SMALL AND MIGHTY
It was three years ago when Lisa and Scott decided to buy this plot of land and build a new house. They were looking to build small, as sons Matt and Jack Huge had flown the nest a few years earlier and daughter Katie Huge, 17, will trade the halls of Chapel Hill High for the campus of either UNC or NC State this fall.
“We had a big house,” Lisa says of their old home in the Wexford neighborhood of Chapel Hill. But, even though the couple knew they wanted a more economical home this go-around, during the process “we’d kind of freak out a little bit because it is really smaller,” she says.
So, Lisa and Scott took their time working with architect Sophie Piesse and builder Brian Ehrenfeld of BuildEx. “We were just trying out different ways to maximize the space,” Lisa says of the process. “This house is 2,100 square feet, but because of the courtyard and the covered area, it lives a lot bigger, and it feels open and airy. We were really trying to make sure it was a space we wanted to be in for a long time.” They finally moved into their three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home in September 2016.
A big boost to the functional feel of the home comes thanks to the built-in cabinets and bookcases designed by Sophie and brought to life by Mark Burford of Wood Done Right. “They’re so perfect,” Lisa says of the clean, white cabinets found in the home’s bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen. So seamless, they almost disappear into the design as walls.
We were really trying to make sure it was a space we wanted to be in for a long time.
Lisa and Scott are thrilled with the result. “This is the first house where I can honestly say I am in the whole house all the time. It’s all utilized,” Lisa says.
On top of being utilitarian and low maintenance, Lisa and Scott were also looking to achieve an indoor-outdoor design. One of Lisa’s favorite features of the home is the fireplace made of quartz and steel, which is open to both the living room inside and the covered patio outside. Large sliding doors from the open concept kitchen, dining and living space can be opened to the patio area, which boasts the same colored concrete floors for cohesiveness. “You can see everything, and it’s all connected,” Lisa says. “I find it very aesthetically pleasing.”
This is the first house where I can honestly say I am in the whole house all the time.
But even though Lisa and Scott’s style is distinctively modern, their home is not severe or foreboding as many buildings in that fashion can be. The living space is brought to life with a Moroccan rug, a red couch from Palette & Parlor and a mismatched dining set brightened with a few yellow metal chairs. Works of art collected from travels, commissioned of the family or painted by the kids are hung throughout the home. Lime green recycled glass countertops in the laundry room, cheerful orange magnetic and whiteboard paint in Katie’s room and a secret loft tucked above the office define the family’s style. “For me, it’s playful,” Lisa says. “We tried to put in fun, colorful and happy things.”
And one of the biggest perks? The home’s central location makes favorite Carrboro spots like the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, Weaver Street Market, Venable Rotisserie Bistro, Rise Biscuits and Donuts and Perch Studios walkable. “We’re all Carrboro, all the time,” Lisa says.
Lisa loved working with architect Sophie Piesse. “She was very good at seeing the big picture and understanding all the little details [that go into a home design],” Lisa says. One example of Sophie’s genius was with Lisa’s beloved indoor-outdoor quartz and steel fireplace. “The vents on the top came with these plastic, white vent covers,” Lisa says with a grimace. The builder said he’d put them on but didn’t think it was going to look very good. Overwhelmed, Lisa turned to Sophie who quickly saved the day, suggesting a single metal vent cover extending across both vents. The result blends perfectly with the fireplace’s industrial aesthetic. “She’s not just an architect, she is also a project manager,” says Lisa, “She had a real vision.”
Photography by Briana Brough