HOD: Double Feature

BY Marimar McNaughton

Traditional brick and Craftsman Style facades belie contemporary interior spaces drenched with golf course views designed for this neighboring pair of Fairway Drive homes.

Rarely is an architect presented with the opportunity to design a neighboring pair of custom built homes. Sweeter still is the chance to work on both with longtime collaborators like custom builder Jim Farlow of The Farlow Group and landscape designer David Erwin of North State Gardens.

But happen it did on two contiguous lots on Fairway Drive adjoining Cape Fear Country Club where architect Ginny Woodruff displays great restraint with a pair of elegantly understated homes.

“We wanted the houses to look like they had always been here ” Woodruff says. Not wanting to overwhelm the homes that were already placed Woodruff purposely designed the new homes suited to the scale of the neighboring structures.

Woodruffs exterior style changes with her clients wishes. Whether she is designing a sprawling Figure Eight Island beach retreat or a more conservative year-round home in midtown Wilmington the hallmark of Woodruffs work is balance.

“I dont do a style typically. Its just not what I was raised up in in architecture at the end of the modern movement. Im more contemporary bent but a lot of my clients are more traditional.”

Honing her skills first with the Boney family of architects then during 18 years under the wing of the late Ligon Flynn Woodruff and Flynn continued their collaboration for 12 years after she opened her own practice in 1998.

The Fairway Drive projects are intriguing for many reasons. Unassuming traditional brick and Craftsman Style facades belie open contemporary foyers stair halls and great rooms drenched with golf course views.

The massing of each home the arrangement of heated and cooled square footage on the site is similar especially the placement of garages on the street-side.

“You dont want them blocking the view that they bought the lots for ” Woodruff says.

With connecting breezeways Woodruff softens the massing of the primary and secondary structures allowing the arrangement of windows to welcome sunlight and creating an opportunity for North State Gardens David Erwin to plant pittosporum potocarpus and fatsia that thrive in this climate.

The breezeways also provide an opportunity for Erwin to develop outdoor rooms. Without detaching the garage views of Erwins outdoor spaces visible from formal dining rooms would not have been possible.

Frank & Berta Hamilton || Brick Traditional

For homeowners Frank and Berta Hamilton Woodruff also collaborated with interior designer Kathy McKenzie of McKenzie Baker Interiors.

“The fun part about what we did together is that we respected each others area of expertise ” Woodruff says.

For the Hamiltons open kitchen Woodruff designed the cabinetry. McKenzie developed the soothing palate of Navaho white flint and khaki with stained bamboo flooring and grass cloth wall coverings. Upholstered furnishings arranged on a sisal floor rug are anchored by a mantel of African sapele wood. The same wood covers the island counter top paired with silver sea green granite elsewhere. The granite is matched in the butlers pantry with mosaic tiles and a hammered nickel sink.

It is the second home that McKenzie has designed with Berta Hamilton. This one is more contemporary with allowances for antique family pieces like those in the formal dining room and the foyer along with some family heirlooms custom made by Pug Moore of Rocky Mount. The fine line between traditional and modern values is reflected in Berta Hamiltons choice of framed art: oil portraits of family members hung in predictable places while abstract oil pastels by Herb Jackson line the stair wall.

A massive live oak tree enhances the Hamilton site that Erwin worked to save. Beneath the tree is a piece of circular granite found on site that he converted into a bench. By placing pavers between the parking area skirting the base of the live oak and bench the family and its friends travel through the landscape to the front entrance. Because live oaks are sensitive to root coverage beneath the tree layers of gravel and perforated pipe allow air to flow to the trees roots. The mature tree is uplit at night. The placement of the guest parking at the entrance to the property permits room for a brick walled courtyard planted with climbing camellias and hydrangeas.

“Its more than a bunch of pretty plants; we try to create spaces make outdoor rooms ” Erwin says. “Its how you experience the site.”

Other outdoor spaces include an outdoor copper fountain created for the site by Dumay Gorham. An ornamental iron gate and an old millstone were also incorporated into the landscape that includes both vegetable and herb gardens which produce cabbage kale and collards mustard rosemary and parsley in winter.

Resources: Creating this home of distinction

Homeowners: Frank and Berta Hamilton

Architect: Virginia C. Woodruff AIA

Building Contractor: The Farlow Group Inc.

Landscape Designer: David Erwin North State Gardens Inc.

Interior Designer: Kathy McKenzie McKenzie Baker Interiors

Kitchen Appliances: Kitchen Dreams

Electronics and Wiring: Electronics 2 You

Kitchen/Bath/Specialty Hardware: Atlantic Appliance & HardwarePlumber: Pipe Masters Plumbing

Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson Enterprises Inc.

Solar Panels and Water Heater: Southern Energy Management

Electrician: Holliday Electric Inc.

Electric/Lighting Fixtures: Ferguson Enterprises Inc.

Hardwood Supplier: Sapona Green Building Center LLC

Hardwood Installer: The Floor Surgeon Inc.

Hardwood Supplier: Horizon Forest Products & Long Flooring

Hardwood Installer: Jackson Floors Inc.

Tile Supplier: Southeastern Tile Connection Inc.

Tile Installer: Sellers Tile Company

Carpet Supplier: Carpet One Floor & Home

Cabinet Manufacturer/Installer: Archer Read Woodworking

Countertops/Backsplash & Installation: Sellers Tile Company

Closets: The Farlow Group

Paint: Rodney Williams Painting

HVAC: Batts Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

Pavement/Driveway: J & J Concrete

Fountain: Dumay Gorham

Fireplace Masonry: Browns Masonry Company

Fireplace Surround: Sellers Tile Company

Oakey & Mary Mertz || Craftsman Style

Next door at the Mertz residence Erwin planted two live oaks near the driveway and trained Confederate jasmine to climb the exterior walls of the detached garage.

Inside Woodruff also designed a spacious great room with upholstered seating arranged near built-in bookshelves surrounding a hearth. The open kitchen allows husband and wife to cook together and host informal gatherings around the dining counter and wet bar. A built-in table and banquette adjoins the screened porch. From every vantage in this contemporary open space stunning views of the fairway are possible.

The ground floorplan flows from foyer to great room. A rear hall links the kitchen to the butlers pantry and the formal dining room where an eclectic mix of rush bottom and upholstered dining room chairs are arranged in harmony with a framed print that once hung in Mary Mertzs mothers dining room.

This is the second project Woodruff Farlow and Erwin designed and built for Oakey and Mary Mertz. They collaborated with Ligon Flynn on the first the couples previous year-round residence on Figure Eight Island.

The Mertzes collection of furnishings a custom-made deacons bench and Kokopelli-inspired stainless steel sculpture and decorative accessories were arranged by interior design consultant Pam H. Rose along with local artist and Realtor Martha Williams over American cherry floors. Williams artwork hangs alongside Claude Howell prints.

An elongated Arts and Crafts Style window seat is an upstairs transitional area that welcomes warm east light all times of year. Oakey Mertzs office is on this level as is the couples master suite furnished with a second fireplace and an adjoining second level covered porch.

Oakeys career carried the couple from the East Coast to the West notably San Diego with forays into Santa Fe. The Mertzes are now settled in Marys hometown Wilmington where these dog lovers avid tennis players and golfers have found a permanent address.

Resources: Creating this home of distinction

Homeowners: Oakey and Mary Mertz

Architect: Virginia C. Woodruff AIA

Building Contractor: The Farlow Group Inc.

Landscape Designer: David Erwin North State Gardens Inc.

Grill Hood: Atlantic Appliance & Hardware

Kitchen Appliances: Crossroads Appliance Center

Electronics and Wiring: Electronics 2 You

Kitchen/Specialty Hardware: Bird Decorative Hardware & Bath

Bath Hardware/Electric/Lighting/Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson Enterprises Inc.

Plumber: Kornely Plumbing

Electrician: Holliday Electric Inc.

Hardwood Supplier/Installer: Ed Newsomes Hardwood Floors Inc.

Tile Supplier: Southeastern Tile Connection Inc.

Tile Installer: Inline Tile & Marble Inc.

Carpet Supplier/Installer: The Floor Surgeon Inc.

Cabinet Manufacturer/Installer: Wright Woodworks

Cabinet Manufacturer/Installer: Archer Read Woodworking

Countertops/Installer: Bach Stone LLC

Countertops/Installer: Sellers Tile Company

Closets: Closets & Things

Paint: Rodney Williams Painting

HVAC: OBrien Service Company

Pavement/Driveway: J & J Concrete

Fireplace Insert: Country Hearth & Fireplace Inc.

Fireplace Surround: Bach Stone LLC