House Trend Magazine – May 2007
Ahead of its Time
By Lee Rhodes
SINUOUS CURVES, A CONTEMPORARY YET COMFORTABLE INTERIOR AND AN ENVIOUS VIEW OF LAKE WYLIE MAKE THIS HOME STAND OUT FROM THE PACK.
THE PROMISE OF SPARKLING WATERS, lush forest and rural beauty are what first drew the McSpadden family to Lake Wylie in 1987, and the promise of building their dream home on its shores is what kept them there.
Fittingly, the history of how the family came to reside in this home in intertwined with Doug McSpadden’s professional background. As founder and owner of McSpadden Custom Homes, a renowned waterfront homebuilder, Doug exemplifies excellence in all that he does. He also recognizes potential when he sees it. From the vantage point of his former home in Forest Cove, he recognized the potential of a nearby piece of property and approached the developer about buying and building on two waterfront lots.
A groundbreaking design
The original plan called for the McSpadden home on one lot and a spec home on the other, but after Doug completed the latter, the family decided to move in. As the most expensive spec home in Gaston County at the time, the project represented what Doug calls “a leap of faith.”
“We were nervous, but nonetheless took the chance,” recounts Doug. “Why? We wanted to set the bar as high as we comfortably could because we were going to live next door.”
The spec home went on to garner prestigious awards, and since that time, other million and multi-million dollar homes have cropped up along this area of shoreline, know as Misty Waters, and adjoining communities. In the wake of this success, Doug embarked on the creation of his dream home on the second lot.
A vested interest
He enjoyed the luxury of developing his site over a five-year period and studied its every aspect, including topography and prevailing winds. The initial time investment directly correlates to how well the finished product suits the McSpadden’s way of life. “The home was designed for our current lifestyle which [centers around] two active teenage boys,” says Doug.
Doug, a graduate architect, created the conceptual design and the firm of Christopher Phelps and Associates completed the working drawing to pull it all together. The design incorporated four primary quadrants, the first a 50x50-foot living area that encompasses dining room, foyer, study, great room, eat-in kitchen and terrace. A tribute to openness, the first quadrant has little division and will ultimately work well as a retirement retreat for Doug and his wife. “Laurie and I will be able to totally live in that space and not have to go anywhere else once the kids are gone,” he explains.
Retirement considerations were also key to the development of the master suite, or second quadrant. The suite is equally open and even wheelchair accessible. Extensive resources and energy were poured into this wing, which contains a sitting area, dressing room-master bath combination and private access to the study.
The third quadrant serves as guest suite and utility area, while the fourth includes the boys’ spaces, two additional guest suites and a spacious recreation area. All four function independently yet remain intertwined.
Soaring to new heights
One connection they share is a unique feature that defines much of the home: the average ceiling heights. “This is going to shake a few people up,” Doug says, “but more intimate spaces come with 10 to 12-foot ceilings and not the 20 or 30-foot ceilings that are so popular today.”
He muses that since people walk and live in a horizontal plane, it’s counter-intuitive to waste space above our heads. Content to resist the trend, he built exactly what he wanted, and the result is a warmer, more companionable space.
The ceilings are not the only arena in which Doug broke the mold, but in every case, he embraced simple concepts and the notion that less is more. “From the curved surfacing walls to custom-designed windows, we pushed the envelope,” explains Doug.
For the home’s exterior, Doug incorporated architectural details that represent a Southwestern motif. The outdoor columns, for instance, encompass colors and textures that pay tribute to the region. “I really focused on a more contemporary and unique column detail,” he says. “I wanted to marry the wood and not have a column feel quite so cool.”
A well-defined living space
Numerous differentiators define the home’s interior, and the kitchen boasts many of these. There’s a Sub-Zero wine cooler, 48-inch Dacor double oven, exquisite stone backsplash, and of course, curves and multi-level cabinetry. From the surfacing-glass window walls to the extra-deep appliance garages, the kitchen is a dynamic space that encourages movement.
Inspired by what they once enjoyed in a family beach house, the McSpaddens designed their kitchen so as to encourage lingering. “We wanted people to no want to get to get up after a meal,” Doug says.
Also designed to encourage family interaction, the great room sets the scene for all of the family’s primary living functions. The fireplace and hearth occupy pride of place in the room, which incorporates dining, casual living, a conversation pit and theater. Daphne Friday, an interior designer for the Tile Collection, helped Doug select the tile and stone seen throughout the house.
Another room filled with noteworthy details is the master bath, which evolved from a need to create a more substantial element on the front right corner of the house.
“I have always said not to waste a ton of square footage in your master bath, because how much time do you spend there?” says Doug. “But now I’m eating my words.”
The roomy bath is comprised of his-and-her dressing areas, storage lockers, a walk-around shower with multiple heads, heated tile floors, custom cherry cabinets, and under-counter washer and dryer and a large Jacuzzi tub. “This is the finest master bath we’ve built,” says Doug. “The whole day goes better when you get up and there’s so much room.”
Looking beyond the walls
His favorite space, however, is not within the home itself but outdoors in full view of the aforementioned sparkling waters. The terrace and swimming pool are large enough to accommodate good-sized social events yet small enough to be intimate.
With his dream home a reality and his company more successful than ever, Doug remains passionate about the industry and committed to the challenge of going in new, innovative directions. “It’s not just about producing houses,” he says. “It’s about pursuing the unique and the creative. It’s about wrestling with new ideas and concepts and then finding a way to make them work.”