By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Bringing an unparalleled sense of style and elegance to an older house that afforded the perfect space and view, Bill and Cindy Byer have created a dream home they can enjoy for years to come.
“The view out of the living room window is the reason we bought the house,” said Cindy, who works from home for Nurse Finders. “It’s like living in the trees. And the screened-in porch. We live out there.”
Since the home has a walk-out basement, the ground-level floor is like a second story in the back, which overlooks the woods. Both the living room and the screened-in porch provide a beautiful, lofty vista, perfect for enjoying nature – without the pesky bugs.
“We had lived in this neighborhood before and knew we liked it,” said Bill, an attorney. “I like all the surrounding houses and everyone has been here a long time.”
While previous owners had completed some major renovations, such as opening up the staircase in the entryway, the Byers have remodeled almost every room. Carpet that spread throughout the home has been replaced by tile and hardwood floors – all with Cindy’s own two hands.
“She’s done this kind of work in the lake house and our last house and a condo,” said Bill. “She likes to work alone. I’m the hump mule. I run errands and pick up supplies when she’s messy.”
Her stepfather is a general contractor, but, for the most part, she is self-taught.
“I read books and look up how to do things on the internet,” she said. “I enjoy doing it and that’s the key. When I started on our other house, he was worried because he didn’t know I could do it.”
“Now I’m glad she does it,” he said. “I always like the outcome. We have very similar tastes.”
While her skills reach beyond installing tile and hardwood floors, a time (and energy) factor caused her to ask Monty Foust, owner of House to Home Craftsmen, to complete jobs that didn’t pique her interests. Plumbing, wiring, erecting drywall and installing fixtures became his department.
“He did almost everything in the basement except for the tile,” said Cindy. “In the kitchen I just ran out of time and told him to finish it. I was tired of the mess. Monty is really nice to work with because he lets me do some of the work myself without complaining about it.”
The plan to renovate the basement led to a full kitchen remodel. When the false ceiling came down, the couple realized that the time was ripe to rewire and replumb the kitchen before finishing the lower level.
Gleaming with a new tile backsplash, pot filler, striking cabinets and granite countertops, the kitchen is a chef’s dream. The island sports a second sink and eating area illuminated by industrial-style light fixtures. An outstanding stove from France is so attractive that it almost seems to be an accent instead of an appliance.
Competing with the kitchen for the title of “Most Breathtaking Room of the House” is the bathroom. Taking down the pink and mauve tile and fixtures, Cindy has completely retiled the space with a custom design that would rival the luxury bathrooms featured on television. She also designed the area so no shower curtain or door is needed.
Now that the house is complete – except for one more bathroom downstairs – the couple is ready to sit back, relax and enjoy their handiwork.
“We are here for good,” said Cindy with a smile.
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eclectic décor is littered about the house -- including a boat in the living room. The couple found this 1938 Century sitting along the highway in Alexandria. Although it was in horrid condition, they knew Cindy could strip and varnish it to fashion the perfect accent. "We had been looking for one and knew what we wanted to do with it," added Cindy.