Gignoux/Summer Home

Peg Gignoux and David Summer needed a home for a combined family and a busy creative and social life within a very small compass. This 1,874 s.f. Carrboro house includes three bedrooms, two baths, and a 320 s.f. studio as well as a spacious multi-level living/dining/kitchen area. Peg just loved talking about it:   

"Choosing James came about in a funny way. We decided on the land and the builder. James was the designer for the development project. Though I didn't know James beforehand, for me it was love at first sight.

"Once we started the project, we looked to James for ideas, rather than pore over a lot of magazines. There are so many choices they can create anxiety. James understood that we wanted the complexity to be in our use of the house, not in the house itself. James was also very patient and let us know that we didn't need to figure out everything at once. We could let some things rest and pick them up later. We had a huge amount of trust in him so we accepted that advice. When we revisited the issues, we did resolve them just fine.

"Because James understands how to design to materials, we avoided a lot of waste.

"We were just talking recently about what we might do differently if we had it to do over again. Our answer was
not much! We're very happy about the way our home turned out.

"The house is sunny and warm, yet cools down well. It's nice that the utilities are not so high. The house even cleans up well. That was an issue with me. I didn't want a lot of surfaces to catch dust. On the outside, James helped us create a sense of privacy in a crowded place, in town.

"Though the house is small, all the spaces function happily. Naturally, if we had a larger budget we'd be tempted to make it bigger. But as it is, the house is so much better than the 'McMansions' out there. We like the looks, the feel, and the energy the spaces convey.

"One important area is the studio. James understood that I wanted it to look large. He did some subtle things to accomplish that, to gain the emotional space I wanted. Now I have an ideal studio that positively affects my work.

"Guests also respond to the house. They comment about how good the artwork looks. There's something about the lighting. Others remark that the house is the same size as theirs but seems so much roomier. They say, 'Wow, this is really cool!'"