Text: Eleanor Lynn Nesmith
Photography: Jean Allsopp and Chris Luker

With grand vision and creative license, design experts give a Chapel Hill family the home of their dreams.

Every now and then an enlightened owner comes along who has a goal of hiring a design team with a vision and is willing to go with it. The owner of this North Carolina home did just that.

For a piece of property in an established neighborhood and a prime spot overlooking the Chapel Hill Country Club, the homeowner turned to a respected local design/build firm, Dixon/Kirby & Company. “He had general notions of what he wanted, but no specifics in terms of aesthetics,” residential designer Mark Kirby recalls. “When someone gives you free rein, it’s unforgivable not to deliver something special. Few clients put forth such unconditional trust.”

Reflecting the best of transitional architecture, the house boasts handcrafted Old-World materials and precisely detailed period elements. A series of recessed doors, a stone terrace, five steeply pitched dormers, and a copper-clad oriel window bring the front facade to life. “We took a generational approach, breaking down the overall scale with a palette of painted brick, stone, and wood, and then strategically placed the garage to carve out an entry court,” Kirby explains.

The arrangement preserves mature trees, providing a feeling of permanence, and opens up to views to the golf course. With equally enthusiastic and adventurous aspirations for the interiors, the client turned to Paige Schnell and Anna Kay Porch of Tracery, a firm based in Rosemary Beach, Florida. “I had admired their work from magazines and books, and I recommended them,” Kirby says.

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