Sitting atop one of the many beautiful rolling hills of southern Richland County is the newly built home of JJ and Alison Burkhart. When standing on their multi-tiered porches or gazing out one of many windows, the views of Bellville, Ohio and the lands beyond are ones that inspire the desire to "sit a spell" with this lovely couple and their son, Hutch. Though difficult to take one's eyes away from the views, once done, it's even more inspiring to inspect the interior of the home itself and the attention to detail on all fronts.
Alison (a lifelong resident of the area) and JJ purchased their land in 2015 and met with me to discuss the three different house plans that they were considering. Many times, people will ask when is the best time to engage a residential designer in the building process, most believing it's after foundations are dug and walls start to go up. In reality, if someone truly wants to partner with a designer in the building process, the team should begin in the architectural phase. It is the job of a residential designer to not only consider the finishes that will be used, but to also closely study the layout of the home to assist in determining how furniture will fit in and if the daily flow of life will work well within the suggested sizes of rooms.
Once the Burkharts and I had chosen the plans that would fit best on their lot perched high above the Clearfork Valley, they contacted Ron Sautter of Sautter Builders and broke ground in June of 2016. Long before excavators were brought in, JJ, Alison and I had traveled to many local family-owned businesses to select flooring, tile, counters, cabinets and colors. If you want to ensure a smooth building process, you must plan ahead of the contractor's schedule and have materials ready for them to order. Otherwise, stressful situations will arise on the job site when workers are waiting for answers that haven't yet been made.
Shortly after the home went under roof, the Burkharts and I began working on the interior and exterior furnishings for their new environment, making a plan to buy all the finishing touches from rugs to artwork, lamps to pillows, blinds to window treatments. This plan allows for continuity throughout the entire home and ensures that choices are made that fit within the scale, proportion and color schemes of the interior design chosen from the beginning of the building process. In today's world of social media, home and garden television, Pinterest and an endless amount of websites devoted to design, it is easy to become confused and to allow the eye and mind to wander from the original plan intended. Again, the role of the residential designer is to keep everyone focused and on pace, and, to save the homeowners money by not allowing costly mistakes to be made. Alison had done an extensive amount of research on the look and style that she and JJ liked, so it was easy for me to guide them in selections that would delight them both.
We chose a neutral palette of wall color, carpet and counters and warmed the environment with rich woods on floors and trims. While the walled cabinets of the kitchen are a creamy white, the island and built-in hutch carry the warmth by being stained in wooden tones that blend well with the floors. Alison shied away from the popularity of grey walls and white trim, wanting instead to work toward a setting that would be classic and not appear dated too soon.
Eight months after the building process had begun, it was time to move the Burkhart family into their new residence. We had ordered their custom furniture well in advance of their move-in date. Everything was ready to be staged, allowing the young couple to enjoy cooking a Valentine's Day dinner together in their new kitchen, eating it at their farmhouse dining table and then settling in afterwards on their comfortable Norwalk Furniture for a glass of wine and a toast to their beautiful, completed project. And now that the weather has warmed,]], Alison and Hutch are enjoying the outside of their home as much as the inside, with dinners under the gazebo, marshmallows around the fire pit and rocking on the front porch, all the while taking in the views of God's country while perched high upon a hillside.
Now that's what I call... decorating for a home with a view!