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Archive for July, 2011

     As I set out on a run the other evening, several thoughts were weighing heavy on my mind.  I began thinking about bills that needed to be dealt with, the economy, financial markets and the direction of this great country, when a stream came through my mind.  I am not saying in the least that this was some sort of vision, it was just a string of thoughts that seemed to flow together.  You see, I had the picture of a lady standing on an edge.  An edge where there was a flurry of activity swirling all around her. She was standing witness to the most spectacular view that her mind could ever conceive.  There, before her, a Home was being built.  But this was no ordinary project. 

     This Home was being constructed in a manner and fashion that was completely foreign to her.  Everything about herself was completely known by the participants.  Not in the way like you would find when a profile is printed out and read to the group as a part of the pre-construction meeting.  No, here a group of Hosts had presented a narrative of her life.  All of her passions, interests, desires – pet peeves, irritants and distaste were well presented to the members.  And thus, everyone knew exactly what they had to do.

     The land was prepared creating an oasis of personal harmony in the setting.  Landscape architects painted the surroundings with magnificent vistas, shaping and sculpting the terrain to soothe the soul.  Gardeners were everywhere building streams,  tending to the beds and manicuring the foliage; all contributing to the final sanctuary.  Architects were following this lead in designing and detailing the structure so that it conformed precisely with the natural elements of the setting.  Connections were being made throughout the Home.  Builders were busy mapping out every detail that needed to be executed.  There was not a concern in the world over budgets, you see, all of the materials that had been planned for with this home were lined up and on site.  Everything had been specified.  The only concern of the builder was to employ the best building techniques that had ever been crafted.  Building Science Gurus were analyzing the systems so that the structure operated at peak performance.  Craftsmen of every trade were working around the clock with the sole desire to pull out the true beauty from their pieces of Art.  They were not thinking about quitting time, being back to the shop by 4;00 or what they had planned for on the weekend.  Movers were bringing in the furnishings.  Yet, instead of just rolling in the refrigerator, they were actually loading it down with all of her favorite things.  Interior Designers and Artists were scurrying around, hanging artwork, setting out sentimental pieces and pulling together the personal ambiance for the owner.  And in the background, a chef was busy creating his magic,  filling the space with wonderful aromas.  This was not a meal that was being prepared for the group per say, but rather, a dining experience that was created just for her.  You see, everyone was working; giving their best, for the pleasure of the recipient.  And the recipient had not even requested the work.  There was a Master Choreographer overseeing the project, but, he was not barking out orders.  He would merely offer up direction from time to time and provide subtle suggestions along the way.  But most of the time, He would allow the strengths and talents of the participants to shine through as they strived to create this most precious gift for the Lady.

     Just then, she spun around to find that all of her friends were watching.  Her parents and grand parents were looking on as well.  Everyone was so proud because she truly deserved all of it.  The next thing she knew, she was waking up in this Beautiful Home.  The place was spotless, everything in its place.  The most pristine vista could be taken in from her bedroom window.  The Home was perfectly comfortable.  And, as she was finishing up her morning breakfast, she was ready to take on the day where she could go and share her talents and skills with a new recipient who she would have the privilege of contributing to.

     I know some of you will be thinking this is over the top.  Some sort of Utopian, Fantasy Land.  And that we live in This  world.  One where Budgets are important, Revenue does matter and Margins definitely make a difference.  And, I agree with all of that.  I just couldn’t help but think…What if we took  on a little different perspective.  A shift in how we view the Project.  A shift in how we view the Client.  What could we be building right Here.

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You know, I love the Spectacular Transformation.  Whether it plays out in our own Lives or in our Homes, there are times when we all can find ourselves in a rut.  A little bit out of date, kind of worn down, definitely in need of some polishing.  The homeowners of this Roswell beauty found themselves in just this sort of predicament.  Although, other areas of the Home had been renovated to change with their changing lifestyle, the Master Bath had long been overlooked.

Here's Her Vanity

 

 

And His

 
 

The shower was tucked back in this dark corner

 
 

Flanked by this Stylish Sunken Tub

 
 

And Separarted by the "Throne Room"...Of Coarse

 
We made a few simple modifications to the layout, but, for the most part, did not move a lot of stuff around.
 
 

And Here We Are

 
 

The Window Now Assumes It's Proper Place of Prominence

 
 

We Customized the Shower Components to Meet the Clients Wishes

 
 

The Zig Zag Shower Tile Pattern is Repeated out on the Main Bathroom Floor in a Rug

 
 

Her New Vanity With All That Extra Storage

 
 

And His. Yeah, We Always Get the Short End of the Stick

 
 
The Master Closets also gained New Life.
 
 

Before We Had 2 Broken Up His and Her Closets

 
 

And then there was One. I just Love that Custom Pocket Door.

 
 

To The Right

 
 

And The Left

 
 

To The Right

 
 

And The Left

 
Oh Well, you get the picture.  While we were on the job, we also renovated the Guest Powder Room and removed all of the popcorn ceiling treatment throughout the home.
 
 
 If you would like to see more of our work, Please visit the Distinctive Remodeling Website.
 
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And, as always, please keep checking back as we continue to
spotlight what it takes to Create a Well Composed Home

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Following up from our most recent family gathering at the lake, here is a glimpse of some of the more subtle retreats that are tucked away around the property and which provide the greatest rejuvenating power of everything there is to enjoy. You see, toward the end of the week, we actually had seventeen people trying to co-exist up there. Fortunately, with the way that the Home and the Grounds are Composed, you would never feel overcrowded.

Solitude

A Place for Reading with Coffee and the Sunrise

or..Watching the Kids

Having a Quiet Conversation

Taking a Stroll ~ Usually with a Dog

As I age, my appreciation for gardens and landscapes is certainly expanding when taken in consideration of the entire composition of the Home. There is so much here to enjoy and it definitely completes the place.

or...Taking a Break After Incurring a Beating from the Last Jet Ski Run

And, there are places where we can all come together. What is it about fire and water anyway?
Many a evenings were closed out right here. Ashes Smoldering, Little Ones asleep in a lounge chair, Stars Bright in the Sky and a Calmness Like No Other.
Serenity

Adventures Abound

Then there are times when you just need to slip away.

Paths to Follow

Places to Explore

And Beauty to Take In

And others, when you just may need a place to Chill.

What I Wouldn't Give To Know What She's Thinking...

As you can tell, I am passionate about Homes and what it means to have achieved a Well Composed Home. In no way do I feel that the home would need to be grand or of a certain price level to be held in such regard. What it does need is to have the careful attention granted to it where the owners personality is reflected and where there is a continuity of style, character, elegance and beauty maintained throughout the entirety of the Home. It takes introspection, planning and courage, but, in the end, a piece of Art is created.
If you would like to see more about what it means to have a Well Composed Home, please visit Atlanta’s own Blayne Beacham’s Blog (Recently Voted One Of The Top Five Real Estate Blogs In The Country) This Photographers Life. Her latest post captures the pure essence of what I’m trying to convey perfectly.
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An certainly check out some of our Work at Distinctive Remodeling.

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     One of the reasons that I absolutely love our trips to my sisters lake house is that there is so much to take in.  Like many of us who would consider ourselves in the camp of the Home Enthusiast, I  continually find myself drawn to the finer intricacies and details that make a Home so magical.  In this series of brief, blog posts, I wanted to share with you a few of the elements that make this Home so endearing. 

craftsmanship

     I suppose that I am a visual person from the start.  For me, when something is pleasing to the eye, than it makes sense.  When a Home is grounded in strong architectural disciplines ,or has amazing interior views, or is well-balanced  with a continuity between spaces, than it has succeeded by providing a certain level of comfort.  In my mind, one of the first things that speaks to the quality of the Home is the level of attention that is paid to the details.

 

Anybody Else Love Good Old-Fashioned Wood Joinery

 
Notice the round copper gutters, copper base, peg and tennon-post & beam construction, notched joinery, use of up-lighting, open rafter tails and the use of a tongue and groove cyprus roof decking.  Beautiful composition.
 

Looking Up!

 
Here’s another view of it all coming together.  This is masterful engineering and exceptional design at it’s best.
 

The Use of Structural Timber Trusses are Carried Throughout the Home

 

Every Corner Is Taken Care Of

 
You may have to look close here, but, notice that this last truss is actually set away from the upper wall creating the common “plant shelf” type of effect.  However, they used it to generate depth and shadow and then incorporated the upward facing spotlights for ambiance.
 

Love This!

 
This is an interior dormer in that same room.  The way it illuminates the space at night is truly spectacular and only heightens the lake experience.
 

Same Dormer, Only Outside

 
One of my biggest pet peeves is a poorly proportioned dormer.  Look around Atlanta…they are everywhere.  In my opinion, if you are going to call yourself a builder, do your homework and get this one right. 
 

Just Off To The Side Of That Beautiful Dormer

 
Yet another element that supports the fact that they were paying attention to every detail when assembling this Home.  The chimney cap says it all.
 

And Finally

 
How welcoming is that? 
This is what draws me back every time!
 
 
Keep Following:  Other posts in this series will look at Serenity, Solitude, Play and Re-Birth
 
Feel Free to Comment, Share, Like, Friend or Follow. Mostly Follow, because Twitter has conquered everything else.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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A Beautiful Awakening

     You may actually recognize this one.  I’ve been sharing a few snippets of it along the way.  Maybe I’m just in a blogging frame of mind after taking a week off for vacation, but, I don’t want to refrain from  giving this project its proper attention any longer.  This home is in a prime location off of Paces Ferry Road in one of the most sought after communities in Atlanta.  The Homeowners bought in a beautiful neighborhood; on a spectacular lot.  An incredible stream winds through the back yard.  The Home’s decor was a tad bit dated, yet, a grand vision for its future  had been set from the onset.  Our goal:  To transform this raw beauty into a modern marvel.

The Kitchen

And the Breakfast

From Then to Now

The cabinetry is Berloni John Arnot and Shirley Macfarlain collaborated with the Owners to provide the professionally outfitted, incredibly functional, meticulously designed, impeccably sleek, culinary masterpiece that you see  here.   
 

Love the Integrated Breakfast Table

 
Couldn’t you see yourself here hanging with the kids enjoying some cereal.  And then when you’re entertaining, everyone will certainly be asking about the counter tops from “Ice Stone”.  Very cool stuff.
 

Typical Box Stair

 The foyer felt extremely narrow and closed in and the stairs left little to be inspired about.  In order to lay out the new vision, we had to re-locate a powder room, expand the width of the interior space (including the front porch)  and re-work the roof above to accept the new entry and maximise the amount of light.

The Solid Kneewall Approach which Doubles as a Rail is Never a lot of Fun

So We Shuffled a Few Walls Around

 

Opened Things Up A Little Bit

 

Now the Homeowners Level of Style is able to Shine

 

 

Floating!!!

 

 

 

Very Sleek

 

 

A Whole New Space

 

Simply Elegant

 Theresa Minkoff with Moda Floors and Interiors worked hand and hand with the owners to achieve this exceptional composition of interior finishes and ensure that an authentic continuity is maintained throughout the entire Home.

 

From Here

 

To Here

And where would we be without the spectacular insight of Ken Lynch.  He provided all of the architectural work on the Home and laid the ground work for bringing the vision to life.

 

From Purely Service
 
 
 

To Inviting the Guests Around to the Back Door

 

 

The Walkway Just Welcomes You to the Backyard

 

 

And Down to the Pool
 
 
 

Here We Were Before

 

 

And Now, A New Setting

 

 

I think I know where I would be spending my days

For me, this project is a shining example at how important it is to take a collaborative approach when creating a new Home.  It took the insightful contributions of everybody involved.  From the Architectural work to the kitchen and bath design to the interior design to the execution of the construction details to the wonderful ideas of the client.  The team approach works best every time.

 

We still have a few things to show:  Stainless cable and solid glass handrail system, cracked glass kitchen backsplash, cork floors in the basement and a new stone fireplace.  We’ll have to get some more photos and update in a little while.

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How We Should Share…

     I’m not sure if this post should  be categorized under the Well Composed Life tab or the Well Composed Home.  It could easily fall under “Life” because the person who had sent me  this short essay (that I am sharing below) truly embodies the virtues expressed in the story.  This lady came into the life of my family when we were going through a difficult time.  Without any prior connection, she showed us kindness and compassion when there was no reason to do such.  In fact, many people would have said that she didn’t have to at all.  But because of that effort on her part, we have developed a wonderful friendship.   I am very thankful that our paths happened to cross. 

     I also feel that it could fall under Well Composed Home , because , to me, this is the way people of a community should treat each other.  The word Home can mean so many different things.  It can certainly expand beyond the confines of our houses and into the streets, shops, parks, restaurants or anything else that makes up the essence of our worlds. 

With that being said, On to the Story ~

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning
disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that
would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and
its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
 
‘When not interfered with by outside influences,    everything nature does,
is done with perfection.
 
Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot
understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?’
The audience was stilled by the query.
 
The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was
mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to
realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other
people treat that child.’
 
Then he told the following story:
 
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing
baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most
of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father
I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a
much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others
in spite of his handicaps.
 
 
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if
Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing
by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our
team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning..’
 
 
Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a
team shirt..I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.
The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
 
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was
still behind by three.
 
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right
field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to
be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him
from the stands.
 
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.
 
Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on
base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
 
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the
game?
 
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but
impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much
less connect with the ball.
 
However, as Shay stepped up to the
 
Plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning
aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball
in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
 
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.
 
The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards
Shay.
 
As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball
right back to the pitcher.
 
The game would now be over.
 
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the
ball to the first baseman.
 
Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
 
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out
of reach of all team mates.
 
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling,’Shay, run to first!
 
Run to first!’
 
Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.
 
He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
 
Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’
 
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and
struggling to make it to the base.
 
By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the
ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the
hero for his team.
 
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball
high and far over the third-baseman’s head.
 
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled
the bases toward home.
 
 
All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’
 
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by
turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!
 
Shay, run to third!’
 
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on
their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’
 
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit
the grand slam and won the game for his team
 
 
‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face,
‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity
into this world’.
 
 
Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never
forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing
his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
 
AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY:
 
Our lives are all very hectic these days.  The summer season seems to have us running from one event to the next.  As we look for ways to achieve the Well Composed Home {Community} or the Well Coposed Life, I think that we should slow down, take a step back and seek out ways that we can bring a little light into the lives of our neighbors. 

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

How will you choose?

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