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Chris and Carolyn Boetger's Home Brings the Outside In



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STORY BY GAY LYONS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEN FINCH

Chad and Carolyn Boetger’s decision to build their “forever home” in Holston Hills wasn’t motivated by a desire to leave downtown but by their desire to live on the water.

“We wanted to be close to downtown,” said Chad, “but we wanted to be on the water.”

“If you want to be close to downtown and live on the water, that means Sequoyah Hills or Holston Hills,” said Carolyn.

“We like the mix in Holston Hills,” said Chad. “Being able to build a modern home and add to the historic, eclectic range of the neighborhood was cool.”

Once they selected the acre and a half lot in Holston Hills, the Boetgers’ choice of architect was a no-brainer. Chad, who graduated with a degree in architecture from UT, has been with architecture firm BarberMcMurry since 1997.

“We designed the house three times,” said Chad.

“The first one was beautiful, magnificent,” said Carolyn. “It was bigger; it had an infinity pool. The second one was a little bit closer.”

“We worked through a lot of ideas and options,” said Chad.

“I’m glad we did it that way,” said Carolyn. “It helped us see what we wanted.”

What they wanted was a minimalist house with a view from every room.

“Being able to see the water from every room in the house is important,” said Chad. ”We wanted to be able to see outside from every part of the house--no dark corners.”

“We wanted to wake up and see the water,” he continued. “Walk out on the patio and drink your coffee.”

“It was extremely important to have natural light,” said Carolyn, “so we have floor to ceiling windows. There’s even a window in the laundry room.”

“We put our son Gage on the second floor because when I was a kid, I always wanted to live in a tree house,” said Chad, referencing the trees visible from Gage’s room.

“There are 33 operable windows,” Chad explained. “Opening them allows for cross ventilation.”

Carolyn describes the home as “simple and elegant with lots of texture- -especially outside. I didn’t want to pick just one exterior.”

The flat roof was not just an aesthetic choice. “We are going to add solar panels and a green roof,” said Chad. “We’re using 50 percent less energy than a traditional house. Sustainability is important to us.”

The first floor, which has white terrazzo flooring, consists of the master suite and the “main room.” The family room, Gage’s room and two small guest rooms are upstairs. The white terrazzo flooring downstairs mirrors the white stucco on the exterior; the cyprus floors upstairs match the cyprus on the exterior. A staircase with cyprus boards complemented by stainless steel aircraft cable railings bridges the two floors.

“You sometimes see the cable running horizontally,” said Chad. “We decided to do it vertically. We wanted to do something open.”

“I spent some time throwing myself against it to test its strength,” he added. “It’s safe.”

The house was designed for maximum livability according to Chad.

“We tried to maximize the space in the rooms you actually use. The main room is one room, but there are three distinct spaces.”

“It’s great when we have parents with kids over,” said Carolyn. “The kids can have the upstairs, and the grownups can have the downstairs.”

“This is not a large house,” said Chad. “It’s 2800 square feet. Keeping the house white makes it seem larger.”

“I’m definitely a minimalist,” he added.

There is no trim. Doors blend into walls.

“When you design a modern house, there’s nothing to cover up your mistakes,” explained Chad. “What you see is what you get. Baseboards and crown molding in older homes may be pretty, but the trim was created to hide imperfections.”

Chad doesn’t see white walls, floors, counters, cabinets and furniture when he surveys the space.

“The view is the art,” he explained.”That’s why everything is white or glass. It’s all in how you look at it. I think there’s a lot of color in the space.”

“This house is everything we wanted,” said Carolyn.

“It’s fun and modern and suits us to a ‘T.’ It was never an option for us to do something cookie cutter.”

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