d made up my mind to go with Living Stone.”
And so Christine, recently retired as a presenter for Apple, went to see Sean Sullivan at Living Stone Construction, a builder of green and energy-efficient homes whose work continues to win awards for design, function and price points.

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Mountain Modern in WNC

Watkins poolSarah Watkins knew what kind of house she wanted to build. She just had to find the kind of builder who would love the challenge of creating it as much as she did.

She and husband Casey found the builder they wanted in Living Stone Construction and its president, Sean Sullivan.

“The thing about Sean was that when I presented what I wanted in our home, he loved it,” Sarah said. “It was a bit different from some other projects he had done.”

Sarah had spent a year and a half putting her family home near Asheville together in her mind. Picking up just about every architectural magazine available, she knew enough about what she wanted that she sketched it all out. She knew the textures, finishes and ambience she wanted in the home.

She and Casey visited several builders in the Asheville area. Living Stone was among the last they visited, and they were immediately impressed by the company’s approach, plan and thoughtfulness. They liked that Sean took them to Living Stone job sites to see not only the houses under construction but also the process by which Living Stone built them. They liked that the owners loved the homes Living Stone had built for them.

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Sean and Laura renovate their Black Mountain home

Rhodo RenoLaura and Sean Sullivan decided to put Living Stone Construction’s design-and-build process to the test when they renovated their home in Black Mountain.

Sean, owner of Living Stone, and Laura, owner of ID.ology Interior Design, wanted to see how well their in-house process works for the many clients the award-winning team attracts. They bought an older home in a venerable neighborhood and treated themselves as clients.
Through work that raised the roof and added square footage in back, the Sullivans confirmed that Living Stone’s meticulously thought-out process makes renovating an existing home or building a new one as easy for clients as possible.

“I would say that we confirmed that our process does work,” Sean said. “It works very well. And we learned some things along the way to improve the process of our clients going forward.”

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