Project Renovation

April 2011
Written By: 
Denise Mullen
Photographs by: 
Christopher Shane

After 20 years of splitting life between Raleigh and Myrtle Beach, raising a daughter to independent adulthood and saying final goodbyes to her long-ailing husband, Linda Hewitt knew in her heart that she needed to create a new life for herself.

“It was ME time now,” says Linda. “I could have stayed in Raleigh but I needed a change, I needed to downsize some and since my husband had been so sick for years, a move to Myrtle Beach seemed almost healing.”

Like so many who make their final home here at the beach, the Hewitts spent years nurturing a special relationship with the Grand Strand.

They built their second home and vacation spot on prime Porcher Avenue property at the dawn of the 1980s, regularly visiting the husband’s Myrtle Beach-based family and filling scrapbooks full of vacation memories.

Linda had no reason to give up the private–yet just a golf cart jaunt from the ocean–site of the home, but the tired brick rancher made cooking and entertaining an effort with the closed-in galley kitchen and choppy floor plan that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s.

“That beachy style was fine back then, but if this was going to be my permanent home now, I wanted a completely different look. … I wanted to open the whole place up, get it all on one level and have it so all my stuff from past and present would work,” Linda says with a tinge of excitement in her voice.

She chose to work with ReBuilders and her wish list translated into a full-scale renovation: “Complete gut, reconstruction and addition of four rooms.”

Linda came to life with the challenges this project presented, “It starts with an idea and then I loved the search for what I wanted in the house. You have to stay flexible and creative because I learned that I couldn’t get everything I wanted. … I got a lot of it, but at times I had to settle for what I could DO rather than what I WANTED.”

There are those who can weather living in a home during a complete renovation, setting up a makeshift kitchen in the laundry room and not get rattled by the early morning din of hammers and saws, but Linda followed conventional wisdom, stored her furniture and moved out for eight months, albeit not far away.

Even with a long, painstaking process to arrive at the reno plans, revisions and unexpected twists and turns were almost a daily occurrence.

“It was smart of Linda to have made a lot of her materials selections way ahead of time because when you get into the process itself there are so many decisions to make,” says Dawn Jacobus, job coordinator for ReBuilders. “We had to gut, reconstruct walls, put in strategic decorative columns where support was needed, make the volume and girth of the combined kitchen and living area equal and make it all look seamless. Having Linda around and being able to work well with her made all the difference in the world.”

The traditional brick that wrapped the home was taken off and replaced by an eye-catching Mediterranean-style baked clay stucco. The former patio was converted into one of Linda’s favorite spaces, an all-year sunroom that spans the length of the house and looks into all major rooms and out to the new in-ground pool.

Combining the kitchen and living room became ideal for entertaining and now included a formal dining area. Linda’s master bedroom was expanded and the, “I-can’t-live-without-it” Jacuzzi tub in her master bathroom was integrated into the design via custom cabinetry.

Not only did Linda get the home she dreamed of to suit her refined lifestyle, the renovation project also gave her the gift of a very special souvenir.

“This home gives me great pleasure now,” says Linda. “I can honestly say I enjoy every day of my life.”