Let’s Take it Outside

The 2018 BIA award-winning renovations

Robert Clark

Columbia residents can comfortably spend 10 months out of the year enjoying the outdoors, despite the famously hot summer and early fall. As a result, homeowners are remodeling outdoor spaces to serve as an extension of a home’s interior. The outdoor “room” becomes another area for living and relaxing; plus, it adds to the livable square footage of the home.

Outdoor spaces are as beautifully and aesthetically designed as the inside of the home. This fact is clearly evident in the 2018 winner of the Columbia Remodelers Awards, presented by the Building Industry Association of SC’s Remodelers Council, which recognize exceptional redesigns. The remodeled outdoor space of Emily and Scott Garrett’s home, transformed by Palmetto Construction and Renovations, was selected as the Columbia Metropolitan Magazine’s Featured Award Winner.

CMM Featured Award Winner

Category: Outdoor Living Renovation

Contractor: Palmetto Construction and Renovations

Client: Emily and Scott Garrett

The Garretts have long known they had the space needed to create an outdoor respite, but like many homeowners, their challenge was finding the time to focus on accomplishing the project. With an existing screened-in porch they rarely used and a desire to spend more family time outdoors, the couple approached Jim Evatt and his team at Palmetto Construction and Renovations to help create a functional, elegant, comfortable outdoor living area that would extend their home and provide more room for relaxing and entertaining. Emily also called on the expertise of two others to assist in the planning and design of the new space: Jeff Lewis, with AIA — Architect, and Eveleigh Hughey, an interior designer with Brandon Davidson Interiors and a long-time friend. Jeff helped Emily and Scott work through the layout, while Eveleigh helped with the appointing and accessorizing when the project was complete.

Most importantly, Jim and his team had to remove the existing pavers in the backyard and pour concrete to ensure the new addition would be level with the screened-in porch, which was ripped out to make room for the new space. Windows that had looked onto the screened-in porch were removed in favor of convenient sliding doors that open onto the new space from the den. The new doors provide a natural sightline to the revitalized space, giving the family an uninhibited view of the back porch and providing a natural flow into the new space. The Garretts can keep the doors open when sitting on the porch or entertaining so that the two spaces meld effortlessly into one.

The Garretts wanted the addition to look original to the house and not like an add-on. To enhance the flow of the interior to exterior space, the outdoor porch was built with the same painted brick as the rest of the home. They added majestic white pillars for support and a touch of architectural sophistication.

As is often the case when living in a neighborhood, the Garretts’ home sits close to their neighbors. In order to provide privacy, they added Bermuda shutters on the side of the home, providing a retreat-like feel to the area while also allowing for a bit of seclusion.

“Bermuda shutters are a nice touch,” says Jim. “They let air and light flow through the space, but they also maintain a level of privacy.”

The outdoor space also has all of the comforts of home. Thanks to its sizeable area, the porch can be separated into three spaces. “The way the porch is situated is what makes it particularly special,” Jim continues. “Having three separate and distinct living areas provides the family with multiple arrangements for entertaining.”

One section, directly outside the sliding doors, features a quaint seating area that is ideal for an evening with friends or catching up on the day with the family. The rug under the cozy conversation area sets it apart from the rest of the space while it is still cohesive with the greater outdoor room.

A plush sectional backs up to the seating area and faces the built-in cooking space. In keeping with Emily’s decor, the outdoor space is decorated in light gray and neutral hues. Red throw pillows add pops of color. The cooking area includes a built-in grill and burners flanked by granite countertops. The must-have for the porch redesign was a fireplace.

“The fireplace has been such fun for Scott since he is from the mountains,” says Emily. “It’s just another great place to hang out and have that indoor/outdoor feel and balance. It’s cozy and a wonderful addition.” Granite countertops continue on the other side of the fireplace, and an alcove houses firewood. A television conveniently sits above the fireplace mantel.

The porch creates an L-shape on the back of the home that provides for even more space for entertaining and enjoyment. An expansive dining table is the focal point of this wing of the porch. A custom counter space and sink provide ample room for food and drinks. Underneath the counter sits a built-in wine refrigerator filled with beverages. Sleek cabinets above the countertop allow for generous storage — ensuring the family never has to step foot inside when enjoying the outdoor space!

Stained cypress wood ceilings offer a bit of a rustic ambiance to the otherwise chic surroundings, while the shimmering concrete floor is finished with an acid stain. “The floor pulls in the different colors from the fireplace and ceiling and beautifully ties it all together,” says Jim.

Modern stainless steel fans supply a cascading breeze to help offset the often stifling Columbia heat, while recessed lighting delivers a luminous glow to the space.

“Emily and Scott had a lot of great ideas,” says Jim. “We started at one place, and the ideas continued to flow and evolve. From incorporating the stack stone in the fireplace, tying it into the ceiling selection and the stain, and making sure all of the finishes went together, it was rewarding to see the finished product. I call it a porch, but it’s so much more than that!”

The Garretts point out that the space is an example of both form and function, providing enjoyment and relaxation throughout much of the year.

“It’s so important that my family has fresh air,” says Emily. “It’s amazing how much more we go outside now that we have this renewed space.” Emily says she finds herself gravitating towards different parts of the porch depending on the season. In the winter, she can often be found cozying up by the fireplace. In the spring, she is drawn to the seating area to enjoy watching her daughter and friends playing on the swing set. Meanwhile, Scott is frequently at the grill or captivated by the fireplace.

The Garretts can attest to the peace and tranquility a renewed outdoor space brings to the whole family, regardless of the temperature. Bringing the indoors outside can truly make any family appreciate the great outdoors.


Judge’s Award Level

Category: Kitchen Remodel

Contractor: Wise Guys Home Improvement

Client: Robert Sproul

A treasured breakfast table was the centerpiece for the remodel of this inefficient and outdated kitchen. Removing a wall for more space, raising the ceiling, and replacing a single back door with a double sliding door gave this room a completely different look and turned it into the Sprouls’ dream kitchen.


Category: Full Renovation —1,800 to 4,000 square feet

Contractor: Palmetto Construction and Renovations

Client: Mira and John Howard

Finding the ideal, move-in-ready home to meet their needs was becoming impossible for Mira and John Howard, so the couple purchased a 100-year-old, architecturally sound home in need of a fairly aggressive makeover. From a full kitchen remodel, new mudroom, and updated bathrooms to new wiring, plumbing, and air conditioning, in addition to many aesthetic upgrades, this stunning full-house remodel is now the Howards’ forever home.


Category: Universal Design Bath Remodel

Client: Kehoe Constructors

Client: Gay and Denny Newman

With their future in mind, the Newmans were looking to create a bathroom that would be just as suitable for them in the years to come as it is today. The bathroom was fully gutted, and the renovation included new tile, cabinets, sink, faucet, and fixtures, in addition to a new seating area. A walk-in shower was custom built to provide space for a wheelchair, while a comfort-fit toilet was installed to ensure appropriate assistance as the couple gets older. The new inviting space is thus not only beautiful, but it’s also perfectly designed for their golden years.


Category: Full Renovation — More than 4,000 square feet

Contractor: Capital Kitchen & Bath

Client: Billy Frye and Jason Carpenter

Creating an updated, functional, and comfortable home can require a lot of work. For the home of Billy Frye and Jason Carpenter, a full renovation was necessary. The entire third floor was converted into a master suite with a larger bathroom and custom closet. Walls were removed on the second floor to create an open floor plan consisting of a living room, music room, and kitchen. The finished product is a modern, functional, homey downtown dwelling.

Category: Large Kitchen Remodel

Contractor: Palmetto Construction and Renovations

Client: Angie and Robert Gahagan

While large and spacious, the kitchen of the Gahagans’ home needed updating. Plus, the couple wanted better flow from the kitchen to the rest of the home. A renovation called for completely gutting the kitchen to allow for a more open concept. The addition of custom cabinetry, a large island, and separate bar area turned this kitchen into a practical, yet decorative, dream. The addition of seven sources of lighting, as well as a large picture window, allows the family to choose from several different options, including natural light, when illuminating the room.


Category: Bath Remodel

Contractor: Wise Guys Home Improvement

Client: Jeff Ganung

This older, neglected bathroom received a beautiful makeover, complete with a new tub and new tile on the walls and the floor. A new walk-in shower, level to the floor, easily drains into a camouflaged linear drain due to an angled floor. This completely demolished bathroom was transformed into a stunning redesign with attention to even the smallest details.


Category: Large Bath Remodel

Contractor: Capital Kitchen and Bath

Client: Cammie and Foster Jordan

Capital Kitchen and Bath took an existing master bedroom, master bathroom, master closet, and adjoining bedroom on the second floor of the Jordan home and managed a luxurious 1,130-square-foot masterpiece.


Custom Building Awards

Category: $300k to $350k

Builder: Paradime Construction Inc.

Three categories: $400k to $450k, $450k to $500k, and $500k to $550k

Builder: Gallup & LaFitte, Inc.


The 2018 BIA Central SC Building & Remodeling Awards are sponsored by Columbia Metropolitan Magazine and The Building Center, Inc.