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Renee and Donald Ure found their ideal house at the lake, but with her work schedule, she needed a stellar team to make their dream kitchen a reality.
When Renee and Donald Ure set out to find their second home two years ago, they wanted it to be a place where they could see themselves indefinitely. Their first home is in Raleigh, but Donald had always wanted a house at Smith Mountain Lake.
“It’s one of the deepest and cleanest lakes we’ve ever seen,” Renee Ure says. “The fact that it’s not too commercialized was a big point for us. We’re originally from upstate New York, so we wanted that small, hometown feel.”
The couple has two grown sons, Brad, 25, and Cameron, 23, who also work at IBM; when asked what he wanted for his upcoming birthday, Brad encouraged his parents to find a home at the lake so it could be their new gathering point. The couple finally found their dream home back in January, thanks to working with Jeannie West at Berkshire Hathaway. It was nearly ideal, needing only some new paint on the interior, with one major catch: the entire kitchen needed a makeover.
As vice president for global operations for IBM’s Enterprise System, Ure is an incredibly busy woman. That’s why it was important for her not only to have a lovely space to come home to, but a trustworthy team to handle her wants and needs during the renovation process while she traveled for work.
“We hope to retire in Roanoke,” Ure says. “I wanted to make sure this kitchen would stay in style for years to come.”
The kitchen was dated and awkward, with too much wasted space and not enough storage. Ure wanted something completely different; the kitchen, in her mind, was the centerpiece to the home.
“The 7-by-7 foot island is probably too big–I could put a kingsize bed on it and sleep there–but I wanted it that way. The kitchen is the gathering point, where everyone congregates around the island. Dinner with family, friends coming over to chat, it’s where every single holiday happens.”
Because Ure hadn’t seen anything she wanted from magazines and websites, she knew she’d have to work with someone to design her ideal kitchen space. Working on different time zones and planning things out during the weekends had its challenges, but Ure credits Sheri Howard of The Cabinet Gallery for the dream kitchen.
“I’m lucky they put me with someone like Sheri, who is very creative and has the patience of a saint!” Ure says, laughing. “She must’ve done 20 designs for me.”
Ure didn’t want anything “too grand,” stating she simply wanted it to feel like home. While she initially felt the kitchen looked cold before, it looks inviting and lived-in now, which was important for her desires. Howard’s team ripped everything out, allowing the layout to be as big or small as the owners wanted.