Designer reworks her own home from start to finish

Story by Michelle Boaen Jameson | Photos by David Barnes

Gainesville resident Sheryl Kirby has been a designer for more than 20 years. She’s worked with numerous home builders to create the picture perfect house. But recently, she got to be on the client side of home building when tragedy struck. On March 10, 2017, Kirby’s Harbor Pointe home burned after being struck by lightning. Ever the optimist, Kirby took it as an opportunity to build the house of her dreams from the foundation up.

From an idea on paper to brick and mortar, Kirby worked closely with many of the vendors she has built relationships with over the years. Cashing in on years of favors, she was able to get products and materials at cost and used some of what she thinks are the region’s most talented craftsmen.
We caught up with Kirby to talk about her new five bedroom, four and a half bathroom home:
“My company is Builder’s Design Resource. As a designer I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to see what’s going on in the real estate market and pay close attention to detail. I have been so fortunate to work with some the industry’s leading providers of building materials. All the vendors that provided products for our home are experts in their fields. They offer the highest quality products for a fair price.”


Who was the builder of your house? Chuck Clark of C.O. Clark, Inc.

How different is the floor plan from what you started out with?
This was formerly a Colonnade Home by John Weiland, a very formal plan. Typical formal dining room, formal living room, keeping room, breakfast room, but the rooms were separated and closed by doors and walls. I completely opened the floor plan into an open concept, so when we entertain we all feel like we are not separated. The upstairs bedrooms are very similar as well as the basement.
I really owe the redesign credit to Steve Haarman of Design Works who took my vision and put it on paper.

You said you added an extra 9 feet to the master, did you add any extra bathrooms or bedrooms or did those pretty much stay the same?
We did not add any extra bedrooms or bathrooms. By adding the 9 feet, we were able to expand the master bedroom, closet and bathroom. By design, this also allowed an additional 9 feet in the basement master bedroom which we use as Paul’s (her husband) office.

Tell me a little about the kitchen. What kind of counter tops and cabinets did you put in?

Counter tops are white macibus, a beautiful quartzite, which is a very dense natural stone in the marble family, with neutral creams and a navy vein. The master bath has shadow storm and fantasy brown in the other baths; both are super marbles provided by Premier Surfaces.
(The) cabinets are by J.C. Carithers of Cabinets and Countertops Inc.  I chose Bristol white for the perimeter of the kitchen and navy for the island. The cabinet style is shaker. I chose a smoke color for the remaining baths.

How about the appliances?
The appliances are Thermodor, which are distributed through Builder’ Specialties, Inc. or BSI. We selected a 36” Pro Range Cooktop, Microwave drawer, dishwasher and column refrigeration, which allows you to select the size of the refrigerator and freezer. We selected a 30” refrigerator and 18” freezer. BSI also provided the double sided fireplace and garage doors.
Floors were by Jeri Nelson at Southern Floor Worx. I selected a 5” white oak, site-finished floor. The finish was a combination of stains by Minwax. Jeri also did all the tile work as well as the carpet in the basement.

You preferred the local vendors because they are close and dependable. Can you elaborate on that?
Most of the vendors and I have worked together on other projects. I have worked with many of them for years completing thousands of homes in all different price ranges. They have proven to be reliable on installs and stand behind their work and products.

What are some of the major changes you made?
I moved the staircase. It used to land in the kitchen, which I never liked. It is now located between the family room and the living area. We also took out the traditional fireplace in the living room and the stack stone fireplace in the keeping room. I opted for the indoor outdoor fireplace in the living area so we can use (it) on the screened porch as well. In the keeping room we have a wall of windows with a beautiful view. The living room used to have a vaulted ceiling, we updated it to a 12 foot coffered ceiling.
We added the outdoor fireplace and patio.

So what in the house did you have handcrafted?
Perkins Wood Works take credit for the enormous hand-hued beams in the house as well as all of the tongue and groove ceilings on the porches and the wood on the porch floors.
The stone was provided by Rockyard Stone in Gainesville and the stone mason was a true artisan!

Kirby says their favorite parts of the home have been the kitchen and the outdoor patio and fireplace.

“I have designed thousands of new homes for clients. This is the first time I was able to do my own home from start to finish! Watching the process was enlightening.”

What advice do you have for others who may be renovating?
Use a dependable builder and a designer that can pull all the products together and turn a vision into reality. Use dependable subcontractors that are licensed and insured. Sometimes the cheapest is not the best.
Add an additional 20 percent of funding to any project … it just happens.

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