Amy Hudson had no intentions of living over the store when she bought land for her real estate company offices in 2006. Her main objective was to build the commercial space for RE/MAX8 the following year. Alas, a recession arrived and moved those plans to the proverbial back burner.
Fast forward a decade, and several things had changed. Hudson’s kids had grown up and flown the home coop. She had more flexibility to travel. Working remotely had evolved in a big way. But it was the elevator which transformed her plans into including her new home, an awesome, 3,000-square-foot, contemporary, 2-story loft.
“When I began designing the building, the second floor would have four 1,500-sq-ft apartments for rentals,” she explains. “I learned that town code required an elevator for four or more dwelling units on a second floor, so, well, I analyzed my life, my house, my love of cooking, my work and talked to my husband.” It didn’t take her a long time to latch on to 3,000 of those square feet for her new residence, and have two 1,500-sq-ft, 2BR, 2BA apartments. No elevator.
Most of 2016 was occupied with planning and designing alongside local businesses. Steve Semones of Balzer & Associates spearheaded the engineering and architectural team. Interior Designer Teresa Ko [Teresa Ko – Commercial Interiors, LLC] was consulted for her exceptional vision and innovation for commercial spaces. Green Valley Builders constructed the edifice, and National Bank of Blacksburg anchored the financial end.
Amy and her husband, Michael Mortimer, moved into the glorious, modern apartment in March of 2017, and the staff of RE/MAX8 took up their positions on the ground floor a month later.
Commercial Ground Floor
“Real estate is a changing industry,” Amy states, “and the traditional component remains present while the more technology-based, paperless approach has stepped in. We embrace both of these methods and designed this space for work, comfort and appeal to our agents as well as buyers and sellers who meet here.”
The front is “innovation space” and down the hall is “administration space”. A real traditional touch is the corded phones in the back cubicles, corded to the wall and from receiver to telephone.
“In commercial design, we emphasize the client’s brand and tell a story through the space,” relates Teresa Ko. “Amy wanted to include a red, British-style, phone booth as a whimsical place to make or take personal phone calls, and that worked well with the red of the RE/MAX8 brand. We also wanted to make the space personal. The phone booth serves as a pop of color in front of a large scale image of Main Street, Blacksburg. The photo was taken by Amy’s husband, and we had it enlarged and digitally printed on wallcovering.” There are bright glass wall offices, a central self-serve coffee shop, private conference room and casual places to visit, negotiate and conduct training.
Residential Upper Floors
Although the property is flanked by 7-11, North Main Street and Heartstrings Pet Lodging and Spa, stepping in the front door instantly transports a visitor to a smart, clean, warm, modern, artistic interior. It’s gasp-worthy at first look.
“For their home, Amy and Michael wanted a more urban, contemporary look that is hard to find in Blacksburg,” Teresa recalls. “We endeavored to provide a striking backdrop for their artwork, as well as mid-century modern furnishings that would make a strong visual statement without competing with one another.”
Large windows on the fourth side of the building bathe the living room, dining area, open staircase and upper level balcony in natural daylight. The glass gas fireplace can be enjoyed from both sides and provides an element of room definition. A spacious kitchen island/counter delineates the prep and cooking spaces.
“I love to cook,” Amy exudes, “so I have an extensive herb garden outside my offices, two ovens, plenty of counter space and many, many spices, herbs and favorings.” The sleek kitchen is large but not overwhelming, with a stainless steel farmhouse sink, gas range, stainless appliances and granite counters.
The outdoor and interior stairs have a diamond plate surface, and matte metal railings inside and out add an industrial component popular in urban contemporary design. On the second floor, Michael has an oversized, loft home office. A balcony open to the living space below replaces what might be an enclosed hallway in other homes, and there are also two guest rooms and a full bathroom. The master bedroom suite is conveniently on the first floor.
Both the home and offices reflect an upscale, modern style where color, décor and amenities (think: coffee and casual professionals downstairs, fireplace and a homecooked meal upstairs) deliver a warmth and congeniality that permeates the spaces.
Text by Joanne M. Anderson
Photos by Tom and Christy Wallace