When retirement is at hand, the common trend is to downsize. But contrary thinking led Bill and Yvonne Austin to purchase a Harbour Island home they had their eye on for several years, then complete a 4,320 sq. ft. whole house renovation that raised the ceilings to soaring heights, brought the southern sunlight inside, and created fascinating features at every turn. Now the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home with four-car garage is ready for the Austin's congenial lifestyle.
"Many of our friends are young and have children," Yvonne says. "We didn't want them to stay in a hotel when they come to visit. We want to fill the house up!"
Yvonne is adamant when she says, "Why should we shortcut our lives or curtail our lifestyle just because there's just the two of us?"
PROPERTY LOCATION WAS A PRIORITY
"The location and setting was most important to us," Bill explains. "We had been watching this location for about four or five years. We were hoping that something we liked would go up for sale."
Their scouting paid off. When the Harbour Island home was listed, the Austins determined that it had the potential for the openness they wanted.
The 1980's California Contemporary was a dark cedar two-story that was in great need of updating. PSG Construction was already familiar with the neighborhood, having completed two prior projects there, and was confident that the Austins' enthusiastic vision could be realized. To transform the rambling home that would become their Remodelors' Showcase entry for 2000, PSG Construction teamed with Lucia Custom Home Designers. They added 406 sq. ft. of family room and master bedroom space to the original 3,914 sq. ft. home, for a total of 4,320 sq. ft. Additionally, a laundry room and second two-car garage was added.
A CHALLENGE TO LIGHTEN, BRIGHTEN AND EXPAND
Although the exterior style was to remain, the rough-sawn cedar exterior was dark and unimpressive. To lighten and give new life to the exterior, PSG first repaired rotted siding, then whitewashed the cedar and added cultured stone accents and chimneys to mimic the grand cultured stone fireplace wall in the great room.
Extensive structural changes opened the house in the manner the homeowners were after. One challenge, however, says Karen Kassick of Lucia Custom Home Designers, was to maintain the original style of the house in the new spaces, so that they would appear original.
To visually open up the home and beckon natural light inside, the front entry roof was raised and the entry doors were relocated. The original location of the stone fireplace blocked the view into the house from the foyer. To correct this problem, the entry doors were relocated and now provide a clear view from the foyer to the rear of the house. The back wall of the house was also extended and the entire wall was replaced with sliding glass doors leading to the resurfaced pool and 1,600 square foot wood deck spanning the entire width of the home. From here, the Austins have a precise view of the gazebo that seems to be suspended over the backyard pond.
In the great room, the massive stone fireplace and pine wrapped beams present a very approachable style. A favorite stone owl carving of Yvonne's was placed into the stone fireplace during construction.
To remedy the problem of a small kitchen, the area was expanded into the existing laundry room area and a new laundry room was added. The oven, range and range hood is set in the same cultured stone as the great room fireplace and exterior chimneys. The kitchen also showcases Canadian pine cabinetry custom-built in England. In order to preserve the original intent of the cabinetry and its design, the cabinetmaker was brought to the Orlando home from England to personally assist with installation of the cabinetry.
ELEVATOR INCREASES ACCESSIBILITY OF SECOND STORY
The second floor is accessed by way of a residential-grade elevator as well as an imposing staircase enhanced with an iron and wood stair rail. The stairway is suspended and supported from the ceiling. From the staircase landing, a breathtaking view can be enjoyed of both inside and out.
"We liked this house because we knew we could put in an elevator," Yvonne explains. "This is going to be our last house, so I wanted an elevator."
The second-floor master bedroom suite features a sitting room with a separate office cozily tucked behind the sitting room. The inefficiently designed master bath contained very limited closet space. Lucia Custom Home Designers redesigned the bathroom within the existing space to maximize its efficiency. Attic space above the existing garage was borrowed to add a new and roomy walk-in closet for the master suite.
The extent and size of the renovation was far from challenging to the Austins. "We like to ramble around," Bill explains. "In fact, I think I'd like it to be about 1,000 square feet larger!"
Tile- Intercoastal Distributors and United Tile
Stairs- Stair Masterz
Roofing- Albert J. Steppi Roofing and
Interior Trim & Doors- Residential Building Supply
Cabinetry- S & W Kitchens