This family of five transformed a Hope Valley house into a modern-yet-comfortable space with the help of local experts
By Courtney Hayes | Photography by John Michael Simpson
Fancy Hogan and Hobson Hogan – along with their sons, Nicholas, 16, Sutton, 13, and Reed, 10 – moved to the Hope Valley neighborhood from Governors Club in Chapel Hill in October 2020. After years of driving their kids to school at Durham Academy – “We were spending four hours a day in the car, at a minimum,” Fancy says – they decided it was time to ease their commute.
The Hogans built their last home from the ground up in 2005 and “wanted to find a house that we loved” closer to the boys’ school, Fancy says, “but we were totally open to renovations, and we felt pretty strongly that any house we bought we’d have to do some renovations just to make it more to our liking.”
Their list of must-haves included a downstairs master suite, a modern kitchen and a mudroom and laundry room combination by an entrance. “We didn’t make those requirements necessary for our house,” Hobson says. “We were just looking for the ability for the house to incorporate that through renovations.”
There were several features that stood out to them about the home they ultimately bought in July 2019. One was the breathtaking beauty of the exterior. The floor plan fit what they were looking for, and the home had enough property on one end to turn a guest room into a master bathroom and closet. Plus, it had the space to create that mudroom and laundry room where their sons could drop off all their sports gear every time they enter the house. “From the outset, we knew it had great potential,” Hobson says.
Fancy and Hobson worked with a team of people to turn the house they bought into their 6,000-square-foot dream home, 900 feet of which were added on to the original footprint. Residential designer Hutch Johnson of WHJ Design helped the Hogans determine what was possible from a structural standpoint, while Jeff Grau and Danielle Quinn of Grau Building Company took on the task of renovating the home.
The Hogans remained in their Chapel Hill home during renovations, which kicked off in December 2019. A few months later, COVID-19 began affecting the construction timeline. “We were at a critical point of the project when the COVID lockdowns began,” Danielle says. “Not only did we have to keep everyone safe and healthy on the job site, but we also faced the real issue of not being able to get our hands on the products we needed when we needed them. But I am so proud of how our team and the Hogans worked through these challenges together. We were able to finish on schedule, and the house is an absolute show-stopper.”
Once the major renovations wrapped up, Katherine Connell of Katherine Connell Interior Design and Mary Kate Bedell of Fresh Air Designs transformed the home into an inviting space that the Hogans could enjoy for years to come. “They wanted a comfortable family home that felt light and fresh, but was livable for their family of five,” says Katherine, who helped choose paint colors and plumbing fixtures, plus find decor and furniture throughout the house.
Mary Kate assisted with the cabinetry and design in the kitchen, laundry room, mudroom and bathrooms. Though the house is comparable in size to their previous one, it’s layout works better for the Hogans. “They wanted well-thought-out organization and storage for all of their needs,” Mary Kate says. “Fancy and I worked diligently to make use of every inch of space – planning a place for each and every little thing while still creating beautiful areas!”
One of Fancy’s favorite spaces is the formal living room, which she lovingly refers to as “the Fancy room,” and looks forward to hosting friends there for pre-dinner cocktails when she’s able to have company over again. “My favorite color has always been shades of pink, and having three boys, I don’t get to use pink a lot,” Fancy says. “For this space, I said I wanted four pink chairs to face one another.” The soft pink chairs add a pop of unexpected color against a stunning marble fireplace and a modern black-and- white printed rug. “My joke was that the only people who can enter this room who are male have to be 40 and older.”
Moving on to the kitchen, with its counter-to-ceiling marble backsplash, large island and gold hardware that shimmers against bright white cabinets, it became more than a place to cook – it’s also where the family likes to gather. “The new kitchen is such a dramatic change from the original in the house,” Mary Kate says. “The openness and bright nature of the space are welcoming and cheerful. It is well-planned for function yet pleasing to the eye.”
“It’s the kitchen I’ve always wanted,” Fancy says. “I would say that our kitchen is probably the room that stands out the most in this house.”
Hobson’s office setup also received a boost in the move to Durham. “I got a big upgrade, personally,” says Hobson, who’s worked from home for more than 10 years as a former investment banker who now manages private investments. “I now have my corner office, windows and all.” It’s also near the master bedroom in a quiet spot that’s on the opposite end of the house from the bonus room, where his sons like to hang out.
The bonus room gives them space indoors, but the boys are also enjoying a newfound freedom outside the home. “They went from having to have their parents be involved in every play date to shuttle them to and from it to now really having school friends and neighborhood friends,” Hobson says. “It’s a totally different existence for them being able to bike and walk and do activities in the neighborhood.”
The couple applauds the team who worked together with them and are over the moon with the way their home turned out. “You hear all these horror stories about renovation, and we didn’t really experience those,” Hobson says. “You have to commend the team that we put together to help us along. … The final product speaks for itself.”