From inspiration to reality...

Annie DeighnaughAugust 9, 2012

I thought it would be fun to share the sources of inspiration that come to us and how we reinterpret them to make it our own.

For example, this is the house we built. We were visiting Mom in FL and they had a huge development going in (over 1,000 homes) and they had 12 model homes open to look at so we went and visited. Got the brochure, and despite our years of struggle with design, it all came together when we went back to this one. So appropriate for our New England location, no?

Not exactly. But what it was, was I fell in love with the kitchen/family room arrangement. We were in that kitchen a long time with tape measure and note book in hand. We had abandoned this design for a long time, and it wasn't until we went back to it that it all came together.

This was the floor plan

But we had a long, narrow space on which to build given we wanted the home on our southern facing slope overlooking the pond, but it was close to the road in the front and wetlands in the back. So we shoved boxes around (thank you Lynette Jennings for helping me understand house design as a series of boxes...) to make a long and narrow floor plan. We started with the kitchen/FR, and moved the garage to the left and back....then we shoved the LR/DR up and created a "hallway" between the DR and LR that led to the bedrooms and bath which we stuck on the end. We had to tweak the dimensions and a few other things like how we enter the pantry, and put the entrance to the garage though the laundry/mud room. And in our plan, the stairs go down and not up and are L shaped, not curved....and so on. But it was that inspiration that really set us on the right path.

One of the big problems was getting an exterior that wasn't too....too colonial, too tudor, too contemporary...or whatever. We were building a ranch with a full finished open lower level, but didn't want it to look like a ranch. We wanted something that didn't look odd next to our 200 year old barn and out house. And, despite architect's objections, we wanted the garage doors facing front for the short driveway, and the convenience and because we wanted to make sure guests came to our front door, not through the garage as is often the case when the garage is sideways. It was a real struggle, until I came across a Clopay Garage door ad. The ad was in the back of a mag, and it was about the size of a thumbprint, but I saw it and loved it.

What's even more interesting is that I saw it in later versions where they had a light colored garage door and I didn't like it at fact, had I only seen the photo with the light colored door, I would've kept on going. It was like fate that this version of the pic was there, struck me and became the inspiration for our home's exterior.

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Great post Annie...I will have to do mine after the build is done/ My inspiration was a work in progress too. I have inside photos that will look exactly like inspirations once done.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Great post! It is so interesting what inspires us. I feel like I have a million different pieces of a million homes that I am squashing into our design. But we just got the preliminary elevations back and the house somehow screams US. So we must be doing something right.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Great post! I love seeing how things come together.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:58PM
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We saw a home with a rear porch design that was the constant and the jumping off point for the design of our home.

When we found our land, we wanted to have the same type of rear veranda and lower porch spanning the entire back of the home. We worked with an architect who pulled it all together for us.

Also I was happy with the way that my old kitchen flowed and wound up incorporating the same layout only larger in the new house!

Annie, did you wind up using Clopay Wood garage doors? I'm looking for a nice door in dark brown and am about to give up and go with wood (which wasn't my first choice for maintenance reasons).

Here is a link that might be useful: Blog about the House and Life in VA

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

No we did not go with wood. This is our retirement home so we went very low maintenance. The only exterior wood is the mahogany front door and the tongue and groove barrel vaulted ceiling over the front porch.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Annie--love your house.

Gbsim---your doors! Will you tell us where they came from, please?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Thanks Red!

They're Quartersawn Oak from Allegheny Woodworks in Lake City PA. We found them on the web and ordered sight unseen.
So far they look great, but are just now beginning to be hung so I can't give a full glowing report until we see how they did with measurements, straightness, jambs etc

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Lori (loribug26_gw) Wagerman_Walker

I like your house much better than the insp photo!! Well done :)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Interesting that this thread surfaced! I'd just recently asked about the layout of this house. Now my curiosity is especially piqued. :)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:15PM
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@gbsim: Love your railings. We are looking for a metal craftsman to help build our metal railings in the Richmond area.

Do you have your fabricators' info you can recommend?


Here is a link that might be useful: railings

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I have this thing about railings which always perfectly align at eye level when I'm sitting, but I wanted to be able to enjoy the view from our deck, so we went with glass and are so glad we did....


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 5:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

kirkhall, just for permission from architect to post floor plan. I deleted dimensions and added his copyright as he requested....I'll post the lower level when I finish it....sorry I don't know how to make it larger, but you can see the fundamental layout if you zoom it some. Let me know if you have any questions....

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's lower level floor plan


    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Oh goodie! I too have been curious with the lovely photos you've posted! Thanks for going the extra to post the layout. :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Love your house, Annie! We're using stone and same general exterior colors on our new build. One question, if you don't mind: Are your windows and trim white? I think so, but it's hard to tell... I never knew picking all these little details would be so trying! Thanks for posting these great pics. Enjoy that new house! :)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:19PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

No the window trim is like an almond color to match the windows. I don't know a color name for it as it was custom blended to match. Perhaps this pic will help.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 7:59AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's more inspiration to reality.

We had a huge collection of books from my FIL and I always loved the look of a library, so we designed a room to be our library/living room.

Here was the initial inspiration picture:

Then we tweaked it to make it our own. The look was fine for around the fireplace, but we had a longer wall than that...what to do? I was in the University Club in DC and they had a wonderful library there, but they didn't run the book cases up to the ceiling...they stopped them short and used above the book cases for display. Problem solved. Also, the inspiration picture had full arches above the bookcase, but our house has what I call a "broken arch" theme running through it, so we changed the tops to the broken arch and singled up the bookcases given the dimensions I had to work with. We also went with rope lighting to light all the bookshelves rather than the spotlight just to light the top shelf. Here's my scale drawing which the carpenter used to build the bookcases and mantel for me.

And here's the final outcome:

And let me tell you, when you're building, a good finish carpenter is worth his weight in gold (in our case it was a lot as he was 6'4"!)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Annie-I have seen pics of your master bath on the bathroom forum and noticed you didn't appear to have a tub (confirmed it from your layout back over on this thread). We are looking to have the same set up as you do (dual vanity, shower, toilet, linen closet). Would you mind sharing dimensions of your space? It looks roomy enough yet not wasteful.

I also read somewhere that you wanted it to warm up easily when showering (yay - I'm with YOU on that one) so you were mindful of size.

I have tried searching 4 pc. masters, etc. on here and on houzz with very little luck or if there are any they are huge. :(

I hope it's okay I tagged my question on to here - I wasn't sure where to put it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you for asking, and glad to be of any help I can.

It's about 9 1/2 x 10 1/2 feet. The shower is about 4x5 and has a seat. It's a steam shower and has the handheld. Before we built, we asked everyone who had a tub if they used it and how often....the vast majority said, maybe the kids will take a bubble bath once a year...wanting to put the sq ft to utilized space and wanting to build smaller, we put the air jet tub downstairs.

We put in the electric radiant heat floor and a heated towel bar. The room heats quickly and stays cozy when drying off after a shower.

DH has this thing about not getting hit in the butt with the bathroom door when standing at the sink, so the linen closet became the perfect solution.

We also have a speaker in there so we can have music or listen to the news . I also put a light in under the seat so we can have ambient lighting while steaming.

There is a bit of space around the toilet, but we actually moved the toilet over toward the shower vs. what's in the drawing and built in a small storage cabinet (maybe 9" deep) for t. paper, magazines, and as a shelf for tissues and such on top.

I was amazed at how simple a bath would seem to be to design, and yet how difficult it actually is.

This post was edited by AnnieDeighnaugh on Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 9:03

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:47AM
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I am a long time lurker and I finally got an account because we are building a home and there is so much inspiration on this site!

AnnieDeighnaugh - Your house is beautiful! I am curious what brand roofing material you used and exterior stone? We are building a similar style house with copper roofing, slate look shingles and stone. Thank you in advance!


    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:16AM
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Thanks Annie! Details much appreciated.

One more question - do you have a door on your shower? I am intrigued by a walk in but not sure what size we'd need to pull it off. 4x5 seems a decent size to me.

It seems the placement of all of the ammenities in a bathroom is almost as tricky as the kitchen! Elephants in each - toilet for the bath and frige in the kitchen.

Thanks again. Your home is lovely and clearly very well thought out.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you for the kind words.
Our shower uses the same corian for the counters as for the shower surround and the bench seating inside. We have a glass door with a transom to handle the steam. The door swings in and so it's out of the way and can dry, out so you can reach in to turn on the controls without getting soaked.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We used GAF Camelot Aged Oak for our roofing shingles.
The stone is new england field stone from stone is real stone that is sawed thin so it installs like thin stone.

Much of the stone walls and terracing came from stone dug out of the foundation when we built the blended in very nicely with the purchased stone which was applied to the foundation wall.

I need to update this pic...every time I look at it, it annoys me. We have since painted that garage door to match the trim color.

This post was edited by AnnieDeighnaugh on Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 9:23

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Annie - thank you so much for the pics - it really does help - and I love that bench! Far different than I pictured and different than a lot of tile that you see. I imagine that isn't as cold on the derriere. :)

I like the swing also - that means no track to try to scrub clean! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:55PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes, that's one reason why we went with is softer and warmer than granite. Everyone we talked to who had a granite bench all mentioned how cold it was to sit on. The other reason was I wanted the seamless sinks as they are so much easier to clean.

Also, we put the shower on inside walls...steam showers in colder climes work better there than on outside walls which can be colder.

This post was edited by AnnieDeighnaugh on Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 10:27

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:46AM
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Oh Annie, always love seeing more of your home. Love the library you built much more than your inspiration picture. (You've added warmth). Lovely home.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you! So nice of you to say.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 10:30PM
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