Haddonfield Hideaway

Haddonfield Hideaway 

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The large, secluded piece of property was ideal. The outdated, mid-century ranch home was not. How one talented architect and one determined builder came together to deliver a local family’s ultimate dream home in Haddonfield, New Jersey. 

Combined Talents Come Together

In a historic town of stately Colonials, showy Victorians, elegant gardens, quaint shops and sidewalk cafes, space is often the greatest luxury of all. A local family searching for both beauty and breathing room found it all on Lane of Acres, one of Haddonfield’s most prestigious sections and the only street in town lined with generous properties up to three acres in size.  While the land was an ideal fit, the 1950s ranch house on it left much to be desired. The four bedroom, three bath home with cramped basement space was simply not built to suit the needs of a modern family of five. Following their Realtor’s recommendation, the homeowners reached out to custom home builder Mark Watson of Watson Development Corporation to discuss a renovation plan for the outdated and undersized home.  “The homeowners were interested in reconfiguring the first floor and adding a second level, which requires a detailed architectural plan,” Watson said. “I suggested Jeff King as architect on the project. He had done plenty of quality work for us over the past 15 years and our joint projects have always turned out wonderfully.” Jeffrey M. King went to work on a design to turn the homeowner’s mid-century ranch into a modern day masterpiece of luxurious living.  “The original house had the typical closed traffic flow of room, to room to room, and a basement ceiling height of just seven feet,” King said. “While a renovation could satisfy many of the family’s wants and needs, there was no way to transform all of those 1950s idiosyncrasies into the open concept home buyers are looking for today.”  During the design process, King and Watson came to the same conclusion: it would make good sense to explore the cost to raze the existing rancher and rebuild the family’s idyllic home from the ground up.  

A Change of Plan 

“We at Watson Development were able to bring the cost to build the family’s dream home ‘from scratch’ to a number that was very close to the original renovation plan budget, without any of the compromises that are common with a renovation. Building new also meant significant labor savings by removing the need for hands-on demolition, building new structures around an existing one and repairs to mechanical systems to support the new home,” Watson added. “When we looked at all the variables, the choice was clear.”  Armed with the family’s unrestricted wish list and a stack of favorite images the homeowners had pulled from various magazines for inspiration, King went back to the proverbial drawing board to create a custom home design as impressive as the owners’ imaginations.  “The photos the homeowners provided gave me great insight into their tastes and the finish level they were trying to achieve,” King remembers. “My job was to put those pieces and concepts together in an artful, seamless way that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. You want to walk into the house and feel as though it was always supposed to be this way.”  Thrilled with King’s designs, the custom home project was given the green light in November of 2007. By the following month, Watson had already demolished the outdated ranch and had the new home construction underway.  

Delivering the Dream

Eleven months and 20,000 man hours later, the combined talents of King and Watson have resulted in a spectacular new single family residence that indulges its owners’ love of space. Based on traditional design with doses of eclectic elements and coastal Hampton architecture, the cedar shake home redefines luxurious living.  The 4,800 square foot first level is home to a large foyer, formal living and dining rooms, magnificent kitchen with its own hearth room, a sunken family room, butler’s bar, laundry and mudroom with lockers for the kids. Capitalizing on a growing trend, King located the master suite on the primary level, complete with an office, sitting area with a fireplace and television, a master bath with a three-sided glass enclosed shower and a covered terrace.  Up the turned staircase, the 2,600 square foot second floor boasts four bedrooms, a large playroom and two full baths. The pride and joy of the homeowners, however, can be found below ground level. The 3,200 square foot, state-of-the-art basement space includes a full gym, bar, theater room, game room, guest room, bath and two storage areas. Unique safety features include a zoned fire safety sprinkler system activated by temperature and lightening rods covering the home’s roofline. Nine foot doors, Brazilian teak floors, tray ceilings and arched doorways add to the home’s distinctive character. While Watson and King found themselves in agreement on the home’s details throughout most of the project, their favorite aspects of home differ.  “I like the heavy white fascia trims and columns adjacent to the darker shake shingle siding and stone accents on the home’s exterior,” Watson said. “The double turn gable roof and the covered porch roof supported by columns and stone piers make for a strong entry and really set the tone for this remarkable home.” “I really like the kitchen,” King replies. “When you get into houses that are fairly large, they often feel very big and sterile and don’t have a sense of scale. You don’t want your house to feel like a gymnasium. What we’ve created here is a large kitchen that also offers the family a place to gather for more intimate, day-to-day use.”  While their favorite elements may differ, these two pros can agree that their combined talents have created a place where their clients can experience true serenity.