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Polishing of a Vintage Gem

Charlotte is filled with many wonderful older neighborhoods that offer advantages over the outlying suburbs. Tree-lined streets, the convenience of shorter commutes, walking distance to great neighborhood restaurants and pubs, and homes that are beaming with character.

The problem is, many of these older homes lack open floor plans and the space requirements of growing families. For some people, undertaking the necessary improvements is simply too much to bear, and a new home in the suburbs is the best choice. For others, remodeling is a small price to pay for the lifestyle that Charlotte’s older neighborhoods offer.

For Peter and Susan Harrison of Elizabeth, they were willing to tough it out for the required four to six months of a renovation, because they loved their house and their neighborhood.

“I bought my home in Elizabeth over eight years ago when I was single,” said Peter. “But several years ago, I got married and now that my wife and I are planning a family, we simply needed more space,” said Harrison.

They retained a local architect to guide them through the process of applying for historic tax credits and the home design.

For inspiration, the Harrison’s rode through neighborhoods like Dilworth and Plaza Midwood, noting what contractor’s signs seemed prevalent and noting the quality of the work. They were particularly impressed with the work of The McAllister Group, a Charlotte-based general contracting firm specializing in remodeling and additions.

Larry McAllister heads up The McAllister Group’s residential construction division.

“The Harrison’s and I shared a passion for the preserving the character of old homes and we both had a distaste for renovation projects where the additions are out of character with the home and neighborhood,” said McAllister. The new design called for some complex framing and structural modifications to blend the new addition in with the older art of the home.

For the Harrison’s, not only was the seamless integration from old to new important, so too was their comfort and convenience – they decided to stay in the downstairs part of the home during their entire renovation.

“Between the Harrison’s living in their home during the renovation, the attention to detail to comply with the historic preservation office requirements and the reuse of many building materials, this was a challenging project but also very satisfying to see completed,” notes McAllister.

“Just like in marriage, you have to be flexible, patient and forgiving when you are living in a home during a renovation,” said Peter with a smile. “But at the end of the day, we love this house and are extremely happy with the construction team that the McAllister Group assembled. I think we’re ready for whatever our growing family’s needs are.”

Urban Home Magazine, January/February/March 2006

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