Party of Two

BY Marimar McNaughton

The house had potential but its irresistible selling point was the lot.

The Intracoastal Waterway laps at the viewing deck. From the deck to the elevated rear terrace the living and dining rooms and the kitchen the eye turns to the sweeping panorama that is Wrightsville s north end — the breach at Masons Inlet — and beyond that point along the horizon line the Atlantic s breakers erupt in a flurry of ocean spray.

When the man and wife who spent decades working painting and politicking in the American Southwest came home to North Carolina they immediately decamped in their beach house on Figure Eight Island. Still they desired a city house so they chose to remodel a home in Landfall. The renovation turned into a three-year challenge that finally ended last November when they moved into their redesigned home.

The core members of the renovation design team included architect John Stirewalt contractor Jimmy Burris of James R. Burris Construction Company interior designer Tina Williamson of T. Williamson Interiors and cabinetmaker Mike Powell of Coastal Cabinets.

Williamson says the homeowner thinks conceptually.

I think in detail detail detail. Jimmy thinks in detail. Mike thinks in detail. This is where we can layer up all those details and come up with solutions Williamson says.

Six feet were added to the foyer. The interior staircase was relocated. The flow of the public and private spaces at the ground level was enhanced. The bold furnishings float in space. The open floor-plan allows for grand entrances and big parties but the couple s day typically begins with coffee and ends with wine. Tucked into an alcove at the south end the former breakfast nook is the den furnished with warm tobacco-brown leather chairs surrounding a fireplace that the new homeowners added. 

The ceilings are 10 feet high but every room was too small by two feet in each direction. I couldn t find any furniture to fit the rooms the homeowner says.

With a collection brought from three different addresses in Houston Texas and 13 years in Albuquerque New Mexico she says A lot of my things are chunky and big and didn t fit that s where Tina was great.

Together Williamson and the homeowner emptied the contents of three storage units selecting the pieces to furnish the home.

I came in and tweaked things Williamson says.

Given Williamson s nod the homeowner worked her larger pieces and exquisite collection of original paintings into the decor of the five-bedroom five and one-half bath house equipped with two kitchens full wet bar pantry/juice bar and home office.

The primary kitchen is bathed in daylight from southern and eastern exposures. This room is the home s centerpiece and its showstopper is the black La Cornue stove and double oven.

That sort of dominated everything says the homeowner who lived in France for a year. I knew that would mean trying to find a hood and that had to be custom made here.

She found an artisan in Ben Kastner of Intracoastal Iron who fabricated her hood to match the gilded stove — mirrored in the Calcutta gold marble backsplash and honed soapstone counter tops.

The ground floor master suite is tucked into the northeast corner of the house.

Again breathtaking views await this time from the bed. Its upholstered headboard that fills one wall and replicates details found in an antique French armoire. The oversized armoire decorated with blue and white finial eggs and serving platters was brought from a former home in Houston.

One day when they were unloading Tina wasn t here and I said ?put it in the bedroom   the homeowner says laughing.

There are always lifestyle conversations when we re doing interiors Williamson says noting the husband likes to put things on shelves read and watch television when in bed.

Mike Powell designed and fabricated a television cabinet for the end of the bed but it blocked the view of the water. So the cabinet was repainted to match the wall tint and moved into a corner. With a remote control television rises on-demand and lowers disappearing completely.

The adjoining master bath features crema marfil marble floor tiles his and hers walk-in clothes closets separate water closets a walk-in shower and downstairs laundry for him and a built-in sauna and a soak tub for her.

Upstairs four guest suites share a small sitting area and coffee bar.

I think the challenge of the upstairs Williamson says was trying to make the rooms finish out logically as far as pieces of furniture coming in.

We reused everything the homeowner says. Old kitchen cabinets were repurposed in the downstairs catering kitchen and in two upstairs kitchenettes — the coffee bar at the second floor landing and the other in a bonus room/apartment/mother-in-law suite above the garage.

From a second-floor terrace she reflects: I love this view. You can see the ocean. It s one of the few lots in Landfall … you don t automatically see the houses on Wrightsville Beach and Figure Eight Island.

Downstairs everything the couple needs for retirement is found on one level.

It s cozy. My husband really loves the beach cottage and didn t want to move over here but every time he comes home he says he likes it so much better.


Resources Creating this House of Distinction



John Stirewalt Architect PC


Building Contractor

Jimmy Burris James R. Burris Construction Company


Interior Designer

Tina Williamson T. Williamson Interiors



Atlantic Appliance & Hardware



Sound Decisions Inc.


Bath Hardware/Plumbing Fixtures

Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting


Specialty Hardware

Bird Decorative Hardware & Bath



Bob West West Plumbing Co.



Jeremy Cribb Electric LLC


Electric Fixtures/ Lighting

Coastal Lighting


Wood Floor Restoration/ Hardwood Installer

Evanko Hardwood Floors


Hardwood Supplier

Horizon Forest Products


Tile Supplier/ Back splash

Southeastern Tile Connection Inc.


Tile Installer

Sellers Tile Company Inc.


Carpet Installer

Robs Carpet Services


Cabinet Manufacturer/ Cabinet Installer / Closets

Coastal Cabinets


Countertops Installer/ Stone Cutter

Sellers Tile Company Inc.


Range Hood and Interior Stairwell

Intracoastal Iron



Ryan Kerlin Painting



O Brien Service Co.



Sellers Tile Company Inc. & General Shale Brick






Lilian Crompton Fabric Solutions



Strickland s Window Coverings


Marble/ Granite

Southeastern Tile Connection Inc. & Sellers Tile Company Inc.


Specialty Woods

Special Wood Inc.


Brick Work

Pietrucci Masonry Inc.


Landscaping/ Pavement and Driveway

Tony Parker Classic Landscapes

Water Features

Drew Throndyke Cape Fear Water Gardens