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Character Counts

Architect Chris Reebals converted a boxy post-war home into a welcoming English cottage filled with classic character inside and out.

When Barry King found his modest 1952 house twelve years ago, he knew the house would be just fine for himself and his two dogs. But what really sold him was the lot size and the potential.  “I had lived in different areas of Homewood, but I had no idea that you could find a lot with this much land,” he says of the three quarter acre lot in Lakeshore Estates.

When he moved in, most houses were of the mid-century era. But slowly, like most old neighborhoods, new owners moved in and houses were updated. With a marriage—and a few years later—a baby on the way, Barry and his wife, Dallas-Shea decided to update too.

“When I moved into this house it was Barry’s. When we came back, it became our family home.” — Dallas-Shea King

Seeking an architect, they looked no further than their own street. “A house across the street had recently been renovated by architect Chris Reebals and we loved the look,” Dallas-Shea says. Chris met with the Kings and listened keenly to their laundry lists of ideas. “We told him we wanted a clean, cottage feel and showed him pictures of other houses we liked,” Dallas-Shea says. The Kings asked for livable, uncluttered rooms with just-enough storage for neccessary things. They wanted character that would complement and enhance their neighborhood while staying true to traditional styles. “We wanted a comfortable home—nothing trendy,” Dallas-Shea says. “He came back after an hour with a sketch. It was exactly what we were looking for.”

Tuning into homeowners’ wants and visions is something Reebals does well. He’s a good listener that can quickly translate ideas into tangible spaces—whether it’s a single kitchen or an entire renovation. Fulfilling their requests, the home’s interior exudes graceful design elements. Though the footprint of the home stayed (almost) the same, existing walls came down so they could raise ceiling heights to 10-feet. Interior doors are capped by custom leaded glass transoms (replicating the design in the bookcases).

Ceilings are exposed planks with a light wash. In the kitchen, paneling covers the refrigerator and cabinets extend to the ceiling for a streamlined appearance. Built-in, leaded glass-front shelves flanking the fireplace in the living room recall bungalow style and offer storage for books and electronics. In the dining room, Chris designed a niche for a chest of drawers—a family heirloom. The laundry room tucks neatly off the kitchen for convenience.

The exterior is perhaps the greatest transformation. Chris turned a flat-roofed house into one with peaks and gables. Painted Sherwin Williams Snow White helps define inset brick details. A cedar shake roof and eyebrow dormer underscore the cottage feel. A new entry—a wide set of stairs in bluestone pavers—ascends to a sheltered front porch. “I never even realized we had a view before,” Dallas-Shea says. “Now, we have a place to sit and enjoy it.” 

  

Upgrades to the back porch and master bathroom were key aspects of the home renovation plan.
 

An earlier renovation to the kitchen updated the 1950s plan. But when the King’s overhauled the whole house, Chris Reebals and interior designer Angel Davis created a more cohesive look that woud visually connect the public spaces. For instance, cabinetry in the living room and kitchen In the kitchen are similar styles—both painted Sherwin Williams Nantucket Gray. Walls throughout are Elmira White by Sherwin Williams.Ceilings are pine planks with a wash of Elmira White.
 

  

Homeowner Dallas-Shea King worked with designer Angel Davis on the interior design scheme. Working with a budget, she asked for “good,” “better,” and “best.” scenarios based on quality and price. This approach allowed her to splurge on some items and save on others. “We put most of our money in the kitchen and master suite,” she says. “Bianca Carerra marble tile exudes timeless appeal and makes a connection to both spaces.” Similarly, she splurged on hardware and fixtures. Upstairs, in guest bedrooms, Dallas-Shea opted for more conservative options. 
 

“It was great to work with a designer from the beginning. I had never built a house before. Sometimes it’s just best to leave it to the people who do it all the time rather than try to figure it out myself.” — Dallas-Shea King
 

RESOURCES
Architect: Chris Reebals, Christopher and Associates, Homewood, 205.413.8531 • christopherarchitects.com; Interiors: Angel Davis, 205.413.8531 • christopherarchitects.com

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