Caption

A place to call home in Milton

In the late 1990s, when construction was underway at the Six Hills subdivision in Milton, the floor plans incorporated the latest “must-haves” of most upscale homes: dramatic great rooms with two-story ceilings and curved walls of windows; 3-car garages; kitchens with keeping rooms, fireplaces and big breakfast bars; first-floor master suites with sitting areas; and rear staircases.

This story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Living Northside magazine.

Those type of features drew Sue Haviland to the house she and her husband, Rick, bought in July 2014. Still, being 15 years old, it was ripe for a makeover to suit the way the couple and their three children live.

“It needed quite a bit of work,” Haviland says. “It was very traditional but pretty dated, but we bought with the intent and knowledge that we’d do a very large remodel.”

And large it was, lasting five months, during which the family spent days in the 1-bedroom guest house and nights at a nearby apartment until the work was finished.

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“The in-law quarters has a living area with a fireplace, an apartment-sized kitchen and enough space that we had Thanksgiving and Christmas there,” says Haviland with a laugh. “We just didn’t sleep there.”

The project updated the home’s interior with fine touches such as white wainscoting in the dining room, square staircase spindles and fresh coats of dove gray paint. But the most dramatic changes took place in the kitchen, which grew by an additional 15 feet.

“I love to cook, but the kitchen was so small,” Haviland says. “I knew the keeping room wasn’t going to work, either. The way we live all in that area, it was just too small.”

The previous owners shared specs they had drawn up to expand those two areas, but Haviland’s vision went beyond what was already on paper. Instead, she worked with Distinctive Remodeling Solutions in Roswell to increase the surface prep area, make room for a round dining table, create a comfy TV corner with overstuffed sofas, set up a sitting area in front of the stone fireplace and reconfigure the laundry room into an organized drop zone with lockers and shelves for the family’s gear.

Both the kitchen and keeping room are now naturally lit by transomed windows on two sides. Light is reflected off the Statuario white marble counter tops and white cabinetry designed to hide pantries, a wine cooler and the refrigerator.

The work area features high-end Thermidor appliances, a built-in Melita coffee maker and a below-counter microwave. The breakfast bar seats four in front of a white farmhouse sink. The gray stone of the fireplace blends into the gray and white colors on the walls.

“We wanted a functional space with a big counter where everyone can be while I cook,” Haviland says. “And it had to flow into that keeping room space where there’s enough seating for everyone to move about and hang comfortably.

“I love that space with the sectional sofa where the kids can sprawl and the chairs around the fireplace where the adults can be a bit more separated. We live in that kitchen morning, noon and night.”

But there is plenty of room to stretch out through the rest of the house if someone’s searching for a bit of privacy. Just off the foyer is a darkly paneled library with French doors and built-in bookcases. A formal great room, anchored by a faux-stucco fireplace, is dramatically crowned by a rounded ceiling that soars three stories above. One the second floor, the walkway that looks down into the great room leads to a home office and the children’s bedrooms.

The master suite, tucked into a corner of the first floor, gives the owners private access to a rear porch. An octagonal sitting room, furnished with cozy chaise lounges, provides a quiet respite from the main living areas. The suite also features a spa-inspired bath, with a soaking tub, granite counters and an oversized tiled shower.

A gently curving two-story wall of windows across the back of the house lets light into both the main and upper levels. It also provides a sweeping view of the rear lawn that slopes down to a swimming pool and stone cabana with a grill, sink and laundry area. The basement level provides additional recreational space with a bar, giant television screen, pool table and game area.

While boosting the light levels throughout the house, the number of windows first gave Haviland pause. “We’ve always lived in more private spots,” she says. “But now, I especially love the two windows in the front of the kitchen. I feel like we’re part of the community when I can look out and see kids walking back and forth to school and all the activity in the neighborhood. I love the natural light so much, and I try to keep the windows uncovered, without shutters. We do have bamboo shades we can roll down, but we hardly ever do.”

When completed, the project increased the home’s total square footage to about 8,000 and cost around $400,000. The investment not only created Haviland’s ideal house, it put that ideal house in the precise geographical location she wanted.

“We knew there was a lot of redistricting going on here, so we wanted to be so close to the schools that we wouldn’t have to change,” she says. “This year, we have one child in each school: elementary, middle and high. And we’re not planning on going anywhere for quite some time.”

In the late 1990s, when construction was underway at the Six Hills subdivision in Milton, the floor plans incorporated the latest “must-haves” of most upscale homes: dramatic great rooms with two-story ceilings and curved walls of windows; 3-car garages; kitchens with keeping rooms, fireplaces and big breakfast bars; first-floor master suites with sitting areas; and rear staircases.

Those type of features drew Sue Haviland to the house she and her husband, Rick, bought in July 2014. Still, being 15 years old, it was ripe for a makeover to suit the way the couple and their three children live.

“It needed quite a bit of work,” Haviland says. “It was very traditional but pretty dated, but we bought with the intent and knowledge that we’d do a very large remodel.”

And large it was, lasting five months, during which the family spent days in the 1-bedroom guest house and nights at a nearby apartment until the work was finished.

“The in-law quarters has a living area with a fireplace, an apartment-sized kitchen and enough space that we had Thanksgiving and Christmas there,” says Haviland with a laugh. “We just didn’t sleep there.”

The project updated the home’s interior with fine touches such as white wainscoting in the dining room, square staircase spindles and fresh coats of dove gray paint. But the most dramatic changes took place in the kitchen, which grew by an additional 15 feet.

“I love to cook, but the kitchen was so small,” Haviland says. “I knew the keeping room wasn’t going to work, either. The way we live all in that area, it was just too small.”

The previous owners shared specs they had drawn up to expand those two areas, but Haviland’s vision went beyond what was already on paper. Instead, she worked with Distinctive Remodeling Solutions in Roswell to increase the surface prep area, make room for a round dining table, create a comfy TV corner with overstuffed sofas, set up a sitting area in front of the stone fireplace and reconfigure the laundry room into an organized drop zone with lockers and shelves for the family’s gear.

Both the kitchen and keeping room are now naturally lit by transomed windows on two sides. Light is reflected off the Statuario white marble counter tops and white cabinetry designed to hide pantries, a wine cooler and the refrigerator.

The work area features high-end Thermidor appliances, a built-in Melita coffee maker and a below-counter microwave. The breakfast bar seats four in front of a white farmhouse sink. The gray stone of the fireplace blends into the gray and white colors on the walls.

“We wanted a functional space with a big counter where everyone can be while I cook,” Haviland says. “And it had to flow into that keeping room space where there’s enough seating for everyone to move about and hang comfortably.

“I love that space with the sectional sofa where the kids can sprawl and the chairs around the fireplace where the adults can be a bit more separated. We live in that kitchen morning, noon and night.”

But there is plenty of room to stretch out through the rest of the house if someone’s searching for a bit of privacy. Just off the foyer is a darkly paneled library with French doors and built-in bookcases. A formal great room, anchored by a faux-stucco fireplace, is dramatically crowned by a rounded ceiling that soars three stories above. One the second floor, the walkway that looks down into the great room leads to a home office and the children’s bedrooms.

The master suite, tucked into a corner of the first floor, gives the owners private access to a rear porch. An octagonal sitting room, furnished with cozy chaise lounges, provides a quiet respite from the main living areas. The suite also features a spa-inspired bath, with a soaking tub, granite counters and an oversized tiled shower.

A gently curving two-story wall of windows across the back of the house lets light into both the main and upper levels. It also provides a sweeping view of the rear lawn that slopes down to a swimming pool and stone cabana with a grill, sink and laundry area. The basement level provides additional recreational space with a bar, giant television screen, pool table and game area.

While boosting the light levels throughout the house, the number of windows first gave Haviland pause. “We’ve always lived in more private spots,” she says. “But now, I especially love the two windows in the front of the kitchen. I feel like we’re part of the community when I can look out and see kids walking back and forth to school and all the activity in the neighborhood. I love the natural light so much, and I try to keep the windows uncovered, without shutters. We do have bamboo shades we can roll down, but we hardly ever do.”

When completed, the project increased the home’s total square footage to about 8,000 and cost around $400,000. The investment not only created Haviland’s ideal house, it put that ideal house in the precise geographical location she wanted.

“We knew there was a lot of redistricting going on here, so we wanted to be so close to the schools that we wouldn’t have to change,” she says. “This year, we have one child in each school: elementary, middle and high. And we’re not planning on going anywhere for quite some time.”

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