New and stylish: A dream home becomes reality

June 24, 2012 

  • Newest trends Looking for a new place that’s on the cutting edge? The Columbia area has live-work units and urban condominiums for people on the go, smaller new homes tucked into old neighborhoods and suburban communities planned on the front end with nearby schools and shopping. Second- and third-story apartments may be as small as 500-square feet. But the trade-off is paying comfortable utility bills and getting rid of the car. The 28 apartments over Mast General Store on Columbia’s Main Street were rented by 20- to 30-something professionals before the paint was dry. Like many converted commercial spaces, they have high ceilings, hardwood floors, oversized windows and trendy finishes. Energy efficient construction practices are becoming more prevalent, helping new homeowners control their monthly heating, cooling and water bills while avoiding exposure to chemicals. The Mungo Co. just won a national award for its “hauSmart” program, used in all of its neighborhoods. Everything old is new again: Some builders are integrating neo-traditional elements in their home designs. That might mean Craftsman-style columns at the front door and, inside, generous use of moulding, built-in shelves and arched doorways. In suburban subdivisions, like Lake Carolina in Northeast Richland, the concept may be expanded to include commercial villages, too.

Cassandra Jones’ relatives like to gather at her house, even though she hasn’t had time to buy living room furniture yet.

The new, custom-built home where she and her boys moved in January is spacious and full of nice architectural touches.

In fact, their southeast Columbia home has all the newest features that new homeowners expect: arched open doorways, built-in cabinets and a master bathroom with a spacious, walk-in shower and separate jacuzzi tub.

The kitchen came with stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops and, for company, a trough sink in the built-in bar.

“It’s a good entertaining home,” said Jones, a 44-year-old physical therapist who’s working with an interior decorator-friend to find just the right furnishings.

“It’s open and airy. I love all the windows.”

The boys — son Jabari Holas, 10, and nephew A.J. Anderson, 9 — take advantage of nearby Caughman Road Park, where they play baseball and basketball.

The Richland County park is one reason Jones chose to settle where she did. The park staff makes it their business to know the kids who use the park, as well as their parents, she said.

Jones purchased a lot in 2007 and spent a couple of years talking to builders and exploring her options.

Ultimately, she chose as her builder Wade McGuinn, who has won recent industry awards for design.

“I was very impressed with the things he was doing, and I trusted he would be able to help me with what I wanted,” Jones said. “I know it when I see it, but he could pull it out of my head, make it a reality.”

She’s happy with her new house in the suburbs, 20 minutes from her job downtown — a place with “good flow,” natural light and built-in refinement, room by room.

Dawn Hinshaw writes about people, historic preservation and county government for The State.

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