When Donna and Peter Stubbs left the Triangle for the D.C. area in 1998 following a few years at their post-collegiate jobs at the Durham Arts Council and Memorial Hall, respectively, the newlyweds thought they’d be back two years later. But with grad school, various jobs and the arrival of daughter Lauren, now 5, it wasn’t until 2013 that “we came down to visit and thought, ‘It’s time to start looking around,’” Peter says. “We kept looking at different neighborhoods out around Jordan Lake where we could have a lot more space. But we kept coming back to how kid-friendly [Briar Chapel] was.”
The Stubbs chose their Longbury model home from David Weekley Homes because they could customize it to fit their needs. First, Peter and Donna had the builders bump out two walls a few feet to have a larger kitchen and living room. The elongated breakfast nook now fit their Design Within Reach dining table and serves as the main spot for big family meals. “It seemed funny to me to worry about the house design and size based on our dining room table, but the reality is the space works really well,” Peter says. Next, since both Peter and Donna work from home, they chose to use the rooms the blueprints called the dining room and the den as Peter’s office and Donna’s art studio and office, respectively.
From there, Donna, an artist and interior designer, made most of the design choices from cabinets to countertops. “I just envisioned this [space] and I wanted to have these big glass lights hanging over [the island],” Donna says. “I wanted a lot of white and clean lines and for it to be open. I wanted to also enjoy the view from here.” The Stubbs weren’t the only ones pleased with the final result; Peter says the builder has taken some of the design details like the huge kitchen island and light fixtures and put them in their new model.
Thanks to their open floor plan, the whole family, along with friends and Goldendoodle Heidi, can all enjoy the downstairs. “People can just hang out here whether it’s watching a football game over here or [sitting at] the table over here.” Peter says, gesturing. “[We] just have everything happening in one space.” With all the action in one area, it means the family doesn’t have to choose between watching NFL, cooking and hosting friends. “We do love to entertain, and that’s why we wanted a big open area,” Donna says. “That was the goal all along.” CHM