Lake Norman Magazine

Shore appeal

4/29/11 (FOR LAKE NORMAN MAGAZINE) For story on "lakefront curb appeal," or "shore appeal" as we call it, homes whose owners have put some thought into making the lake side of their house beautiful, essentially making the back door into the front door. This is from the home of Bruce Cassidy in Mooresville, NC. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
4/29/11 (FOR LAKE NORMAN MAGAZINE) For story on "lakefront curb appeal," or "shore appeal" as we call it, homes whose owners have put some thought into making the lake side of their house beautiful, essentially making the back door into the front door. This is from the home of Bruce Cassidy in Mooresville, NC. Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

When you live on the lake, your guests might arrive by boat rather than car – and builders and homeowners find themselves creating rear entrances as incredible and impressive as the home’s main front door. In short, “curb appeal” becomes “shore appeal.”There are so very many ways to sculpt a beautiful house, to create a home that perfectly suits a beautiful lot and make it come to life from the front door right on through to the back door and beyond, says luxury homebuilding pro Len Bealer, owner of Kenneth Bealer Homes. “First we look at the lot,” Bealer says, “and we look at the topography and see what kind of opportunity we have.“We look at ways we can maximize the views. We start everything by dreaming with our homeowners and do a plan profile, and we talk about our clients’ dreams for the interior workings of the house. Then we carry those dreams right on through to the outdoor living areas. We talk about how our clients like to entertain.” But it’s not always about the way people like to party down at their homes, it’s often just as much about how a house looks when the partygoers roll up in their chariotsor their golf carts, or boats.On one waterfront house for which Bealer’s company was hired to complete a remodel, the original builder placed the dock squarely in the middle of the lot, directly behind the house. “With waterfront homes,” Bealer says, “normally we don’t view a dock as an architectural feature, and normally we set it off to right or left. It’s an amenity to the house. But on that remodel, we turned the dock into a sun deck and really made it attractive.”Bealer notes that for quite a long time builders and architects weren’t taking advantage of rear elevations. Builders who didn’t do custom work weren’t putting the best floorplans on the lots – floorplans that offered really impressive back entrances. “They weren’t putting enough glass or the right faces on the backs of homes on lots that offered amazing opportunities for incredible back entrances,” Bealer says. “In today’s market, the astute builder/designer is taking advantage of every aspect of a home. Generally we end up doing remodels and retrofits on homes with less than incredible rear elevations. We’re often asked to help justify the price point of a home by going in and renovating and redesigning the rear elevations,” says Bealer.Builder Kingswood Homes and designer Jim Phelps recently completed a home at The Point in the style of the Hamptons or Nantucket. Lakeside features include weathervanes, a zinc roof and “rain chains” – chains that collect water, replacing drainage pipes and creating a waterfall effect during rains. “I want to say the back is better-looking than the front, but the front is not ugly,” Kingswood CEO Peter Leeke says with a laugh. “We tried to include as many pockets of interest as we could.” Ashley Jimenez, residential building designer and owner of Ashley J Design, has been designing homes in the region for five years. Rear entrances to homes are rarely designed with formal foyers because, Jimenez says, it’s really important not to close off that area from the views. “I usually suggest using lots of glass on the backs of homes with water, golf course, or mountain views. Sometimes we incorporate a series of French doors, side by side, or sliding glass doors. Now we’re seeing a trend toward the use of accordion glass doors in upper-end homes. Accordion doors are more expensive,” says Jimenez, “but they offer a great effect. And they let people connect their indoor areas with outdoor areas for a greater array of entertaining options.” Among the most spectacular new homes on Lake Norman is one recently completed by Spivey Construction Company, Inc. Company owner and founder Willis Spivey has been in business for 36 years and has spent a good portion of the most recent four years working with a homeowner to complete a 25,000 square foot waterfront stunner with kennel, guest house, and main house which uses features like porches and terraces, an infinity pool, fire pit, and outdoor showers to offer a picture of luxurious perfection. Spivey was also the builder of Sandra Johnson’s home in Sherrills Ford, and Johnson knew it would be distinctive from the lake because of its low elevation compared to its neighbors. She worried when she learned the home plans required a low wall around it near the lake level. But that wall became attractive to lake viewers when they added an infinity pool with a waterfall going down the wall’s surface. According to nearby residents, the plan succeeded, she says. “We tell people ‘We’re the one with the waterfall’ – and they go ‘Oh yeah, we take our family out to see that one!’”The key, says Spivey, is the same whether his clients want a 1,000 square foot house or a palatial estate. “You don’t choose a plan and then locate a lot. You choose a lot and design house to fit the lot. A good building designer studies the lot carefully. If you walk the lot long enough, the lot will start to tell you what it wants.”

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