Fresh Take on a Dream House
A Mediterranean-style villa graces Sedgefield’s 18th hole
By Jim Dodson • Photographs by Amy Freeman
Many years ago, Greensboro builder Jim Wolfe made a fateful career decision.
“I’d just finished business school at Carolina,” he remembers, “and had always assumed that I would go on to law school because my father is a federal judge. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that I wanted to do something different with my life — and with my hands.”
He smiles. “I wanted to build houses. That was a dream of mine.”
He didn’t, however, rush things. “I actually began my building career by cleaning house gutters. But then I built a garage for my grandfather. The bug bit hard after that.”
Next up was a Cottage Place house in Greensboro, where Wolfe and wife, Alice, lived for a year and a day before selling it and embarking on a larger project.
“That’s how it really started, one house at a time, a little more experienced and ambitious each time out.”
Three decades and more than 300 projects later, the Wolfe Homes portfolio contains several of the most admired houses of the Triad, including the first true “green” house in Greensboro, which may explain why Wolfe was undaunted by the idea of purchasing a 1.5-acre plot on Wayne Road beside the 18th fairway at Sedgefield Country Club and setting out to build perhaps his most innovative house to date — a fresh take on a classic Mediterranean villa.
As he explains on a late summer afternoon, standing on the spacious lanai of his newly finished 4,200-square-foot house, where bigwigs from the Wyndham Championship would soon host tournament VIPs, building a spec house is always risky business, especially one bearing a price tag of $1.5 million. “The rule of thumb is that you lessen the risk considerably by building on water of a beautiful golf course,” he says. “So we had that going for us from day one. Also, from the beginning, just a year or so ago, we knew this was going to be something special — the kind of project we thought of as building someone’s dream house.”
Indeed, as one steps through the front door, the house seems to flow with an inviting openness that propels the eye through a beautiful atrium entry featuring 14-foot ceilings and contemporary stepped moldings to the 600-square-foot lanai room. It functions as the architectural heart of the house, an all-season gathering spot outfitted with motorized drop-down screens and folding glass doors, plus large format porcelain flooring tiles, an oversized Minka-Aire ceiling fan, enclosed fireplace and the de rigueur hooded gas grill and built-in cooking area. Just beyond lies a large terrace with a gentle step-down.
The design is a Jim Wolfe original. “I spent hours studying hundreds of house plans online,” he says, “and eventually took the elements I liked and incorporated them into my own design — one we think emphasizes the ease and convenience of a very active lifestyle that brings the outdoors inside in various ways.”
Everyone’s life, he adds, is hectic these days. “We’re all so busy working or rushing from one place to another. We wanted something fresh and unfussy, with a flow that’s designed to help you slow down and relax.” To do that, he eliminated small rooms and clutter in favor of larger rooms with high ceilings and simple furnishings — features that “encourage you to exhale and relax when you get home.”
For all its clean contemporary lines and engaging airiness, with ceilings that range from 12 to 15 feet in height, the warm palette of colors and distressed wide-plank hickory flooring and traditional hardwood touches throughout — especially in the cozier library/study — convey a feeling of intimacy that belies the house’s impressive footprint. Even the spacious bedrooms, which feature oversized windows equipped with automated blackout shades for privacy, possess a feel of intimacy, offering views of the course and surrounding landscape at the fingertips. Because the Wolfe company was one of the first builders in the area to create a “smart house,” their new age Mediterranean villa comes fully equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and digital capabilities.
The deluxe master bedroom suite includes a spacious walk-in, his-and-her closets, an elegant soaking tub and a massive “walk around” shower with discreet floor lighting that illuminates the room upon entry. “That was a fun touch we added,” notes the builder. “Everyone seems to love it.”
A dedicated cook/host, meanwhile, will love the spacious open kitchen with a gourmet Wolf range, industrial-sized refrigerator and freezer, coffee bar and quartz countertops — all of which fuse seamlessly with a large indoor living room that faces the golf course. A 200-bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar and large walk-in pantry with a built-in desk and “Costco-sized” storage cabinets complete the kitchen ensemble. The two-car garage boasts an epoxy floor that’s easy to keep clean.
With everything on one level, including four bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths, the ease and simplicity of Jim Wolfe’s dream house, he notes, “makes it ideal for active empty-nesters or maybe older folks who’ve moved to North Carolina and want a great place to entertain or simply love golf and a beautiful view of the course.”
The house has already garnered one early admirer. “Jim and Michele [Prather, Wolfe’s design assistant] have a terrific eye for small details that make a house feel warm and personal,” says Stephanie James of Allen and James, the Greensboro-based interior designers that furnished the house for a series of showings that began last month for the 2018 Wyndham Championship. These included a special fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina, the foundation that’s helped more than 4,000 critically ill children across 51 N.C. counties, from Burlington west, fulfill their wishes.
Jim Wolfe and his wife, Alice, who are enthusiastic supporters of Make-A-Wish, were scheduled to host several public viewings to benefit the charity into the early fall.
“Suffice it to say, we’ve put a lot of ourselves into this house,” says Wolfe. “Someday soon the perfect owner is going to walk through the door and realize that this is their dream house.”
The Wayne Road property is listed with Tyler Redhead & McAlister at $1.5 million. For further information or to schedule a walk-through, contact: Katie Redhead, (336) 430-0219 or Katie.Redhead@trmhomes.com or Wolfe Homes (336) 299-2969 or firstname.lastname@example.org