Text by Joanne M. Anderson
Photos by Natalie Gibbs Photography
For some, 3rd time is a charm, but for Brandon and Nicole Craig, it was the 30th time that produced the charm, and that charm is way in abundance. “We looked at 29 homes before we found this one,” relates Nicole. “We had a home built in Riner, and once out there, decided we did not like being that far from town. As soon as we walked in, we knew it was the house for our family.”
A craftsman-style bungalow built in 1920, the home exudes charm, style and function at every turn. The couple bought it from house flippers who had purchased it out of bankruptcy, fixed it up some and turned it around quickly. Though the house is five years short of being 100 years old, it boasts all of the features for contemporary living:
*3,200 square feet
* walk-in closets in every bedroom
* laundry room
* master bedroom on first floor
* large yard
* fireplaces (4!)
* 2.5 baths
* expansive front porch
* breakfast nook
* large kitchen
* unfinished attic
* comfy back deck
* 2-car garage.
Of course, some of the space includes add-ons from its original structure, but all along the way, multiple fireplaces, 10-foot ceilings, oversized wood moldings and trim, original pocket doors and oak floors were preserved. The generous entrance foyer sports a 12-foot ceiling overhead and a beautiful monogram C underfoot, which Nicole painted. “We love that the master bedroom is on the first floor and our boys, now 7 and 10, have their own rooms, bathroom and play space upstairs,” says Brandon.
Since buying the property in the spring of 2009, the Craigs have removed wallpaper in places and painted something, if not everything, in each room. Nicole has loved color since she was a child ~ bold color, bright color, pink, lime green, turquoise. “My husband is a saint for living in such a brightly painted house,” Nicole smiles. Some of her favorite home decor items come from online sites like Serena and Lily, Company C, Dash and Albert, Etsy and Stray Dog Designs.
Roman shades and curtains match and complement the walls which match and complement most of the upholstered furniture ~ some stripes, some polka dots, some solids, some prints. Nicole painted stripes in the breakfast nook, re-tiled the master bath in a retro black and white, and had green mosaic tile placed around one fireplace to match her interior decor. She has decidedly taken a colorful, eclectic approach to an all-time high, and it works just fine with all the old house charm and some lovely oak antiques. By Thanksgiving, they plan to install granite countertops and an apron front, farmhouse sink in the kitchen.
“Because of the 12-foot ceiling in the foyer, we get a very large Christmas tree and decorate it early in December,” Brandon explains. “When the boys were little, they loved to guess which fireplace Santa was going to come down. Many of our ornaments remind the boys of Dr. Seuss and will likely get passed down for generations.”
The front porch runs the width of the house and is spacious enough for a porch swing, rockers, table and chairs and decorative accessories. The cushions change with the seasons, and during the Christmas holiday, Nicole hangs wreaths with custom hanging ribbons on each window and door in the front along with garland along all the railings and around the door way. “In the large planters, I place different size Christmas hat boxes stacked with live greenery, ornaments and eclectic Christmas picks and filler. All greenery is live and includes pine, Fraser fir and boxwood. Our Christmas tree is always a Fraser fir.”
Between the big letters spelling GATHER over the front door, Nicole’s warm personality and the happy color scheme, it’s no wonder the Craig home is a favorite hangout for friends and family alike. The couple moved here 19 years ago for Brandon’s job as youth pastor at Belmont Christian Church, and their house is an inviting oasis for their church family as well.
Two favorite interview questions for New River Valley homeowners are:
1. What do you like the best about your house?
2. What would you change if you could?
Without skipping a beat, Nicole responds: