The Mountain Modern Before and Afters

At the conclusion of this week, the Mtn Modern will be officially adopted by the cutest young couple. It is time for a new chapter to be written within the well-insulated walls and on the firm foundation of this thoughtful, well-built home. True to my Storybook endings, I conclude this chapter with the befores and afters of my one and (hopefully) only pandemic project!

As is tradition, we will begin this before and after tour with the exterior- the first impression of the home.

Honestly there was nothing offensive about the curb appeal of this home to begin with- she was perfectly respectable. In fact, from the pictures the previous owners left for me I could see she was quite the looker at one time.

The only problem with the outside was that it did not match the modern feel I was trying to create on the inside. I went back and forth with my decision to renovate the exterior throughout the entire remodel. In fact, I did not decide to pull the trigger on the exterior until two weeks before the interior was complete. My head knew that the exterior remodel was not necessary and would not add anything to the appraised value of the home. In the end, my heart won out. I could not settle for anything but my best for this home- and that meant seeing my complete vision for the home to fruition.

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So I went for it! And I’m so glad that I did!

It turns out both my head and heart were spot on. The new facade perfectly compliments the interior vibe of the home and I truly believe it helped to attract her new home owners. Unfortunately, the appraiser did not have the same affection for her new facelift. My somewhat prideful decision landed this home more on the “flop” side of the flip or flop equation if based on profit alone. Right or wrong, flip or flop, I decided long ago that the “happily ever after” of each storybook renovation would not be determined by profit (or loss) alone but rather the impact her new story would have on her surrounding neighborhood, community, and most importantly the new family she shelters. Despite the fact that we were unable to show her off with our customary community reveal and give her the debut she deserved, her transformation is nonetheless special. Without further dwelling on yet another negative of 2020, let’s step inside!

As you enter the front door, you walk immediately into the living room. Notice in the before picture, a soffit wrapped the perimeter of the living room. It housed a plethora of up-lights and down-lights to add ambiance to the room.

While I appreciated the effort, I decided to let them go during the renovation.

The other BIG change in the Living Room was the fireplace facelift. Before, the home featured a wood burning fireplace flanked by pretty built-ins. But when I had the fireplace inspected by a chimney sweep company I was told it was not safe to use without major repair. Now, normally when I am given this news I simply demote the fireplace from functional to “decorative only” and move on. However, because this home’s story was based in the Carolina Mountains, I could not imagine this home without a real fire blazing on cold winter nights. So I simply had a new modern fireplace built in front of the old.

Because this home boasts a modern open floorplan, this room shares the space with what is always my favorite part of every house tour- the kitchen! Here she is before:

I mean really! Aren’t those some of the coolest cabinets you have ever seen! They kinda reminded me of what you might see in an RV and I seriously contemplated building the design story around them- but when I thought about how that would translate to the bathroom- I abandoned the idea.

Curious about what that arrow is pointing to on the countertop? You can read it about it here.

Out with the old, in with the new! I chose the moodiest dark blue for the cabinets and soapstone for the countertops. Then, I softened up the space with the light ash wood built-in, eat-in kitchen table and shelves. So much light literally pours into this now open, airy space!

If you peek through that pocket door opening to the left of the gas range you can see the new butler’s pantry.

Before, this space was only accessible from the laundry room. And the hot water tank sat loud and proud in the middle of the room.

But now, it functions as an extension of the kitchen and is where I picture the new home owners crafting their coffee and of course, using the microwave.

Aaaaaaand a spot for an extra refrigerator or standup freezer.

Well shoot, I thought I got a picture of the new laundry area, but I forgot! You’ll just have to trust me that now, the hot water heater is hidden inside its own designated closet and the washer and dryer have new cabinetry to house all the cleaning supplies and such.

Because bedrooms can be kinda boring on a before and after tour, especially without furniture, I’ll only show you one example of a before and after bedroom. Just multiply it by 4 in this home. I’m not sure the story of all the holes in the drywall but each room had them.

Aside from the holes, the bedrooms needed little work besides the normal paint and lighting. Aaaaand each bedroom boasted beautiful solid wood doors that cleaned up beautifully and truly became a feature in its Mountain Modern Story.

The final stops on our tour will be the 2 bathrooms beginning with the guest bath. The size and layout of the original bath was great only requiring an update.

Ta Dah!!!

And if you thought that was a fun transformation, check out the master bath. (I used this picture in a previous blog to point out the gift of the toilet paper left by the previous home owners- this was during the height of the toilet paper crisis)

This remodel did require us to borrow some space from the master bedroom and closet but I think it was worth the sacrifice. It now has a private potty room and a new soaker tub.

Whew! This renovation was truly unlike any other I’ve ever done as the world shutdown and tentatively opened back up to a whole new normal. So thanks for going on this tour with me today- I was so sad I could not show her to you in person. If any reno deserved her moment in the sun, it was certainly the Mtn Modern. Nevertheless, she stands proudly at the end of her wooded cul-de-sac as a reminder that beautiful, important things can flourish in even the hardest times.

In the Kitchen with Storybook Homes…

Welcome to Niki Thompson’s Kitchen! Niki is the Founder and Designer behind Storybook Homes.

If you’re reading this, you’re on a journey with us through life on this planet. Through the ups and downs, there are people, places and moments that we value. Crafting a beautiful, functional kitchen, the heart of the home, to be able to tell your best stories is the goal of each Storybook Homes Kitchen. Above all, we want our homes to help you tell an overall meaningful story with friends, family and neighbors. From special celebrations to weeknight meals, the kitchen hosts both the large and small moments and everything in between.

Is there truly a better place to initiate the plot than in the kitchen? Intentional, well-designed, uniquely detailed kitchens build community and encourage storytelling. Let’s begin ours.

Many of you have anticipated this story…the Storybook Storyteller’s own story (no pressure, Niki!). And I, Sarah Henry, get to weave this tale. As you’ve driven down Carl Stuart, I’m sure you’ve imagined what the layout and design concept must be behind the beautifully modern painted brick and stained wood exterior. Well, here’s a snippet of what we’ve been waiting to share.

The mid century modern vibe is strong in Niki’s kitchen. As the owner and designer behind Storybook Homes, Niki had a clear picture of what she wanted in her own home kitchen. Her idea of home cooked meals in the context of a gorgeous space and a place large enough for family and friends and baseball teams to gather inspired the design and renovation. With a nod to history but with obvious modern conveniences, each choice from floor to ceiling was intentional and filtered through Niki’s unique design concept. The black and white contrast. The warmth of the precisely stained wooden floors and cabinets. The white marble countertops both beautiful and utilitarian.

I spent hours daydreaming about how I wanted my kitchen to both look and function. I knew that the kitchen was one of the first things you would see when you walked in the front door so I wanted to make sure it had enough “wow factor” to distract from the inevitable dirty dishes. And because the kitchen shared the open concept space with the living room, I wanted the cabinetry to feel more like furniture. Besides the gas range tucked in its alcove, I was mindful to keep all other appliances hidden behind cabinetry from the living room sight lines.

Niki Thompson, Homeowner/Girl Boss Designer and Founder of Storybook Homes

The openness of the kitchen is stunning and encouraged by the absence of walls and the slope of high ceilings. The abundance of natural light floods through bare windows trimmed in a bold black making it easy to conserve energy and at the same time, grow herbs and plants perched on the open wood and metal shelving. The design highlights and celebrates functionality in style.

The sleek cabinetry was built by Jeff Perry, a name you may recognize from previous SBH projects. The mid century modern style is characterized by highlighting natural design elements such as wood grain. The absence of hardware is intentional and allows the precision and artistry in woodworking to shine.

Built-in custom organization keeps everything in its place.When and where you can, customize these details. They are an easy and convenient upgrade.

The Designer behind the design…“Nothing gets my heart more a flutter than a good organizational system. Thanks to pinterest for the ideas and Jeff Perry for the implementation. Now every item has its place within the drawers of this kitchen.”

The view from the handcrafted concrete dinner table is gorgeous. A thoroughly modern staircase leads to the upstairs bedrooms and ultimately, across the enclosed breezeway to the “man cave” located above the garage. A pot filler makes cooking convenient at Niki’s “dream stove”. The industrial details like the coated steel vent hood and stainless commercial stove keep the look of the kitchen stylishly modern where the mid century modern style could trend more nostalgic. No nostalgia here, guys. Industrial beauty and function reign supreme.

To the right of the stove is the laundry and mudroom. Again, tons of light from the windows!Step to the left, and through the doorway is a pass through, true Butler’s pantry. Let’s explore.

This hardworking little nook of a Butler’s pantry boasts another dishwasher, sink area, open wooden shelving, a coffee bar and refrigerator. This is a wonderful convenience for large families or for those who entertain often. Again, if you have the space and room in the budget, this little addition makes a world of difference and increases the value of your home immeasurably!

Regarding the Butler’s pantry, Niki says, “Honestly, as a Registered Dietitian I am more qualified to cook in the kitchen than design one. Up until about 5 years ago, along with weight management consulting, I also cooked healthy meals for families as a side gig. The worst part of that job was the clean-up! It would often take me at least 3 runs of the dishwasher to clean up after my weekly marathon cooking session. It was during that time in my life that I vowed one day I was going to have a home with 2 dishwashers. The butler’s pantry was the perfect spot to make that dream a reality. I know that it seems a little extravagant not that I’m just cooking for our family of four but I’m here to tell ya- I run that second dishwasher ALL THE TIME!”

Here’s a little gem of a recipe that Niki, the Registered Dietitian, uses consistently in her home during the summer months. It’s perfect for a family of 4 but easily doubled to feed a crowd!

Arugula Pear Salad is refreshing and full of flavor and packed with good fats and nutrients.

Ok, Storybook Friends…the time has come to bring this kitchen design tour to a close. But the ongoing story doesn’t have to end here! As many of you know, there’s another modern Storybook Home renovation in the making. The Mountain Modern in BrierSprings. Best completion estimate is end of July. If you like the look of Niki’s own kitchen, you’ll love the one in BrierSprings. And THIS home is available! Think of it as an incredible return on a wise investment. Niki has seen the future and this next story’s outcome, much like each home she designs, is bright.

The developing Mountain Modern…

Storybook Homes needs a buyer with extraordinary vision and a deep desire to invest in a home that writes a unique and incredible story. Let me introduce you, dear reader and Storybook Friend, to the Mountain Modern. Originally and carefully designed and built in 1990, this home is nestled into a wooded lot in the back of a quiet cul-de-sac in an established Conway neighborhood. It honestly feels like you’re in the mountains of Colorado. If school zones are an important factor in the purchase of a home, you’re in luck. This home is zoned for Julia Lee Moore…one of the best in Conway! Convenient to shopping and coffee, the Tucker Creek Trail, the Faulkner County Library and Bell Urban Farm, this home is close to everything. Just imagine being the first in line on a Saturday morning to purchase the stunning but elusive Bell Urban Farm fresh floral bouquet. Winning!

Logistically, this home boasts a new geothermal unit. It is extremely energy efficient. The original owners took great pride in the construction of this home and really went the extra mile. The bones are good! It is literally “built like a tank”. From the pictures provided to Niki at closing, it appears that the original builder was a female. One who took charge while showing up professionally with her stuff together and in her trusty hard hat. What a coincidence that 30 years later, another girl boss would be writing this home’s next chapter?

Back to the developing Mountain Modern storyline…If you like modern design like Niki’s own home on Carl Stuart Drive, you’ll love the open concept, clean lines and simple design of this house. Each Storybook Home is unique but there are some features in her home that she loves so much that she decided to share them with this one. Two of those features include both the linear fireplace and the butler’s pantry with extra fridge storage. According to Jae Curtis of freshome.com, a few unique design features of the Mountain Modern is the unique exterior with sharp, modern edges, an uncluttered layout, natural light from large windows and texture over color…building materials such as glass, wood, stone are emphasized. It is among the newest trends and the most sustainable lending itself to minimal to maximize the built in extras.

The complete story includes extensive interior and exterior renovation including a carport addition. This majestic Mountain Modern will include within its 2233 square foot footprint, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. A Master Suite with a woodland view. The exterior of the home will make a bold modern statement that will lead seamlessly to the interior. It is the complete package. And it’s almost finished!! The interior is 98% complete. The updated exterior is over halfway done and more than meeting expectations. This project is special.

A precedent has been set with Storybook Homes. When you invest in a Storybook Home, your investment is met with a guaranteed delivery of all that you expected and more.

If you would like more information about this project give Niki a call at (501) 472-3310 .