This (Old) New House

06 Jan 2021

Home renovation projects to inspire vision, creativity, and change in 2021


Bluewater Surfaces

“Out with the old, in with the new” is a common sentiment these days, especially as 2020 is behind us and a new year has just begun. It is a time for new beginnings, new goals, new projects, new hopes, and new dreams. For several Wilmington, NC, homeowners, it is a time of relishing in new home renovations that have brought visions and dreams to life. These local designers and craftsmen know how to help clients realize their dreams, by offering remodeling, design, and installation services.

Dustin Braudway of Bluewater Surfaces is one of Southeastern NC’s premiere surface artisans, and his incredible stonework was essential in helping bring homeowner Carey Brown’s vision of a remodeled home to life.

“When my husband and I first saw the property online, we were taken by the location and how the house spoke to its surroundings. It’s essentially a one room wide sprawling structure that hugs the shoreline of Howes Creek,” explained Brown. “Every room embraces magnificent views of the ebbing and flowing creek tide and the endless display of fish and bird activity.”

The Browns purchased the home in spring of 2019 knowing that they intended to do an extensive renovation. The original owners, along with their architect Michael Moorefield and builder Fred Murray, built a timeless masterpiece. “It just needed updating and personalizing,” said Brown.  “There were changes I wanted to make, and there were very intentional elements in the original architecture that I wanted to respect; elements like a simple yet deliberate angle or spacing that appeared not so apparently in all of the finish detail.”

When developing the design and scope of projects, Brown took cues from the way the house captured light and some of the materials used. For example, the main living space of the house had heavily veined black walnut flooring that Brown continued throughout the house wherever possible.

According to Brown, “The most important design inspiration for me was the living room fireplace in the center of the home. It’s style and craftsmanship are simple and elegant. The gold travertine surface of the material possesses a beautiful cork like texture that begs you to touch it. Many design elements and finishes during this renovation were driven by that stone.”

Brown conducted extensive research to find a complimentary material to resurface a ‘sister’ fireplace visible on the other end of the house in what had been a den, but would become the dining room. Brown also wanted the same material to carry the eye from one space to the other in the kitchen that joined the two via a new island that ended up being nearly fourteen feet long.

“The new stone choice, a Macaubus white quartzite from Bluewater Surfaces, had the coloration, striation and durability I was looking for,” noted Brown. “It ended up in multiple applications throughout the project, and I believe I laid claim to every slab possible. It’s a beautiful stone of a light background with natural variation and heavy veining of gray and tan; just what I wanted to accentuate yet contrast the gold travertine.”

Brown worked to replicate the same aesthetic in the dining fireplace in the cut and spacing as had been created in the living room and chose to have the quartzite honed in the kitchen. “Thankfully Dustin eventually ran out of the material, so I had to think outside of the box for a piece in our powder room,” explained Brown. “I found a scrap of Copa with magnificent colors and texture that quickly became one of my very favorites. The stone called the shots for the rest of that little project with the deep veining of gold and black driving my choices in grass cloth wallpaper, fixtures and art frames.”

Renovations to the master bathroom were driven by inspiration from spaces previously experienced and some specific needs and wants derived from how the Browns intended to use the space. “I wanted to open up the space and opted for white Carrara marble. It was transformative to tear out the old catacomb steam shower and surround the space with clean white stone and glass,” said Brown. “I had fallen in love with the look of full stone slabs and slatted wood ceilings seen in magazines and trips taken when we could still travel. I wanted a large shower and tub area.”

The Brown’s renovation project took over 7 months to complete. “While it seemed like an eternity then, we were very fortunate to have access to materials, talented trades folks and artisans, and the ability and confidence to have work performed indoors as changed immediately because of COVID,” said Brown.

When considering your own home renovation projects, Brown suggests, “When the house can’t adapt, I’d encourage you not to be afraid to push your own limits. There are tangible things in our home now that started as doodles on a scrap piece of paper. It just takes a dream, a little stubbornness and the right people to help you bring your vision to life.”

Braudway encourages clients and those thinking about undertaking a remodeling project to “think about how the different materials will play with each other. You don't want a bunch of busy, over dramatic materials fighting each other. Pick out the “wow” factor and work off and around that.”  

Bluewater Surfaces is a 3rd generation fabricator of unique materials such as Marble, Soapstone, Quartzite, Glass and Engineered Concrete Countertops, Furniture and Functional Art. “We have dedicated our lives to working and shaping natural stone tiles and slabs, engineered concrete and Sintered Stones into everyday surfaces” said Braudway. “Using new technologies with old world craftsmanship, we are providing higher quality and more environmentally friendly surfaces for your home and office.”

Bluewater Surfaces, 4022 Market St., Wilmington, 910-233-9629,

Dynamic Kitchens & Interiors

 Alice Everett Evans is the co-owner of and a professional designer at Dynamic Kitchens & Interiors, which she runs alongside her husband and general contractor, John. “Together we provide a turnkey experience that goes beyond what you might expect from a kitchen designer,” said Evans. While they work with new constructions, the Evans’ passion is remodels, especially kitchen remodels. Evans is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) through the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers. With over 30 years of design experience, Evans worked on remodeling a kitchen for homeowners Becky and Bob Underwood, transforming it into a light, clean space perfect for a home in a coastal city.

According to Evans, “The biggest change was taking out the porch wall and extending the kitchen to be an extra 7’ deep. The kitchen was too small and hardly had any storage.” Evans and her team worked to increase space and storage. They created two tall pantries and added 20 drawers throughout the kitchen to solve the storage problem. Additionally, the new kitchen adds storage and functionality with 2 working sides and a side for seating.

“The Underwoods wanted a separate beverage area with a sink, and then the cooking area,” explained Evans. “The renovation took longer than first expected, because of the challenges of expanding into a porch area which had a different flooring height. The challenge was making the flooring run smoothly into the new space. If one is thinking of renovating a kitchen, it is important to be flexible with the time table.”

The kitchen renovation was a joint project with Insight development and Dynamic Kitchens & Interiors. “The perimeter cabinets are white, and the island is Sherwin Williams “Salty Dog” blue. The cabinets are by Designer Choice Cabinetry,” noted Evans. “The door style is Recessed panel Traditional Shaker door. The counter tops were by Southeastern Marble and Granite, and the stone choice was Visconti. The tile backsplash tile was from Southeastern Tile Connection, and the selection was watercolor cloud.”

Dynamic Kitchens & Interiors strives to “inspire with results! If we can encourage our clients to find creative solutions for their home, then we have succeeded,” said Evans. The company offers a myriad of services including remodeling rooms, constructing new rooms, and consulting prior to projects. “We put our hearts and souls into a project from start to finish. From the initial meeting to the last piece being put in place, our passion will be obvious.”

Dynamic Kitchens & Interiors,
1815 Carolina Beach Rd., Wilmington,

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