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Out of the box
Home builderís own house personalized through architecture and design

Photos by Doug Edmunds

October 2013

A morning room off the foyer was converted into an office for Craig Rakowski of James Craig Builders to meet with his clients. The white kuwa branches add a wow factor and natural element to the space and create a contemporary edge. The Kalahari desk from Theodore Alexander blends with the organic backdrop and stays in line with the Craftsman-style architecture of the home.


After 15 years of building for other people, Craig and Georgia Rakowski finally built a home for themselves. "Iíve taken bits and pieces from all the models Iíve built and put them all together," says Craig Rakowski, owner of James Craig Builders. "It took three years to design my house," he says.

The Rakowskis hired Theresa Vaughan and Mike Wilke of Forte Design to furnish the interior and complete the space.

The couple wanted a large entertaining space with the kitchen as the focal point, not an uncommon wish for a homeowner. But they mixed it up by making the living room area their dining room and created a small seating area off to the side as a place to relax.

That homeowner-centric philosophy works for Rakowski on both a personal level and a business level. "I can show people my house so people start thinking outside of the box," he says. "I try to create homes for peopleís individual lifestyles."

The Rakowskis spend evenings on their screen porch, which they can enjoy three seasons of the year with its built-in fireplace. A corrugated steel insert is set into the fieldstone fireplace, another Craftsman-style detail of the home.

The Rakowskis opted to place their dining table in a space that others might consider the living room. The round table provides an intimate atmosphere for eight with a fireplace adjacent for cool evenings. The large window provides views of sunsets looking over woods and fields.

The soothing color for the master suite was drawn from the custom coverlet on the Craftsman bed. The Halcyon Green walls contrast nicely with the stained crown moulding on the tray ceiling. Interior designers Theresa Vaughan and Mike Wilke of Forte Design had the Hickory White nightstands painted in Sherwin Williamsí Riverway color.

A strip of glass block adds an interesting architectural element above the mirror. Rope lighting underneath the floating cabinet shows off the curved apron, another custom element. Georgia Rakowski wanted a vanity in the master bath; Mike Wilke and Theresa Vaughan found a freestanding desk that worked perfectly for the space.

Corrugated steel is used as an accent on certain parts of the roof line, adding an interesting element to the homeís exterior.


This story ran in the October 2013 issue of: