An affinity for natural products helped build a strong business for Dublin area resident Chris Watson. Watson founded Marble and Granite Works nearly two decades ago and recently sold the business. It's only fitting, then, that the family's new house and its magnificent designs appears in this issue of Columbus Monthly Homes's annual kitchen and bath edition.
The former business owner still is surrounded daily by the beauty of several exotic stones as he works on a new venture from his home office in The Reserve at Tartan Fields.
"We wanted to build a bigger house for the kids," says Watson, explaining the move from their former home just three blocks away in Muirfield. "We wanted it to be a little bit larger so that we could easily entertain family and friends."
After 17 months of construction, the Watson home includes boundless options for groups of adults or teens to gather. To start, there's the soaring great room on the home's main floor with its sweeping views of the nearby golf course and an adjoining kitchen with a huge granite island. Less formal, the well-designed lower level contains an enormous pub-style kitchen, a spacious sleepover room with six single beds and even a cozy Xbox room where teen guys gather for fun.
Now, a year after moving in, part of Watson's contentment comes from the fact that the design and build phases for this project were smooth. Additionally, he's terrifically pleased with the end result. But after 18 years in the building industry, Watson clearly understands the conflicts that can occur between homeowners and the professionals they hire to build a house. He says his project went well because he chose the right team.
In the beginning, the Watsons called interior designer Judy Kenison, who had worked with them for years and even designed Chris's mother's home. Together they began meeting with architect Jim Wright of Residential Designed Solutions and builder Brian Jimenez of Jimenez-Haid Builders.
Today, Kenison and Watson laugh about the process, acknowledging that there were tense conversations at times. In the end, says Watson, he had to trust the people with whom he was working. He much appreciates the time saved for him and his wife, Cindy-a Dublin school teacher-when Kenison and her team narrowed down selections, such as the variety of glasses at Franklin Art Glass Studios that could be used in the French doors for Chris's home office.
In this 6,000-square-foot home, there were seemingly endless choices to be made. Fortunately for the Watsons, some of those choices came easily-they already were familiar with natural products from throughout the world: granite from Iran, floor tiles from Italy and other exotic products that became a part of their home design.
"We wanted that contemporary flair, but we wanted it pretty simple," explains Watson.
"The idea was to make it extremely livable," adds Kenison.
An imposing see-through fireplace greets visitors, dividing an elegant foyer from the great room beyond. There, ceilings soar to 21 feet, while a full wall of fieldstone adds a natural ambience to the surroundings. An automatic blind system is well hidden in the room's wall of windows, ensuring privacy after dark.
A large, family-style kitchen flows off of the great room where glistening Brazilian granite highlights an expansive island. The couple wanted only a flat space where meals could be served when large groups gather; thus, they inserted neither sink nor stovetop here. The same granite was used on surrounding countertops, while light-colored wooden cabinets with an occasional glass door provide a more neutral background. A Sub-Zero refrigerator also features a cabinet cover. Eight upholstered barstools surround the island, while a nearby table provides additional seating when extended family members visit.
An adjoining "sunroom," as the homeowner calls it, is admittedly more a cozy den than an outdoor space. Here, comfortable furnishings surround another hearth, and a glazed wooden ceiling has an aged patina created by painter Dan Louthen. "We wanted it to be slightly rustic, but clean," says designer Chris Alibrando, who works on Kenison's team. Light-colored, imported porcelain tiles from Italy, with a textured flame finish, provide continuity throughout the kitchen and sunroom. "We wanted the house to be light and bright," says Watson.
Near a door leading to the garage, a utility bathroom was established to accommodate busy teens when they arrive home from various sporting events and practices. Just a few steps away, the detailed laundry room has plenty of cabinet space, two washers, two dryers and is finished in granite countertops over all. Cindy's office also is nearby, at the end of a spacious coat room built specifically to accommodate the family's outerwear, backpacks and such.
Back near the home's entry, a formal dining room invites quiet, romantic evenings. Its unique, Asian-inspired gridded ceiling allows subtle light to filter over the table. Moldings in a grayish-white color elegantly finish the room's light walls. Two alcoves hold silver cabinets that were designed for the spaces.
Opposite the dining room, the French doors (designed by Franklin Art Glass) open to reveal Watson's spacious home office with a peaceful golf course view beyond. The office, with its small glass conference table, neat cabinetry and light colors, provides an ideal setting for meeting with future customers and clients.
The first floor master suite is a destination difficult to resist. Watson explains that friends love settling into its many comfortable areas, including the sitting room. Subtle exotic patterns are found here, including a tiger maple design in the wooden armoire.
This space was modeled to resemble one in an upscale hotel, with comfortable chairs, a big-screen television and a fireplace that is transparent to the nearby bedroom. A hallway meanders past spacious closets-the woman of the house has one with a small, granite-topped center island filled with drawers. The man's closet also is well organized, with storage spaces incorporated from floor to ceiling. In the nearby bathroom, a center shower-which the homeowner jokingly refers to as the party shower-divides his and her sections of the room.
The bedroom is flooded with light, with windows on three sides. Custom cabinets are integrated with granite, providing impromtu stacking or seating spaces around the room. A private patio is accessible here.
On the second floor, the home includes a guest room, as well as two bedrooms and accompanying baths for the teens. Despite their drastically different designs, both of the teenagers' spaces are approximately the same size to avoid any conflict.
The amazing lower level of this home offers a huge kitchen space with two tables, one a high top. Cindy's wrapping room is nearby, as is what Chris calls the Xbox room, a small, windowless den built specifically for digital games. Steps away is an exercise room, complete with plenty of equipment.
With all the amenities provided here, teens love the option of bunking in, so the Watsons installed six single beds lining the walls in an oversized bedroom popularly known as the sleepover room. Details weren't overlooked, and a nearby walk-in closet provides plenty of space for pillows and blankets, as well as storage for the sleeping bags and backpacks that come with the overnighters.
Even though construction on the new home was detailed and lengthy, the Watsons are happy with the final result and pleased with the work of their team. "The process was fun," says Chris. This summer, though, work will resume as exterior details are finished, including a four-level waterfall on several adjoining backyard patios that have been built at various elevations.
Sherry Beck Paprocki is the editor of Columbus Monthly Homes.