Written by Madoline Markham
Photography by Edward Badham
Jared Pineda knew the house even before he started working on it. A Homewood resident and residential architect, he drove past the intersection of Roseland Drive and East Edgewood Drive daily, and the green bungalow on the corner was a familiar sight. So when he started talking to its owners about a renovation, his mind went to its location, thinking it was an opportunity to make a landmark building, the kind people might refer to when giving directions. He envisioned it having two aesthetically pleasing façades instead of one like most homes.
“A lot of designers shy away from corners, whereas I just wanted to engage it,” Pineda says. “We wanted to get more height out of it, and it all just evolved.” The end result of what turned into more of a tear-down-and-rebuild project features what homeowners Lori and Brian Higdon call “the tower.” A spiral staircase leads up to a 10-by-11-foot third-story office surrounded by small picture windows that give a view down the street. Pineda sees the room as a place to get away if you are having a bad day or just retreat on a good day. Like the rest of the house, windows fill it with natural light.
The other central feature of the house came from the original structure. Perched above the other houses on the street with an elevation change, the Higdons’ original back porch gave view to Homewood Central Park and Vulcan. When Pineda saw the porch, he knew the design should engage this view and the amount of time the Higdons spent enjoying it.
What resulted was an open living space, with the porch, living room, kitchen, and dining room making up four contiguous quadrants topped with high vaulted ceilings that display exposed cedar beams and large rustic light fixtures. Each space flows into the next seamlessly, with only 8-foot-tall sliding glass doors separating the outdoor screened-in porch from the interior. For the Higdons, it’s the perfect entertaining space—complete with a deck that still feels as much like a treehouse as their old one.
The design of the main floor is simple. “I love the floor plan. It’s extremely clean and modern and super efficient,” Pineda says. “You could dress that up in a million different ways.”
The way the house sits so high on its lot above the neighbors allowed them to add large windows that let natural light flood the house without using window coverings for privacy. The result is striking.
All in all, the reconstruction afforded the Higdons everything they were looking for: room to grow their family with three bedrooms upstairs, a kitchen with tons of counter and storage space, master closets, and a spacious master bathroom—all without leaving the location they have loved since Brian bought the house in 2012. The finished space allowed Lori to channel her love of Joanna Gaines from the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” and add farmhouse-style details, including a large farmhouse kitchen sink and shiplap accent walls in several rooms. She especially loves the rustic grey “weathered teak” hardwood floor stain Pineda helped them select and the barn door that leads to their powder room.
As of two months after their move-in, the Higdons had already had their supper club and church small group over to gather around their custom round dining table made by Simply Southern Home Décor out of Auburn. They also had hosted football watching, Brian experimenting with using one set of speakers for the TV in their living room and the other set for another game on their TV on the porch. While everyone who comes in says the space feels like a completely new house, you can also see markers of the two-bedroom bungalow that preceded it on a wall on the bars that bears its historic home marker, a painting of the house they got as a wedding gift, and its old mailbox. Although its exterior is now white, the shaker siding and exposed cedar beams hearken to the craftsman style of the green bungalow that first made the Higdons fall in love with their corner lot.
Behind the Scenes
Architect: Archane Architecture- Jared Pineda
Contractor: Southland Properties Inc.
Lighting: Mayer Lighting
Tile: Crossville Tile, Daltile
Plumbing Furnishings: V&W Supply Co.
Audio/Visuals: Anything Audio Video
Landscaping: The Nelson Team