Team Hornberger

December 2013
Written By: 
Denise Mullen
Photographs by: 
Christopher Shane

Dedicated professionals build a Grande Dunes dream home




“We were lucky to be able to work with a dream team—people who listened to us and delivered like they were right inside our heads,” says Kathy Hornberger, smiling as her eyes lovingly sweep across the expanse of her new Grande Dunes home.     

After retiring from 23 years of operating a string of discount golf businesses and raising a family, Troy and Kathy Hornberger started to feel cramped in their Plantation Point home.     

“We lived in that house for 15 years and absolutely loved it,” says Kathy. “But when 10 grandbabies arrived, the house and yard felt too tight for family gatherings. Without letting any of our kids know, Troy and I got together with architect James F. Snyder, an absolute genius, and started the ball rolling on this home.”

Troy quickly points out that they actually have 11 grandbabies when you count in Lilly, the toy poodle and love of their lives.

Blueprints were taken to lead designer John Gore of B. Graham Interiors for his blessing and expertise.     

“I thought they were coming in to discuss an addition or update,” says Gore. “Instead, they told me they were going to build in the Grande Dunes, but they didn’t want anything cookie-cutter or over-the-top—livable and relaxed, great for entertaining but not pretentious.”

“Even though they wanted everything new and custom in this house, Susie [Darrah] and I went over to their home to pick out pieces that could be repurposed. We ended up saving a couple of beautiful French chairs for the living area, perfectly good furniture for the master bedroom and some outdoor chairs for the porch.”

Enlisting home builders Malcolm Odom and Dave Potter to the team, the Hornberger’s list of must-haves shaped the final blueprints.     

“We had to have a roomy backyard for the whole extended family and a swimming pool for the grandchildren,” says Kathy.     

“But number one on my personal wish list was an enclosed courtyard with an outdoor kitchen. Really, the whole house is built around it. … I relax there, read and listen to the rain fall. It’s my sanctuary. If the rest of the house fell down, I wouldn’t even care, as long as my courtyard survived.”     

“This was next on my list,” Kathy says as she opens the grand door to her gleaming wood and tile office. “I always wanted my own study and it turned out perfect. But it wouldn’t look like this if it weren’t for Susie. She was invaluable to making this happen.”     

Besides enough room on the outside for the Hornberger clan, the growing family also ran out of dining space in their former house.

“Another must-have of ours was a formal dining room that sat at least eight and then more overflow tables and chairs that weren’t cut off from each other,” explains Kathy. “I love the flow of this house. Even though it’s 6,500 square feet, it’s designed as a series of rooms that flow into one another.”

It’s not unheard of for a kitchen to be designed around a custom island or even a collection of porcelain teapots, but in the Hornberger home, the heart of the house would revolve around a mammoth, 60-inch double-door refrigerator.

“We got sick and tired of running out of fridge and freezer space all the time. People actually asked me what I was going to put in that refrigerator,” Kathy explains, laughing as she opened both doors packed with foodstuffs. “You can never have enough fridge space.”

The final design piece de resistance was to be an all-inclusive master bathroom with separate his and hers spaces and amenities.

Bath suites, if you will, incorporating private tubs, dressing areas, vanities, toilets and walk-in closets—well, Kathy has two walk-in closets.

The only communal spaces to the twin toilets are a yawning steam and rain shower room in the midsection and a cozy lounge area nestled in the back quarters.

The John Gore design stamp of “every room should evoke an emotion” palpitates throughout the master suite, a space that’s both glam and Zen, which the Hornbergers describe as feeling “calm and soft.”

“The best thing about working with this team is that work was so much fun,” says Kathy. “We knew exactly what we wanted and they knew how to make it happen. Our meetings were productive and we enjoyed one another not only as clients, but as good friends.”