Sarah and Clay Scott wanted a home that fit their casual style. It had to have plenty of room not only for them and their three children, but also for entertaining guests and hosting family gatherings. They built their house in 2010 with entertaining in mind, and the explicit request to create a screened in porch with a massive fireplace. Turns out, that’s the room they enjoy the most.
“It’s funny, but I didn’t expect to use it in the winter because it’s a summertime porch,” Sarah says. “We use it all the time in the winter because it’s too hot in the summer. September through the winter months is perfect.” (Her husband agrees.)
“We like being outside in the fall and doing fires on the porch and watching football games,” adds Clay.
The Scotts hired ELM Group builders’ Eric Tabor on the design of their five-bedroom, two story house. Sarah says they knew what they wanted but were not experts in design, so they relied on Tabor to bring their ideas to life. And, the Scotts’ best friends had built with Tabor the year before and had a similar porch. Sarah told Tabor that was a must, and they built off of their idea.
“It was so great to have a friend who already did this,” Sarah says. “It saved me hours of having to pick things.”
With its vaulted, wooden ceiling, large beams and stacked stone fireplace, the room is rustic enough to feel like the country while still being a central part of the home.
“It’s not a kit,” explains Tabor. “There are a lot of people that use kits because of earthquake requirements, but it’s still easy to meet all the earthquake requirements and build masonry fireplaces.”
A seating area complete with a TV and a table for dining make the room’s uses multi-purpose. When they have large gatherings, the family opens the door and it becomes an extension of the dining room. Two large storage bins on either side of the gas ignition fireplace house all the firewood.
The ceiling is new wood and the entire room is brick and scored concrete, which makes nearly maintenance free.
“I can literally drag the hose in there and hose off the walls and the floor,” Sarah says. “Eric (Tabor) put holes in the bottom so the water drains out to patio.”
Besides when they entertain, their sons are out there the most.
“Ever since they learned how to build a fire, they are out there,” says Sarah. “My boys love to fill up the wood storage.”
Since the porch is right off the dining room, when the family entertains, they open the room and extend the dining room.
“At first, we were worried if it was going to be too big, but it’s not too big. We’ve seated as many as 30 with the dining and other tables,” Sarah says. “All our extended family lives here, and we host Thanksgiving here every year.”
The Scotts were pleased with the overall project and appreciated Tabor’s approach, especially with finding solutions and making ideal use of their space.
“Eric (Tabor) was very budget conscious, which we really appreciated,” says Sarah.
Besides the porch, the kitchen is the next favorite area of the house. Sarah loves the custom feel and Tabor gave her something neat to allow for more countertop space — appliance garages.
“It always bothered me to have all the appliances on the countertops and I asked Eric, where is a place I can hide an appliance?” Sarah says.
She made sure to have separate drawers for trash and recycling and all the sinks have disposals, including the prep sink on the island. She opted for side-by-side ovens instead of stacked, went with marble for the island countertop and made the bold choice of limestone on the perimeter countertops.
“Everyone told me not to do it, but I did and I love it,” she says. Plus, she does most of the food prep on the island.
With an open floor concept connecting the living room, dining room, kitchen and the screened-in porch, guests can all be together as one among the different rooms.
“I wanted a kitchen that we could live in and I love kitchens that have little keeping rooms” Sarah says. “We opened up the room to get that functionality. When I’m in the kitchen, I don’t feel isolated from the rest of the family. I’m still in the same room with everyone.”