Name: Jackie, Paul, & their 3-year-old son Graham
Location: Rochester, New York
Size: 2,300 square feet
Years lived in: less than a year — owned
After 15 years in New York City, Paul and Jackie's small, but gorgeous 5th floor walk up in Nolita was no longer practical for their growing family. But finding a new home upstate in Rochester they could love just as much presented a challenge. The couple admired mid-century ranch homes they found nestled in the woods outside the city, but the cost of heating through the area's brutal winters gave them pause. So they decided to build their own modern, energy efficient variation on the open floor plan 60s ranch.
After buying a plot of land with views of rolling farmland, and armed with a clear idea of what they wanted, the pair set out make their dream home a reality — using a smart combination of DIY design and guidance from experts. They decided on a rough floor plan and used Google SketchUp to create initial mock-ups. A good friend put their floor plan into CAD and they found a local architect to make the construction drawings. Jackie used Evernote to gather images of materials and fixtures they liked, which made it easy to show the architect and builder exactly what they were looking for. Their finished home is spacious and practical with highlights like soaring ceilings, a wonderful cultured stone fireplace, expansive windows (purchased at a huge discount from a window store after they were part of an order that fell through), and views of nature that give the New York City skyline a run for its money.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Functional, simple, organized.
Inspiration: Apartment Therapy house tours, Atomic Ranch, Flickr, our former apartment in NYC.
Favorite Element: It always feels like we're on vacation.
Biggest Challenge: Slowly adding art … we have a lot of empty walls.
Proudest DIY: Most time consuming: bench in our mudroom. Least time consuming: adding ribbons to wall in Graham's bedroom and taping two 5x8 rugs together to create an 8x10 rug for the living area.
Biggest Embarrassment: Not a lick of landscaping, but we'll do that slowly over time, keeping it modern and low-maintenance.
Biggest Indulgence: Built-ins. We were fortunate to rent an apartment in New York that had a ton of built-ins and it inspired our current built-ins. We want more — they are addictive.
Best Advice: It's possible to have a good experience building a house. Also, if you do not explain exactly how you want something built, there's a 99% chance it won't turn out the way you thought it would.
Resources of Note:
- • Couch: Crate and Barrel
• Side Chairs: Chelsea Flea Market
• Orange Shelves: Design Within Reach
• Rug: Ikea (2 rugs taped together)
• Windows and Sliding Door: Andersen Casement Series
• Flooring: Chelsea Plank Flooring, white ash
- • Cabinets: Dura Supreme
• Countertops: Zodiac, antique pearl
• Faucet: Danze Parma Faucet
• Sink: Kraus 33-inch Undermount Double Bowl Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
• Cabinet Knobs: Sugatsune Hardware Collection
• Drawer Pulls: Ikea
- • Tile: Tile Shop
• Faucets: Grohe
• Toilet: Toto
• Tub: Kohler Underscore
Thanks, Paul & Jackie!
Images: Sarah Rainwater and Jackie
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