A Fashionable Facade for this Florida Ranch

This Winter Park, Fla., remodeled ranch home embodies a lakefront view with clean, modern lines and creative accesses that capture its dramatic landscape composition.

By Lauren Felechner
Photography by Harvey Smith Photography

For the homeowners of the Lake Catherine remodel project in Winter Park, Fla., life was a bit off kilter — literally. This 1960s style, Floridian, waterfront ranch may have a lakefront view, but it also had an entryway that was off-center, calling for a much-needed weighted balance. Enter Phil Kean, owner of Phil Kean Designs, Inc., architect, builder and general contractor for this project. What may have begun with a little nip and tuck, turned into a full-blown face lift for Lake Catherine, and earned itself the title as this year’s annual Pubby Award winner for “Remodel of the Year — over $250,000.” “Outside was very plain Jane,” Kean stated. “We generally start the process by the location of the house. For this lot with a lakefront view, we started with an assessment of the home and wanted to make the negative aspects to positive. If that wasn’t possible, then we wouldn’t make the negative a focal point,” Kean said.

Known for his style of indoor and outdoor living design, Phil Kean Designs Inc., was the appropriate multi-dimensional design company to hire for this extensive project. With an interest in Kean’s previous home designs and projects, the homeowners of Lake Catherine admired his lifestyle design technique and wanted Kean to carry out their vision of clean lines without blowing their budget. Alongside Kean was Rob Turner, principal of interior design, PKD Studio, LLC, and interior designer for this remodel. With a mid-century, warm, classic and modern theme for both the interior and exterior design, Kean and Turner were able to collaborate with their clients to illustrate the home of their dreams via a 3D model program that allowed their clients to visualize the construction process before it actually began.

Beginning in September 2010 and completed on May 20, 2011, the central motif for Kean’s construction process was to be able to view the lake from every room in the home, which was originally unattainable due to every room having obstructing walls. Connecting walls for the living room, dining room and kitchen were knocked down, allowing for an all-open, yet unique and creative visual accesses, Kean described. “The original home was very segmented and was a series of small rooms. The solution was to open the space and make a grand open plan that was conducive for family activities and entertaining friends. The kitchen became the central focus for this space and its clean, Italian, modern lines helped to define the classic, modern concept,” Turner explained. Alongside the opening of the home’s indoor space, Kean added a stone texture — that in turn — added weight to the home’s entrance, ultimately balancing out the front façade. “This problem was addressed by designing an entry tower to the left of the front doors to draw focus to the entry.

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The front doors were replaced with heavy mahogany and glass doors that provide the weight the entry needed. Two windows were added to the family room on the left and one added to the dining room on the right. These changes not only added the balance and weight the front elevation needed, but also increased the home’s lake views,” explained Amy Thrasher, director of marketing, Phil Kean Designs, Inc. Since the home sits higher above the lake, Kean explained, the owners wanted the entry to feel as part of the design sequence. “You could be on the back terrace and look through the house and see the lake. You could be in the pool and see the lake,” Kean said.

During the nine months of construction, the balance and lack of open space were corrected, as well as the pool draining into the home’s porch area by Kean adding a raised edge around the pool to prevent the outflow of pool water. Besides the correction of the initial discrepancies in Lake Catherine came a number of additions made to the home, to make it more livable and available for the homeowners. A breakfast room, lanai opening to the porch, laundry room and a two-car garage were all extensions made to the home’s design. The kitchen’s composition was changed a few times throughout the process, as well as a wall having to be removed and wall pockets added for the lanai’s conception. “This home had great bones for its additions,” Kean stated.

With a new face came a new interior as well for the homeowners. “The main goal for this project was to create a warm, modern, dramatic interior for my clients to enjoy after their busy days and lifestyle,” Turner continued. “The location of the home greatly influenced the interior design. It was important for us to create a warm, modern space that the clients could enjoy while capturing the dramatic views of their landscape, architecture and lake.” With an approximate budget of $100,000 for the interior decor, Turner not only furnished Lake Catherine with crema marfilmarble floors, snow white zodiac countertops, sapele mahogany cabinetry and white linen draperies, but he also custom designed the kitchen and furniture for his clients, according to Turner.

Although remodel projects of this magnitude are typical for Kean, he still remains grateful and excited when he is asked back by a client for more work or to be given as a referral to another project. So when the homeowners of Lake Catherine asked him to remodel the three remaining bedrooms in the home that they at first, wanted to keep in their original state, but ended up changing their minds when the rest of the house was remodeled — he of course said yes. “The biggest thing to do with a client is listen; you have to create a level of trust,” Kean explained. Although Lake Catherine called for quite a few additions to and the restructure of the authentic state of the home, Kean described it as a “pretty straightforward, clean, easy process,” he continued, “What makes it successful is the simplicity of it… We didn’t try to make it something it’s not. We made simple additions to the negatives of the house to keep it midcentury modern, but just freshly polished.” With an established project team, a striking remodel transformation was the result. “The collaboration process was an amazing team effort between the client, architect and interior designer,” Turner continued — and Kean agreed, “I think it would be difficult to tell that it is the same home.”

Lauren Felechner is an assistant editor at Residential Contractor. She may be contacted atlfelechner@penpubinc.com.

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