The Pink House, as it is affectionately known, has been a Shandon landmark since it was built in 1929. Shari Hutchinson and Tim Carrier, her husband, had often thought of buying the charming bungalow, and when it came on the market in 2009, they jumped at the chance to make it theirs.
Over the next several years, renovation projects included kitchen and bathroom remodels, electrical, plumbing, and a new roof in February 2016. But then came that major storm in June.
Tim dropped off groceries during his lunch hour and had just left the house; Shari was still at work when she got the phone call. A microburst had uprooted a large oak tree that came crashing down onto the house. The impact was so forceful that it moved the roofline by 6 feet. The massive tree and its limbs crushed the dining room and went through the living room and kitchen.
Neighbors reacted quickly, rescuing the couple’s two dogs and saving artwork from getting wet. “I was just on autopilot,” Shari says. For the next couple of months, they explored finding a way to save as much of the house as possible, but the structure had simply sustained too much damage. “So then it became new construction,” says Shari, “and that meant meeting new codes and restrictions.”
While they intended to build the home back as closely to the original as possible, modifications were required. “We had to move the foundation 11 inches for the easement, so we ended up having to take out the pool,” says Tim. They had hoped to salvage the original windows from the house, but since they did not meet code, they couldn’t be used.
“I had come to the point that I really had no hope that we could rebuild,” says Shari.
But rebuild they did. Fast forward to March 2017, and the beautiful Pink House was back. And for all intents and purposes, it is as true to the original as new construction guidelines allow, along with a few improvements.
Shari gives her husband all the credit for getting them back in the house. “Tim was the one who took up the mantle to design the house,” she says, explaining that he relied upon the professional expertise of contractor Don Blackstone and master builder Mike Tokar to refine the plans.
To help them with the rebuild and to provide guidance to the new interior design, Shari and Tim turned to their longtime friend Dan Riscili, an interior designer from New York. “Dan and I met when I was producing jazz programming in New York,” says Shari. “He had helped us with our first home and with the first remodel of the Pink House.”
Dan’s initial reaction to the destruction of the house was relief that everyone was safe, including the dogs. When the couple realized they would have to rebuild completely, Dan knew Shari and Tim would have the opportunity to incorporate changes that they couldn’t do during the first go-round. “Aesthetically, the new property now has symmetry,” he says. “The layout is similar, but we were able to open up the flow and create a roomier feeling by raising the ceiling height.”
Tim wanted to make the house feel as close to the original as possible. “We really loved the old house, and we knew we had to find ways of putting things back in that mattered,” he says, “because we truly mourned losing the character of the house.”
One major change is the interior color. When they moved in, the interior was already freshly painted Sherwin-Williams’ ‘Unbelievable Buff,’ a color Tim describes as a “real estate agent’s color.”
“We wanted something warm and serene this time,” says Shari. The walls throughout the entire house are now ‘Intellectual Gray’ with ‘Alabaster’ trim and ‘Black Fox’ doors. All paint colors are from Sherwin-Williams.
To open the flow of the house, they added a large opening to replace a small door and wall that separated the kitchen and dining room. Since the tree damaged most of the furnishings in the dining room, save one chair, when it crushed the room, Shari and Tim decided to go for an entirely new look. Tim chose an Amish-made table with hammered copper top from Marty Rae’s.
“We wanted something sturdy that we wouldn’t have to worry about scratching,” she says. Paige round-back dining chairs with green linen on black frames are from World Market and provide a nice contrast to the copper.
Fortunately, they were able to save most furnishings in the living room, including a black leather sofa and two slipper chairs that Dan had recovered in gray and white houndstooth. “Our neighbor is a huge Alabama fan,” says Tim, “so we told her we had them covered to suit her.” They were also able to save the wrought iron and travertine coffee table that now holds a prized collection of paperweights given to Shari by the late famed jazz pianist Marian McPartland. For many years, Shari produced Marian’s program for National Public Radio.
One of the most significant changes for the living room is the fireplace surround. Originally, the house had two fireplaces, but they eliminated the one in the study. With the new color scheme, they wanted a fresh look and found a local company, Fire Cast Stone, which makes surrounds of concrete and fiberglass. “The Riviera mantle is classic and clean,” says Tim, “and it seems to offer a period feel.”
During the process of rebuilding, Shari still had her doubts as to whether she would ever feel the same about the house again. “This surround was my first glimmer of hope,” she says.
The kitchen also underwent a great transformation. Fortunately, they were able to salvage the kitchen cabinets that were just 3 years old. “That was a tremendous cost savings,” says Tim. The change came with the decision to flip the kitchen, moving the cabinetry from the exterior wall to the opposite side. That allowed for the installation of a triple window and for additional light to flow into the room. Dan also convinced Shari and Tim to upgrade their appliances.
“They both love to cook and do a great deal of entertaining,” Dan says, “so it was important to have appliances that wouldn’t have to be replaced in a couple of years.” Shari is thrilled with her new Bertazzoni gas range. “I figured that if I was going to get a new one, then was the time to do it.”
They also added a large kitchen island. “It’s the gathering spot,” says Shari, “a major improvement where people can sit and eat while I cook.” Pendant lights from One Eared Cow Glass highlight the countertop of Wild Sea granite, and the bar stools are made from wooden tractor seats from Restoration Hardware. “Everyone talks about how comfortable they are,” she says.
To help control light from the windows, Tim found dual sheer zebra shades from Chicology. Because they have plantation shutters throughout the house, they considered those as well for the kitchen window but decided they would be too heavy and dark. “We love the varying opacity and lightness, and raising or lowering the shades is incredibly smooth,” he says.
At the end of the kitchen, what appears to be a bookcase for Shari’s recipe books and other collectables is actually a Murphy door or hidden door that leads into the pantry. This design element turns what would otherwise be just a boring door into an interesting feature. “Tim did all the research to find these and incorporated them into the kitchen and two more in the study,” says Shari.
Because the house sits on a slab foundation, they initially considered having concrete floors. But as concrete is known to do, a hairline crack appeared, so they installed bamboo flooring in a java color that complements the gray walls and the black doors.
But they did use the concrete floor in the bathrooms and Shari’s walk-in closet. A ‘Cowboy’ stain with dark reddish tones is covered with a protective layer of lacquer. As in the rest of the house, clean lines dominate the decor in the hall bathroom as well. The focal point is the Fresca acrylic cantilevered sink. “I like the modern look, plus it’s easier to clean underneath,” he says.
The color schemes for the master and guest bedrooms are similar, with fabrics of gray to blend into the gray walls. In keeping with the contemporary ambiance, the beds are platform style with fabric headboards from Bohemian. Since the pool had to be removed, Shari and Tim added French doors leading from their bedroom onto a sitting porch with a pergola above.
They also made major renovations in the master bath. The master and a three-quarters bath were originally accessed through the hallway, but the renovation allowed the owners to move the access for the master bath to the master bedroom, making it a true suite. Shari now has a separate shower and tub. A granite surround of Itaunas White extends into the shower, providing a shower shelf. “I saw the idea online and liked the clean look along with the functionality,” Tim says.
Shari also has her own closet, accessed through the master bath. “The guest room, for some reason, had a large closet,” Tim recalls, “so we ended up moving the door to make it the closet for the master suite.”
Art has always been an important part of Shari’s life, and she has an extensive collection from artists such as renowned South Carolina artist J. Bardin as well as pieces from local artist Alicia Leeke, among others. “Our neighbors were so wonderful when the tree fell,” Shari remembers. “They not only saved our dogs, but they took art off the walls so it wouldn’t get ruined in the rain.”
Shari and Tim think of the neighbors and residents of Shandon when they consider why they rebuilt. “The house has been a landmark in Shandon for so long,” Shari says. “In fact, so many people were interested in what was going to happen with the house that our neighbors created a Facebook page so that everyone could follow along.”
While they still miss the old house, Shari and Tim are grateful to be back in the neighborhood again where they can continue to hold their annual Christmas oyster roasts and entertain friends for their community fundraisers. “It’s not really just our house,” says Shari. “It’s the house of the neighborhood.”