Lorinn Williams Smith was in the car business before she caught the construction bug while selecting finishes for her first Ryland Home. “I remember thinking how cool it was that I got all these choices—countertops, cabinets, light fixtures,” Lorinn remembers. “Then I started marking up the floor plans. I was so excited, but quickly realized I needed more.”
Since that first project Lorinn has built custom homes, renovated in Sarasota and most recently tackled the renovation of her family’s 1929 Indian Hill home. Up until now, Lorinn and her husband Don have sold every house they’ve built and flipped. But Lorinn is torn about this one.
“I have realtors calling me all the time,” she explains. “But I just don’t know about selling because this is my favorite house of any we’ve ever done. I think it’s because I have a kinship with this house that is similar to the kinship I had only with one other house…the one I grew up in.”
It makes sense that the Smiths call the house Spiritwood due to Lorinn’s spiritual connection with the property; but that’s not to say a lot of grit and elbow grease weren’t involved in the two-year process of turning this house into the Smiths’ home.
When Don and Lorinn first moved in there was no overhead lighting or internet connection. The chimneys weren’t working and the 14,000-square-foot property needed a new roof.
“We took this house from the inside out,” Don says of all the behind-the-walls work that had to be done. “I’m more of the nuts and bolts guy.”
Lorinn adds, “His attention to detail is impeccable.”
The couple lived in the home while completing the extensive renovations, which included gutting the kitchen. When the dust got to be too much the couple finally had to move out…front.
“We lived in our R.V. in the driveway,” Lorinn says with a chuckle.
But living in cramped quarters was worth it in the end. The couple now has the gourmet kitchen of their dreams.
Room for more
Lorinn definitely had her four children and daughter-in-law in mind while designing the L-shaped kitchen, but she admits she also had future family members in mind. “All I want is grandkids,” Lorinn says looking at the four barstools at one of the two islands in the space.
The homeowners worked with Neal’s Design Remodel for the first time on this project and could not be happier with the experience. While Lorinn has definite ideas when it comes to design, she valued the expertise of Neal’s kitchen designer Cyndi Kohler.
“I would tell Cyndi what I was thinking when we were making selections, for example with countertops. She would show up with three samples and I just needed to pick one,” Lorinn says. “It made the whole process so much easier.”
“Troy Sexton was our field supervisor and he’s a master carpenter,” Don explains. “Chuck Crellin, our project manager, was more big picture, but they all took so much pride in their work.”
In the zones
The kitchen is open, yet spatially divided into two separate spaces. One side of the kitchen is the functional, cooking side of the kitchen while the other side is more of the entertaining section. Walnut detail nooks, like the butler’s pantry and baking nook, accentuate the white Shaker cabinetry throughout.
“I try to select finishes I think everyone will like and then add my style through hardware,” Lorinn explains. “It’s much easier for a new owner to change handles than replace the cabinetry.”
The larger subway tile backsplash, which Lorinn was happy Kohler suggested, gives the space a clean finish while honoring the original style of the home, as do the curve-cornered walls. The radiators were removed and secret storage nooks were constructed in their place. Lorinn and Don also chose to keep the original hardware on the doors of the home.
Lorinn chose a Carrara quartz countertop because it gives the look of marble with more durability, which is important to her as she loves to cook and bake.
Replacing the flooring with walnut hardwood was a challenge during Covid. “We thought we were going to have to drive to North Carolina and load the lumber on a trailer ourselves,” Lorinn remembers with a laugh. “But it all worked out and was delivered in the end.”
An addition was added onto the house right off the kitchen in the early 2000s, which includes a billiard room, bar, and apartment where Lorinn’s son lives. The billiard room features a massive fireplace with masonry work completed by a relative of the original stonemason of the house in the 1920s.
“I call this room the Kenwood Room,” Lorinn explains. “Because it reminds me of the Kenwood Country Club.”
The bar off the Kenwood Room came in especially handy during Covid, serving as the watering hole for the family. Lorinn and Don take turns bartending, but Lorinn admits she makes the better cocktails. She says the three taps are, “a beer for me, a beer for Donnie, and a beer for the kids.
“We had such a good time spending evenings in here during quarantine,” she adds.
From house to home
Lorinn and Don could not be happier with the finished project, whether they’re sitting by one of their fireplaces or chasing their beloved Frenchies, Ellie and Penelope, on the newly landscaped lawn where they planted over a hundred new trees.
“We lived in a condo where we used maybe two or three rooms,” Lorinn says. “I can honestly say we use every room in this house. Even though this house is much larger than our condo was, when you come in it doesn’t feel overbearing. It feels lived in, because it is.”
Interior design: Homeowner
Kitchen contractor: Neal’s Design Remodel
Kitchen design: Cyndi Kohler, Neal’s Design Remodel
Appliances: Custom Distributors, Inc.
Audio/Video: Perfect Solutions AV
Paint: PPG Free Reign throughout home, Cracked Slate in powder room
Pool table: Watson’s
Landscaper: Kushners Land Management
Pool maintenance: Don Marcum’s Pool Care