Life changed within 45 minutes on the Friday of the Memorial Day weekend last year for Kathy and Ted and their two teenagers. While the family was out of the house, a fire broke out somewhere in the kitchen. Kathy’s mom was stopping by for a planned visit, but Kathy wasn’t home yet. Then she got a call from her mom — “Your house is on fire.” Mom had already called 9-1-1.
“By the time I got home, the fire department was there and had things under control,” Kathy says. “I can’t say enough about what a great job they did.” While the fire was contained, the entire interior of the home had smoke and heat damage, while the exterior remained sound.
Generally, fire- or water-damaged homes are put back together just the way they were, by construction pros who specialize in restoration work, but not design. But Ted and Kathy looked at this tragedy as an opportunity. Maybe the house could be rebuilt in a different way, one that would address changes they’d already thought about. They sought out SCD’s team to help them think through how they wanted to live differently in their home.
This is a different project for SCD. It’s involved jumping through a lot of hoops with insurers, and working through a lot of feelings on the part of the family. Though all are united on rebuilding, there’s been a lot of family talks — about what to change, what to keep, and what to replicate.
“Our kids are very aware of color and design, and both are artistic,” says Kathy. “We wanted them to have a significant say in the decision-making — they’ve been through trauma, and it’s part of the recovery process.” Through sometimes painful trial-and-error, the family learned it was important to keep parts of the home (especially the exterior) appearing as close as possible to how it was before the fire.
“Kyra [our designer] came over during the Christmas break and spent a full day going over material selections and choices while the kids were home so we could all make the decisions together,” says Kathy. “The whole SCD team has been wonderfully flexible and compassionate as we’ve worked through so many choices. They’ve given us space and support to create something new and beautiful, while always honoring our need to recognize our old home within the new design.”
While every home remodeling project gets emotional, this one is special. We’ll be checking back in on the progress, and seeing how this phoenix rises from the ashes to create an old/new place to call home in West Chester.