Meg and Geordan Terry know a good thing when they find it, and in this case, that good thing is a street in the heart of Greenville’s North Main neighborhood.
They also know a thing or two about good design, both being licensed architects and principals in local firms – Meg at DP3 Architects and Geordan at Batson Associates. The Terrys recently wrapped up a renovation project that nearly doubled the footprint of their 1930s home on East Hillcrest Drive, but their love affair with this lane began a few doors down.
“We started out at 229 West Hillcrest, renting a house, then bought a house on 119 West Hillcrest and lived there until we bought this house in 2008. So it’s been a straight shot up Hillcrest,” Meg says. “I don’t know what it is – I think it’s just the neighborhood in general. And the elevation of this street is really nice, it’s a little higher up than the rest of North Main.”
The couple had long admired “the Chateau,” their pet name for the tidy white brick house perched on the corner of E. Hillcrest and Parkwood, so when Geordan spotted an open house sign in the yard while out for a run they wasted no time putting in an offer. The competing offer was from a developer who had plans to subdivide that attractive corner lot; the seller didn’t want to see that happen, and the Terrys won the day.
The house was originally built in 1938 by Duke Power as a spec home for an all-energy home with modern features like geothermal heat, which Meg says sadly is no longer in use, and lights in all the closets and was lotteried to a Duke employee. The Terrys are only the fifth family to live in the home, and Meg was charmed by the short ownership history.
Meg and Geordan did a few renovations right away, gutting and restructuring the kitchen area, converting a coat closet by the front door into a wider, double-door entryway, and reworking the master suite a bit and then settled happily into their new home.
And then baby made three.
“As she got bigger the house got smaller,” Meg says of the sudden abundance of stuff that accompanies bringing a child into the world.
The Terrys spent the next two years searching for a larger house or suitable piece of property upon which to build one but were never able to find anything worth giving up what they already had.
“We decided it was actually more cost effective just to add on to this house anyway,” Meg says of their ultimate decision to stay put and expand. “And the value held with this neighborhood.”
Friend and fellow architect Matt Tindall and his associate Amanda Thomas were brought in on the project. Four architects—two of whom are married to one another—on one renovation risked having too many cooks in the kitchen. But all parties agree that the collaboration elevated the final product beyond what any one of them could have accomplished alone.
“We kind of had a vision of what we wanted. We wanted it to be more modern, and we wanted to have a stark contrast between the old and new, “ Meg Says. “They took that and some imagery that we had and pretty much developed the exterior. We tweaked back and forth a lot. I could call it a true collaboration between the four of us.”
To achieve that contrast, a decision was made fairly early on that the exterior of the addition would be glazed black brick. Meg says this choice also helped the new construction feel less imposing. The ridge of the new portion is also a bit lower than that of its predecessor, as a subtle show of respect.
“This house is a big bold statement, and it’s rare that we have an opportunity to do something so bold,” says Tindall, who names the black brick as his favorite element of the completed design. Tindall also says the challenge of meshing his firm’s residential expertise with the Terrys’ commercial architecture background was one that ultimately made the project better.
“Our skill sets really are two different animals,” he says. “There are design elements in the house that bridge the gap between a residential aesthetic and commercial-type construction. The flat roof is a good example of that.
The addition encompasses a playroom and bedroom of every little girl’s dream (it is commonly believed young Maggie came away with the best room in the house, complete with her own artwork blown up into wallpaper). An upstairs study and an airy downstairs master with soaring ceiling were added, all while preserving the structure and integrity of the original home. One original bathroom was renovated as part of this project, and another was added in the mudroom.
The Terry family was uprooted for nearly a year while the renovation was completed, but Meg says it was well worth the wait, and she says that she has no plans to renovate anything ever again. Maybe.