One of the most popular features of Durham Magazine since we started in April 2008 has been our monthly “How We Live” feature – basically, a look inside the homes and lifestyles of people in the community. From couples with young kids to empty nesters and retirees, it’s always fascinating to see what ingenious elements of design Durhamites choose to incorporate into their living spaces. And of course, people love to see inside others’ homes – that’s probably why it’s one of my favorite things to shoot. Over 10 years of photographing these abodes, I’ve amassed a treasure trove of inspirations and ideas. What follows are some of my top rooms and ideas from a decade of photographing “How We Live.” When the time comes to build my dream home, I’ll definitely be ready!
Open and airy – I was obsessed with the Butlers’ ranch renovation, partly because the end result was so awesome and partly because their “before” house was really similar to mine, so I was able to get a real sense of what’s possible. I love how they created this open, airy kitchen and living space from a pretty traditional brick ranch. My favorite part might be the little office nook at the back; I could totally see myself editing pictures there while my husband cooks and the kids play, and then just slide the barn door closed and cover up the work-y chaos!
File this under “great ideas I never would have thought of” – the Strang family built a little, light-filled room just for reading and lounging around together. The wall-to-wall mattress makes it extra cozy and kid-friendly.
A screened-in porch with room for my entire family plus friends? And a fireplace? Sounds like the perfect way to enjoy a nice Carolina winter – and summer, fall and spring.
OK, technically this is cheating – it’s not a room, or a feature, it is it’s own little house. But what if I want to escape from my dream home sometime? A sweet little cabin like this one in the Sartors‘ backyard could be a guest house, artist studio or just a place to escape with a cup of tea and a good book. Now that I think of it, that does sound pretty great – let’s move this one to the top of the wish list!
This whole home is amazing, from the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the library to the spiral staircase leading up to a rooftop deck overlooking downtown, but my favorite element has to be the swing in the kitchen. Definitely a great way to make sure the cook always has company!
OK, so I’m not the biggest sports fan, but with a family full of devout Wolfpack watchers (I know, I know – I married in!) we end up watching a fair amount of college sports. Add in the bar and in-home movie theater through that door in the back, and this room is a definite must-have on my theoretical dream-home bucket list.
Photography by Briana Brough