As they searched for a new place to call home, Shawn and Kristine Safford discovered Roanoke had practically everything they wanted, right down to a historic house to renovate and make their own.
Note: The story below appears in our Jan./Feb. 2015 issue. For the full story download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
When Shawn Safford, a pediatric surgeon at Carilion Clinic, finished his obligations to the Navy, he and wife Kristine had their first opportunity to choose where they wanted to live.
“Between his military and medical training, we’ve always been told where to go,” Kristine says. “Since we could pick, we really looked extensively for a new home.”
City life? Check. Cultural opportunities? Check. Outdoor activities? Check. Friendly residents? Check. Yes, almost every box on their must-have list was checked off in Roanoke, Kristine says.
Just as important, she adds, was the opportunity to own an older home. Though they were torn between living in the mountains or having a lot of land, the appeal of South Roanoke was hard to resist. After choosing their home, it was evident they had found the best of both worlds, and more.
“We have a nice sizeable yard and Shawn is close to work,” Kristine says. “The contrast (with their former home in Washington, D.C.) is impressive. We spend less time in the car and are able to do so much more in a smaller city.”
The Saffords’ home was built in 1914 by Charles Lunsford and was later sold to the Andrews family, who made a few modern upgrades to accommodate their five children. With four children of their own, the Saffords appreciate the two shower stalls in the children’s bathroom and the huge attic space that serves as a playroom.
They also love the history and character of the home. And with what Kristine calls an “eclectic style,” the couple find the home to be the perfect setting for antiques and consignment-shop finds.
At the same time, the home was in need of some renovations to add some modern amenities and repair damage to the walls and ceiling. But with the help of Building Specialists Inc., the Saffords made every effort to also preserve the history of the home and choose things that stayed true to its era.
“It was wonderful to work with clients who wanted to keep the historic character of the home intact,” says Ellie Rigby, project manager for Building Specialists.
According to Rigby, older homes can come with many “unknowns” when it comes to renovating. Luckily, she says, the Safford home was extremely well built.
Renovations included modernizing the kitchen, creating an open living space near the kitchen, transforming an area into a mudroom, updating wiring to bring the home into the modern century, adding an entryway and taking care of cosmetic needs.
What They Did: The Kitchen
The home was originally equipped with a very small kitchen, which Krisitine says was used only by servants and butlers at the time it was built. It connected to a room that was added as a screened porch and later became an all-season room.
The original kitchen became a pantry. Where the kitchen appliances are located now was a solid wall beforehand. Portions of the wall between the new kitchen and the all-season room were knocked down to create an open space.
“The area felt like three completely different spaces and had a choppy feel,” Kristine says. “We wanted one giant, cohesive area.”