Minimalistic and Modern


This home is full of light and bright pops of color that give the space a cheery, sunny vibe.

by Vicki Johnson, Photography by Beau Gustafson

Five years ago, when Todd and Carrie Becker sold their traditional, Nantucket-cottage-style home in Crestline, they knew they wanted to make a major change and create a more minimalist, contemporary home.

They found that property, unexpectedly, in an old 1960s ranch house in Vestavia.“ “We knew we wanted to do a modern house, and the lines of it lent itself to do that, so we knew it had a good shell,” Carrie says.

“I’ve always liked a very contemporary style,” Todd says. After years of spending time at the W Hotel in Atlanta, Carrie was finally on board to take the plunge into a modern renovation.

While the rancher was in “livable condition,” the Beckers knew they wanted to make changes but remained in the house for three years. Then the couple met Matthew Finley and Will Brothers of Green Bottle Workshop and immediately fell in love with their aesthetic and style of design. For a year, they collaborated to create a plan that worked with the square footage that the Beckers wanted and one within the budget they could afford.

The renovation took eight months to complete as the house was gutted and redone. The roof was taken off, and the house was stripped down to the foundation while a second, upstairs level added 1000 square feet to accommodate the kid’s bedrooms, bathrooms and play area.

Finally, in October 2010, the Beckers moved back into the house. The layout was completely refigured and the house transformed into 4000 square feet, which features four bedrooms with four and a half baths, an office nook, kid’s playroom, downstairs den, upstairs den and a two-car garage. Ask the Beckers and they’ll tell you that their outdoor space is just as important. “We’ve got the downstairs deck in the back and the upstairs deck. I’m sure we’ll use both decks this year,” Todd says.

Indoor-outdoor living is a huge part of their lives, as they spend almost every day outside enjoying the space as well as the weather. “We’ve always got all the doors open,” Carrie says.

The Beckers were careful when deciding on a design for the exterior of the house. The final product is a striking mix of wood, concrete and white walls. The three different rooflines also add interest and give dimension to the shape of the house.

“If you picked up Dwell or any of those magazines like that, California, Arizona, even Texas, there are a lot of houses like this. They just aren’t here,” Todd says.

When choosing the design and interior furniture, the Beckers wanted to keep it simple, yet modern. “We wanted happy,” Carrie says. “I’m from the beach, and we wanted it to stay cheery and always bright. Even when it’s a gloomy day it’s still light.”

The Becker’s also incorporated several different materials into the house. There are lots of metal features in the house, including the master headboard; the stairs, which were all handmade and welded; and the kid’s sliding, bedroom barn doors that are also magnetic and perfect for hanging art projects. The concrete wall in the hallway and den that houses the outdoor fireplace adds a certain coolness to the interior, while the ceiling above the front porch is made from wood, which keeps the space feeling relaxed and earthy.

“Contemporary used to be so hard and not comfortable,” Carrie says. “It used to be white-leather sofas that no one could sit on. It wasn’t realistic for our lifestyle with kids. But I think that modern has changed so much in that they are making the materials more comfortable. It’s more soft. It’s not such harsh, hard lines.”

This contemporary house evokes a fun, almost beach-like atmosphere. The crisp white walls and metal pieces bounce off the pops of color in the orange couch, sections of gray walls and colors in the three abstract paintings done by friend and artist, Karly Martin. The custom-stained hardwood floor, a blond, almost sand color, keeps the house feeling light. “Even though it’s minimal it still takes a lot of thought,” Carrie says.

Black and white images from photographer Richard Bickel of Apalachicola, Fla., appear throughout the house. “Todd and I have collected that art since we got married. It just captures a different type of lifestyle down there,” Carrie says.

Glass partitions divide the master bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom is a cool space with blues, grays and lots of subdued patterns, while the bathroom features white-gloss IKEA cabinetry, long rectangular sinks, vertical mirrors and an inviting closet with a large window for natural light.

The 15-foot ceilings give the den a lofted, elegant feel, while the white floor-to-ceiling curtains add drama and a little intimacy to the grand space. Tucked away off the den is a small office nook with sweeping views of the backyard. And speaking of the outdoors, the couple’s goals include getting back-porch furniture and finishing the next few phases of landscaping.

For the Beckers, creating their custom dream house was not without its difficulties. And while creating a modern home was a challenge, it was not one that couldn’t be met. “Everybody around here thinks we live in a glass house because they don’t see it,” Todd says. With the right amount of creativity, architectural precision and attention to interior and exterior details, they’ve finally got the house they’ve always wanted. •

Resources:

Architecture/Design- Green Bottle Workshop

Interior Design- Alison Smith Interiors

Furnishings and Accessories-IKEA, CB2, West Elm, Crate and Barrel

Metal Design-Stairs, kid’s barn doors and master bedroom headboard created by Green Bottle Workshop

Landscape Architect/Design- Peter Faulkner II of Faulkner Gardens Inc.

Kitchen Design-IKEA cabinetry, backsplash by Jenkins Brick and Tile Company

Appliances-GE Monogram stainless steel

Paint Colors- “Dragon’s Breath” and “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore

Art- Karly Martin, independent artist; artbykarly@gmail.com

Photography- Richard Bickel of Apalachi

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