Modern Beauty on the Brow

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By Christina Davenport | Photography by Ryan Dugger/Creative Revolver

At the culmination of this extraordinary renovation project situated on the brow, Jay Caughman of Caughman + Caughman Architects found himself reflecting on what is likely to be one of the most memorable projects of his career.

“This home is very special to me for a variety of reasons,” he explains. “Not only did I design the master suite addition for one of the previous homeowners over 25 years ago when I was at an earlier stage in my career, but this was also the last project I worked on with Steve Ward of Sun Construction. We’ve done quite a number of homes together over the years, and this is one I will never forget.”

But it’s not just the sentimental nature of the home that has reserved it a special place in Caughman’s heart. It also showcases unparalleled beauty, simplicity, and quality to all who enter.

Less Is More

Stepping through the home’s glass and white oak front door transports visitors straight into the expansive living space where scenic vistas and streamlined style reign.

“I never want a clear delineation of what is new and what is old. At the end of the day, you want whatever it is you are working on to look like it’s always been there,” explains Caughman. “With any renovation I do, my main goal is to take the wants and needs of the client and marry them with choices that are true to the architectural style.”

In an effort to do just that, Caughman expertly converted a sparse, open space into one where each area has its own defining factors, but the homeowners’ minimalist aesthetic can still take center stage.

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Lighting: Southern Lighting

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The living space is a prime example and is not only sectioned off due to its sunken nature, but is also surrounded by white support columns that stretch to the Cyprus tongue-and-groove ceiling. These elements, when layered, create a unique living space that is grounded by a grandiose stone wall. Outfitted with a sleek, linear fireplace, this part of the home truly represents the best of both worlds. The stone brings in a natural element that works in unison with the incredible views, while the fireplace shape is an artful and modern touch.

“Lighting this space also presented an inimitable challenge,” explains Caughman. “The ceilings are so high that it would have been difficult to have light shine up and effectively bounce back down to ground level, and we didn’t want to obstruct the view by adding chandeliers or pendants of any kind.”

To solve this dilemma, LED strips were added to the top of the upper beam, while the bottom accommodates track lighting. In addition, sconces dot the posts that encapsulate this space and go virtually unnoticed.

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In the adjacent space, additional columns work in tandem with a lower ceiling height to define the kitchen and dining area. Slab cabinetry and cabinetry-style appliances do little to distract from the landscape on the horizon.

“Part of this home’s wow factor comes from its positioning on the mountain,” Caughman elaborates. “The lot is situated on a knoll, so you have a view that’s greater than the 180 degrees you find on most bluff homes.”

An oversized waterfall island features quartz that is embellished with gray veining, and tucked underneath are six barstools. A large dining table nearby boasts the same material and can accommodate 10, but the seating options don’t stop there. A modern square table in the corner of the room provides a more intimate area to grab a quick meal or indulge in conversation.

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Across the room from the primary kitchen, a quaint kitchenette makes entertaining a breeze. Just steps away from a shuffleboard table, a small island seats two and is situated in front of the same slab-style cabinetry. Glass backsplash tiles with white backing offer up depth, and the lightness of the space is broken up with a striking painting on the second floor. The bold oranges, reds, and greens of the artwork are unexpected and add a personal flair to the uncluttered main living space. Separated only by three columns, this space is simultaneously its own while also being open to the conversation pit that serves as the living room.

stone wall and wood floating stairs with a minimal and clean look

Ironwork: Proctor Fabrication

“One of my favorite elements of this home is the staircase.
The treads pull in the same type of wood that’s seen on the front door, and the stone wall mimics the fireplace, so this one piece provides a lot of continuity while also maintaining the owners’ style and essentially being its own work of art.”

– Jay Caughman, Caughman + Caughman Architects


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Tucked into the far corner of the home is the master suite where captivating scenery can again be found.

“In this room, as with the rest of the house, we had to pay close attention to everything surrounding the windows,” explains Caughman. “We took our time making sure we had the perfect selection and what we picked out would be beautiful and durable.”

Also beautiful in its own right is the zen bathroom. Complete with heated floors and a coffee station, the same no-frills aesthetic dominates this space. Clean lines comprise a freestanding soaking tub, and a bamboo mat, along with a tub tray, adds warmth to the space. Wood is pulled in once more with the utilization of two floating shelves that are peppered with various cacti and succulents.

Zen master bathroom with heated floors

Tile: Louisville Tile

white modern bathroom with floating wood shelves

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Accessible from the master suite is the outdoor living space. An expansive L-shaped composite deck is outfitted with various seating arrangements primed for conversation, and a glass barrier guarantees uninterrupted sightlines. A flight of stairs leads down to a luxurious pool where the valley is visible between the steel and cable railing.

“Everything about this home, from the railing and the lighting to the furniture and the fixtures, captures the essence that less is more,” explains Caughman. “It wasn’t without a lot of effort, but this home came together beautifully. Tempering wants, needs, style, and architectural precedent was a fun challenge that has resulted in a truly one-of-a-kind home.”

Other suppliers: Cabinetry: Tony Cordell, T&C Cabinets | Countertops: Scenic City Tile and Granite | Fireplace: Therm-Con | Floors: Choo Choo Carpets & Floor Coverings, Inc. | Hardware and dining table base: Jeff Sparks, Tubal Cain Ironworks | Painting: FPA Painting | Stone: Adam Stephens Construction | Tile installation: Kevin Whited | Trim: Sun Construction | Upholstery: Cumberland Canvas & Upholstery

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