As a brick home on a corner lot in the sought-after Alta Vista neighborhood just south of downtown Greenville, the potential was always there. Even so, the hints of outdatedness were evident even from the exterior: the yellowish dormers and trim, the too-ornate fanlight and sidelight windows around the front door, the carport. And then there was the inside, which had been updated in fits and starts, and contained too much old carpet, far too much floral wallpaper, and a layout that left parts of a 4,000-square-foot home even feeling a little cramped.
“From an exterior perspective , it needed some tweaks. From an interior perspective, it needed a lot of help,” said Dustin Fowler, senior managing partner of Fowler Interiors in Greenville. “But some of the general sightlines and things that could be modified — you’d call them the bones, I guess — were there to work with.”
Built in 1958, the four-bedroom home at 111 Boxwood Lane in Alta Vista needed a renovation. With Fowler and his company at the helm, it received a transformation in 2019, being elevated from a nice but outdated home to a show-stopping residence loaded with modern conveniences. Bought for $820,000 in 2017, according to public data available on Zillow, the reimagined home — designed by Fowler, renovated by Jon Peery of Peery Homes and with landscaping done by Scott McMillan of FSM Design and Associates — resold on Aug. 18 for $2.2 million.
Other than its general exterior shape, the home bears little resemblance to its former self. The former red brick is now white, the gutters and exterior lights copper, the once-dated front entryway now comprised of handsome stone steps leading to a gleaming black double front door. Inside, ceilings were raised and adorned with millwork, hardwood floors were laid throughout, and dated floral wallpaper was replaces with texture-rich grasscloth.
“The clients were coming from a major metropolitan area, and they were used to high-end fixtures in high-end homes,” said Fowler, who runs the company along with brother Nathan, both College of Charleston graduates. “All the door hardware for the house, we had custom-made. The vision was, how do we keep the character of this house, being that it is in South Carolina, but make it a little bit more big-city? Still keep classic elements, but push them a little bit more toward clean lines.”
Walls moved, ceilings raised
How complete was the renovation of 111 Boxwood Lane? Fowler estimates that 60 percent of the interior walls were changed. The master wing and guest bedroom were reconfigured, the dining room was altered, the laundry room was moved, even the kitchen was relocated.
“The master bedroom was tiny, so we completely blew out that wing of the house to enlarge the master bedroom, master bathroom and master closet,” he said. “The kitchen was closed-off and small, so we opened that up to the family room. It did not have an enclosed garage, so we took what would have been a carport for that period and converted it into an actual garage. The ceilings in all the formal rooms were 9 feet, and we were able to take those to 12 feet, which obviously makes a huge difference.”
And along the way, high-end details and other touches were added that make the interior truly stand out. The old kitchen bay window was transformed into a curved radius window that sits flush on top of a
curved countertop, a unique design element that took six months to come together. Inspired by a photo of a gullwing Mercedes-Benz, the office received a high-gloss blue ceiling with curtains to match, all grounded by natural grasscloth on the walls. Several rooms have millwork on the ceilings that add additional depth and texture.
“In the more formal areas, I tend to use millwork ceilings,” Fowler said. “I want them to have an elaborate treatment on them as opposed to just being drywall.”
Prior to the renovation, the home’s best feature had been a dark-wood back porch that opened out to a brick patio and landscaped backyard. Fowler, Peery and McMillan took it all to the next level, replacing the rear sliding door with French doors, creating a pair of stepped-down stone seating areas that mirror the front entryway, and adorning the lawn with stonework, fountains and sculpture.
“The parts and pieces to that were already in place,” Fowler said. “We just changed the materials that are in that space. So we just took that and made it better.”
‘The total package’
Behind the beguiling design elements is a home wrapped in modern technology: 111 Boxwood Lane also features a generator that can power the entire house, full surge protection, a water filtration system, and fully automated blinds and shades. And with a few exceptions, the furniture used in Fowler’s renovation sold along with the house.
“There were some furnishings that had never been sat on,” said Joan Herlong, owner and CEO of the Greenville real estate firm Joan Herlong and Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, which represented the buyer. “It was pristine. That home was the total package.”
The renovation took about 14 months, Fowler said. The previous owners had been clients of his from previous projects, so he saw the home early in the due diligence process to gauge both its potential and the scope of the job. “It was a little bit daunting for the customer, just because it was a pretty high-priced listing for the state that they purchased it in, and knowing all that it needed,” Fowler added. “But they decided to go for it.”
The results speak for themselves, not just in the dazzling final product, but also in the price appreciation. And the new owners? They’re locals, Herlong said. “They were not in the market — it was simply a home they had always liked. Every time they drove by it, they thought ‘I’d love to live in that house someday.’ And then one day their son told them, ‘You know that house you’ve always liked? It’s for sale.’”