Country Home with 4 Bedrooms and 4 Baths - HOMEPW27029
Case Study in Home Building
The images on this page may or may not correspond to the owner-specific modifications described in this case study. Please check the floor plans carefully on the product detail page.
- Built daylight basement instead of standard basement
- Revised rear elevation to accommodate daylight basement
- Changed exterior of porches from stucco to vinyl siding
- Eliminated half-round dormer on facade
- Added storm shelter underneath front porch
- Rearranged layout of master bath
- Installed vent-free fireplace in Great Room; eliminated chimney at eaves
- Changed roof pitch
- Changed playroom into bedroom
- Did not build desk in left rear bedroom
Jody Kinney and his wife, Sheri, were looking to add the influence of American history to a home they planned to build for their family in Jody's hometown of Gainesville, Georgia. For inspiration, the couple traveled to Savannah to tour some of the oldest houses in the state. Armed with the newfound knowledge they had gained on their tour, the couple set out searching for the perfect home plan. They found it in Plan HOMEPW27029. "We were looking for a modern version [of an antebellum home], which is what we found with this plan," explains Jody. He also proudly points out that "the front elevation of the 'main block' of the home is practically identical to a famous Louisiana antebellum mansion, Chretien Point."
Besides the beauty of the Old South found in this home, it had other qualities that appealed to Jody, a mechanical engineer, and Sheri, a former teacher, now a full-time mom. "The floor plan fit our lives," says Jody. "We had three kids at the time and were planning to have a fourth. We also love to entertain, so the flow of the house had to be conducive to large gatherings." With the easy flow of the formal dining room, elegant study and cavernous Great Room, this home had more than enough space for Jody and Sheri, as well as their daughter, Erica, 8, and sons Nathan, 7, Chesley, 4, and Tyner, now 18 months.
As you tour the home, you'll find a lot of the materials, architectural elements and decor were inspired from Jody and Sheri's visit to Savannah. Outside of the home, one element that the Kinneys felt was essential in creating the look of the home was a circular driveway. "It makes the big, welcoming front porch useful, since guests don't have to approach it from the side," Jody says, adding, "The pizza delivery guy loves it too!"
In the home's interior, one standout feature is the beautiful pine floors found throughout most of the main floor. According to Jody, "We noticed that all of the old Savannah homes had wide-plank heart pine floors. The floors didn't have that slick 'bowling alley' look that most modern hardwood floors have."
The trim used throughout the home is typical of what the Kinneys found in Savannah as well. Other details include the rosettes and wide casings used on the doors and windows, plinths used at the bases of the door trim, fluted or scalloped casings in the more formal areas and tall baseboards with outlets mounted in the baseboard rather than on the wall. Smooth ceilings also are reminiscent of traditional southern antebellum homes.
The Kinneys acted as their own general contractors for the building project, which not only allowed them to have the home they wanted in the neighborhood they wanted, but it also allowed them to have more latitude in making decisions on how to customize the home to meet their needs. According to Jody, "While we loved the overall style and layout of the house, we had to do quite a bit of customizing to make it work for us."
One of the major modifications involved the home's foundation. The Kinneys ordered a standard basement foundation for the home, but what they truly wanted was a daylight basement, so they had to revise the basement floor plan. Also, Georgia changed building codes just before construction began, creating another reason to modify the basement plan. Adding the daylight basement brought about the question of what to do under the back porches. Jody gives his wife credit for her "brilliant idea" of creating a portico that extends into the patio area, with brick arches aligned with the columns on the main and upper floors. "This turned out to be the perfect solution for extending the porches down one level," Jody says.
In the process of modifying the basement, they also added a storm shelter under the front porch, which is hollow along the entire length, with 10-inch-thick reinforced concrete walls, partially underground. This storm shelter will come in handy in case of any severe weather. Gainesville has a history of tornadoes, including one in 1998 that hit Gainesville High School, which is within a mile of the Kinney's new home.
Another big change to the home was on the upper floor. The original plans had a playroom with an angled half-wall overlooking the breakfast nook below. Jody and Sheri wanted a fourth bedroom upstairs so each of their children could have their own room, so they eliminated the half-wall and the "open-to-below" area to create the extra bedroom. They also reconfigured the hall bath and closets on that side of the upper floor to create a shared bath with private access from each bedroom. This is something the kids will definitely appreciate when they get older.
On the main floor, the ceiling heights were changed from 9 feet to 10 feet. "Most antebellum mansions have 12- or 14-foot ceilings, but those really wouldn't work [in this home], so we settled for 10 feet," explains Jody.
In the secluded master suite, the Kinneys flip-flopped the bath and walk-in closet and rearranged the layout of the bath—most notably, moving the window to the back wall and situating the garden tub under it.
One more major change to the main floor was adding five feet to the length of the hallway between the breakfast nook and the master suite. This gave the Kinneys room for a walk-in pantry near the utility room, and allowed for adding "cubbies" near the garage for the kids' shoes and coats. It also added storage space in the garage, which was made larger in the process.
Even with the modifications made to the home, the Kinneys are still enamored with the home plan. Their list of favorite features is endless, although the home's porches top the list. "If you love porches, you'll love this house," Jody declares. The main-floor master suite is another favorite because it is "as far away from the kids' rooms without moving out!" Jody jokes.
The grand central staircase ranks high on the list as well, as dramatic staircases are essential to the antebellum style.
The general flow of the home is something the whole family can really appreciate. "The dining room, kitchen, breakfast room and both main level porches have a great flow for both everyday living and entertaining. There's really no wasted space," Jody remarks.
When asked if they'd recommend using stock home plans to others, the Kinneys respond with a resounding yes! Jody confirms, "We were pleased with the way the stock plans propelled us toward our dream home. It would have been much more difficult and costly if we had to start from scratch, and we probably would not have gotten as good a result. If we ever did it again, we would likely start out the same way—finding a stock plan to work from."
After all the time and energy the Kinneys have spent building the home, they know that there is still much more work to be done. According to Jody, "We are nowhere near finished with the house. We will likely be working on it for several more years."
Although their list of "to-do" projects might seem daunting to some, the Kinneys have proven they are up to the challenge. And while the antebellum civilization may be gone with the wind, their home will stand the test of time.