Country Living Magazine’s 2009 House of the Year

by hookedonhouses on March 17, 2009

I have a thing for stone fireplaces. I grew up in a charming old house that had one, which might explain why I always stop to look at rooms with them. Case in point: the family room in Country Living’s 2009 House of the Year. I also like the beamed ceilings and those turquoise chairs. What I’m not so sure about? The kind of odd-looking exterior of the home:

At first I thought this was the back of the house, but it’s not. And what’s with the fake shuttered windows? Why wouldn’t they put real windows there? (If I’m missing something and you have the answer, please fill me in.)

This year’s house is on a mountain in West Virginia. According to the magazine:

Sawmill Village, where the house is located at Snowshoe Mountain, is committed to building 100 percent of its homes within Energy Star guidelines. Superinsulated panels on the roof, weather sealing at every joint and seam, and an on-demand hot-water heater stand at the core of the resource-saving measures designed into this home.

The other odd thing, in my opinion, is the kitchen:

I’m just not sure about the Southern pine plank paneling. I’d personally rather have tile. Oh, and see that lone enclosed cabinet hanging on the wall? It’s not a cabinet at all. It’s hiding the ventilation fan. I think there’s just a little too much wood, and too many different kinds of it, for me here. And does anyone else think that some sort of retro stove would’ve fit better in this room than the stainless one?

Sorry to sound so picky. There are things I like about it, like this sitting room off the master bedroom–even though I mistook it for a breakfast nook at first glance:

Go to the Country Living website to take the rest of the tour. What do you think about the House of the Year?

P.S. Did you watch HGTV give Cheryl Smith of Lakeland, Florida, the keys to the Dream Home 2009? She and her husband were so cute, it was easy to be happy for them. I thought it was interesting how HGTV nixed the live audience this year, replaced Lauren Lake as the announcer, and filmed the winner’s reaction ahead of time (it appeared to be edited). A year later, the post I wrote about that awkward moment with 2008 winner Stephanie Dee continues to be one of the most-viewed on my blog. People can’t stop talking about it.


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Emily@remodelingthislife March 17, 2009 at 8:36 am

Hey it looks like my couch is chic – those chairs match it! The exterior is a little funny. I love that kitchen. There is a place in my heart for all that rustic charm.

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Heather March 17, 2009 at 8:37 am

I like the exterior but I think it looks like the Smoky Mountains to me. I don’t like the kitchen. I do, however, LOVE the curtains they have in the dining nook? The large striped ones? I’ve been looking for that in red and white (or black and white) forever, so now I’m going to make them myself.

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maya | springtree road March 17, 2009 at 8:47 am

ummm…i don’t like it. nope.

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RehabOrDie March 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

OK, I think I’ve got good taste, but I rarely expect others to conform to it. That said, my pet peeve is the Form-Without-Function thing.

Shutters that can’t be opened (as you can see) and are just for show are stupid. I hate stupid. If there’s no window there, it’s REALLY stupid. The tree in the drive is dumb too, and a potential problem soon enough.

The bones of the house are fine and so’s the living room (not my taste on the LR, but fine).

The kitchen gets me again. Fake cabinets in a kitchen that already has desperate need of them is just insulting. Nobody really cooks in that kitchen. The whole room is form without function. :P Look at the wall. Can you say, “grease trap”? If not, note the plate behind the stove. Now can you say, “grease trap”? Where do you prep, anyway? Where do you keep your pots and pans and knives, etc.?

I hate that.

As for taste, well, it’s never good to pair two tones of blue that are close, but not quite on. It’s a problem to have so much wood clashing that way. I’ve got problems with my own kitchen on that front. The stove also doesn’t belong if that kitchen was supposed to make a statement. One of those blue sexy high end stoves would have been the cat’s pajamas.

Oh well, give me a $40k redecorating budget and I’d be just fine there.

RehabOrDie’s last blog post..OK. Fine! Closet doors are finished!

Phillips Phamily Mama March 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

The blue on the exterior does make it look strange. I wonder if, given the world’s economy, they decided to make a more “down to earth” house. The decor looks like most things are salvaged or passed down from family. It is definitely not “matchy-matchy” or stylish.

And you are right: the kitchen is ODD.

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Camila March 17, 2009 at 9:09 am

I posted about this whole in a little a bit ago and got mixed reactions from people as well. Parts of the house I love, but then there were other things that I totally didn’t get. I did enjoy the mix of the modern furniture with some rustic elements.

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Shannon March 17, 2009 at 9:09 am

I think the house would look better on a narrow lot. I think it looks awkward to put a very narrow house on a larger lot. It makes it look like something is missing. As far as the total look, a little too country for me. I like some of the elements but not my style.

Shannon’s last blog post..First Times

Lynda March 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

Every year I look forward to seeing the House of the Year but when I saw this one, I was so disappointed! The exterior is hideous! Hope next year’s is better.

Lynda’s last blog post..:: Living the Simple Life ::

Bella Casa March 17, 2009 at 9:20 am

I’m not so sure about this house either. It looks like they are mixing every single design element ever known to mankind. It is cozy though and charming in its own way. I bet it is probably one of those things that are prettier in person, than in pics…like Christmas trees ;)

Bella Casa’s last blog post..Help Me Decorate My Living Room

Kim~HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs March 17, 2009 at 9:24 am

I’m not crazy about the exterior at all, but love the great room with the beams!

Kim~HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs’s last blog post..~*Things That Make Me Smile*~

Derek March 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

It looks like a vitim of “to many cooks spoil the broth” I find it hard to beleive that one creative mind was at work here. Talk about white noise.

Derek’s last blog post..What is that?

AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage March 17, 2009 at 10:15 am

I love that fireplace too. The rest isn’t totally my style, but I still think they did a great job with it…you know in my professional opinion..ha!

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Kathy :) March 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

Not one of my faves Julia…YES I watched HGYV I was sure I was going to WIN….end this Susan Lucci thing I have going on, of course my husband thought I’d lost my mine LOL I had every light on in the house…but once I saw how she/announcer was dressed I knew it was a warm climate….. oh they sure did edit…last year was so BAD….to this day I still can’t watch poor Lauren Lake and her kitchens..

Happy St Paddy’s Day to you,
Kathy :)

May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings,
Right beside your door.

(Irish blessing)

Katie @ makingthishome.com March 17, 2009 at 10:30 am

When I saw that living room, I was really excited. Then you showed the rest of the pictures… and yes, I was nodding right along with everything you said, Julia. Very, very odd.
Katie

Katie @ makingthishome.com’s last blog post..Simpler Life Series 5: A Different Drink

Shelly March 17, 2009 at 10:50 am

Oh dear, I guess I just don’t get it. I totally agree with the previous commenter – a cook didn’t have a thing to do with designing that kitchen…but I do like the fireplace ;)

Shelly’s last blog post..Country Living Envy

laurel sauls March 17, 2009 at 10:53 am

I actually really, really liked this house, personally. I agree, the outside is weird. I also despise fake shutters. And, as someone said above, that tree in the driveway isn’t going to work out very well when the roots grow and start messing up the driveway. But the INSIDE I really liked. I liked all the natural and industrial-type elements. Very cool. And, I like that a lot of the items they used are salvaged. To me, this house looked more like a house that you might find someone actually living in than many of the other idea houses and dream homes. I like that this one wasn’t too “done”.

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Barbara March 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

This is really random but…were the trees and landscaping photoshopped into the exterior photo? Or is it just my eyes playing tricks on me. I wonder if the home is really close to the neighboring homes and they chose to photoshop them out.

Barbara’s last blog post..SNL Does The View

Victoria @ DesignTies March 17, 2009 at 11:09 am

Like others – and you, Julia – I love the great room… but just the architecture… the forced symetry (furniture placement) doesn’t work for me. The use of turquoise is refreshing and fun, but I’d probably opt for a little less of it. I like the quaint charm of the kitchen but I found myself hoping there was a pantry somewhere… and maybe an additional worksurface just outside of the camera’s eye. Now the master bedroom’s sitting room… no thanks! I agree with you Julia… looks like a breakfast room!
Victoria: EdinDesign Interiors @ DesignTies

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Liz March 17, 2009 at 11:13 am

Hmm. I absolutely love everything about the den, from the magnificent stone fireplace to the turquoise wingback chairs, but I agree with everyone else that the rest of the home is a bit puzzling…

Liz’s last blog post..Flashback: Fireplace Transformation

Susan Lang @ Designing Your Dream Home March 17, 2009 at 11:25 am

Upon my first look at the first picture my first thought was how long before the person backing out of the garage will run over the flower bed and tree? Though I am all for flowers, plants, and trees, that looks like an accident watiting to happen. Overall there were some nice touches but a whole lot of “what were they thinking” elements. Thanks for the post!

Susan Lang @ Designing Your Dream Home’s last blog post..Mistakes to Avoid: Dinner Plate Storage

lucinda March 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

I thought the kitchen was down right ugly. It’s like the emperor’s new clothes…didn’t anybody this is completely off kilter?? Paneling in a kitchen…what were they thinking?

Angela March 17, 2009 at 11:34 am

I love the wingback chairs. That’s about it. Very strange house!!

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Jen H. March 17, 2009 at 11:56 am

A bit odd, yes. I liked the rustic element and the fact that they seemed to use a lot of salvage. However, you’re right – if they were going for the rustic look to the point that they disguised the range hood with some fake cabinetry (which just looks dumb, I think!), they why did they use such a modern stove? I know these dream home things are all about “inspiration” but I also know that the people who produce them are at the mercy of the companies that donate stuff. So maybe the stove was for that reason??

I’m also assuming the narrow-lot design is because there will eventually be similar houses on either side of it. On the whole, some interesting ideas/spaces, but also a bit strange.

desiree March 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I think the exterior looks to tall and kinda clunky. I love the living room. But again the kitchen doesn’t seem to work…looks very tiny and the wood on the walls i think would be tough to clean. House of the year? I’m not sure about that. It’s nice, but I expected more.

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Ramona March 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I do like the lemons in jar and wooden cutting board vignette go on by the stove…

Smiles ~ Ramona

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Janet Doherty March 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm

We have a house here that reminds me of this one although the CL one is much more rustic. The one in our neighborhood is described as Normandy. As for the shuttered windows..well..another house in our hood did much worse…in order to balance the look of the house where they could not put a window they created a fake window out of wood, trimmed it just like the other and then just painted it white. Looks silly.
I am disappointed in the CL house.. as we all know people want bigger kitchens, it’s just not practical. The living room is great, although I could never pull off that color..
I guess they were trying to go for something “different”. Kind of the way BHG is trying to be more mod and hip. One thing they did achieve…we are all talking about it…
Sorry so long but I happen to have opinions on that kind of thing :)
Janet

Janet Doherty’s last blog post..It’s really here…I know it is true.

bungalow_bliss March 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I do like the bathroom, but the rest of the rooms left me scratching my head. Hmm, interesting.

bungalow_bliss’s last blog post..Cabinet Reconnaissanse Mission

Terry Kearns March 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Just didn’t “get” me. But not many do. This is like the worst of our Atlanta in-fills and tear-downs: The ground floor dominated by the garage and a house that tries so hard for a look. Those closed shutters are so off putting – put windows in the closets if you have too! I do like some of the interiors but the front may be ugly for 100 years, maybe it can be rehabbed. It might even look better in context with it’s close neighbors which are sure to come.

Terry Kearns’s last blog post..The Greek temple on Atlanta’s Ellis Street is a parking deck!!

Chris March 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I do NOT like that kitchen at all. Very impractical and ugly. What’s up with the fireplace mantle/surround in the master bedroom. Yuck. The whole house looks like something out of Harry Potter – a mishmash of old junk. (Don’t get me wrong. I like junk if it’s done right!)

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Mom in High Heels March 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm

That’s the house of the year? Really? I’m not getting it. There’s not one photo I like. It’s just…yuck. The kitchen makes my eyes hurt. No, no, no. Not loving it. Not even liking it.

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Onlinehandyman March 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

The home definitely has some odd looking points. Very narrow exterior, the shutters and one hanging cabinet to name a few, but generally I do like the home. It’s just like separately the pieces are nice, put them together and that is when I don’t like it. One thing that I really do like is the use of color in areas like the living room and the kitchen. Basically everything is done in an earth tone and then they throw that splash of color in like the chairs in the living room and the cabinets in the kitchen.

Onlinehandyman’s last blog post..The 6 Questions to Ask When Choosing A Carpet Cleaner

Natalie at FLHomeBlog March 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Fine…I guess I’ll take it. If I have to.

I’m selfless like that.

:-D

Natalie at FLHomeBlog’s last blog post..Confessions…

Aubrey March 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Yeah–that place looks like an old family cabin that the people built themselves to suit themselves, with no architectural or design experience and maybe too much hammer and saw experience. And the place where the family’s been bringing their cast-offs for years. Though I will admit, some would make pretty nice cast-offs. It’s like they couldn’t decide if it should be a cabin in the mountains or a nicely decorated place and did the worst of both worlds.

Aubrey’s last blog post..Things That Make Me Happy

Kasey March 17, 2009 at 3:56 pm

You’re right, the outside of the house and kitchen are a bit strange. Not nearly as strange as that video clip though! I’d never seen it before. Lauren Lake is overly excited and the winner is just melancholy. Weird.

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the BLAH BLAH BLAHger March 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Me no likey.

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dolce chic March 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I’m not a fan either!

Amy March 17, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I think it was a nice concept…but I’m not feelin’ it- especially the kitchen.

I didn’t see the winner of the Dream Home but read about it in the newspaper. Lakeland is my hometown and you can find the story here http://www.theledger.com/article/20090315/NEWS/903164996 Funny but it wasn’t even on the front page anymore, I had to search for it.

Amy’s last blog post..Nearly Instant Almost De-Brownification

Kathi March 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm

If this is a cozy little weekend get-a-way house, then it’s fine with me. I don’t like the driveway at all. Little tree needs to go and even gravel would look better than those pavers! I kinda like the kitchen and the family room. I could see my self there.
Would love to be able to see out those boarded up windows though…

Suzy March 17, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Sorry don’t really like it. Do like those wing back chairs though.
Thanks for Sharing!

Suzy’s last blog post..Happy St. Patty’s Day!!!

Billy March 17, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Looks like it was decorate by some one that only knows country from inside a beltway.
The shutters would make more sense if there were some on the rest of the windows.
I hope the pic of the facade is cropped so that the neighboring houses are just out of frame.
And if I keep going, every one will know that I am REALLY whiney today.

ida March 18, 2009 at 6:56 am

i loved the great room. i liked the front of the house except for the TREE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DRIVEWAY………wtf. that was not a wise idea. then i saw the back and i was cool with that.

now with what i dont like
hummmm just about everything else
the kitchen……..my 50,000 home has a nicer kitchen and its the origenal from 1950.
the old wood used thru out the house. i refuese to pay over 200,000 for a home with old wood and a ……….gasp…….piece of rope for a handle………a piece of rope……

i cant type any more…i am still at odds of over 200,000 for a piece of rope handle for an old xxx wood door.

yea. that got me riled. lol

ida March 18, 2009 at 7:03 am

i think they put the tree in the drive to avoid a sewer line. just my 2 cents. my dad was a plumber……..

ida March 18, 2009 at 7:11 am

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Europe/Germany/photo409905.htm

i think they were going for an ugly american looking german house here’s the link to the real german home. perhaps they lived there and were inspired from the german looking homes. the great room/ugly kitchen reminds me of my german kitchen back in 88-92. had a tiny kitchen overlooking my L shaped livingroom/dining room. only had one sink and a dorm style refregerator. paid over 1,000 a month on rent. it was worth it i was in a pretty area of stuttgart germany. unterturkheim. i beleive in germany they can tax you on closets so its rare to find closets or seperate small rooms like kitchens.

ida March 18, 2009 at 7:25 am

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5323367

this is just about the same view i had from my back door. it was amazing…. sorry about so many posts. i just wanted to share.

Kim @ Forever Wherever March 18, 2009 at 9:24 am

The beams are my favorite part. I don’t like the outside at all or the kitchen. I think they could have been a little bit more creative.

I just looked at the video from last year’s winner of the HGTV Home. Oh my gosh! I couldn’t believe it! How could anyone act that way when they are giving you a home! Odd! I feel sorry for her having a video out there like that.
~Kim

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Amy @ Living Locurto March 18, 2009 at 9:41 am

Way too country for me. I love the blue chairs though. I so want to get blue in my house somewhere. Wish I had some extra money to buy some chairs like that.

Amy @ Living Locurto’s last blog post..Welcome Spring Tea Party

Khiori March 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I agree verbatim with Rehabordie, and just about everyone else. Something occurs to me though, which only Kathi mentioned. Is this a “weekend house”? In the article they call it a “Mountain Retreat”. To me that’s your weekend house. Is Snowshoe Mountain a ski resort by any chance?

That would account for much less cooking gear being needed. You’re not making big Sunday dinners here, or baking all those cupcakes for marching band. Maybe because it doesn’t look too day-to-day user friendly to me. As a vacation home though, I might actually like it!

jeweledrabbit March 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I don’t like it in the least. That bathroom door with all the paint chipping off of it is hideous looking.

jeweledrabbit’s last blog post..Scrapping It All and Starting Over

christy March 19, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Oh no — I don’t think I have anything positive to say about this whole house….so I guess I won’t say anything at all!

christy’s last blog post..The Irish Are So Polite

builder guy March 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I feel for the builders on this project. Did anyone see the DIY Network show on making this house. The builders had their hands more than full with the editors. I hear that most of the editorial staff was fired after this project. I do not like the colors of exterior, but the intior colors are nice. The decorating is ugly!!

Nathan September 8, 2009 at 12:45 am

I love everything but the exterior colour. And those shutters. And I don’t think I like that tree in the middle of the drive either. I know it’s separating the drive from the walkway but it just seems like it’s popped up there out of nowhere. I would have stuck to flowers I think.

Valerie Rooter April 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I think the 2010 green home this year is lame! Its to small and it looks like your inside of a 2,000 year old light house! There no WAY im entering this year and I always enter its my thing but its just so darn bad this year! lets hope they do better next year. I feel bad for the person who wins this year!

divina August 23, 2010 at 2:12 am

i am from philippines and i collect some of late issue of country living magazine and im starving to see those amazing enterrior of the different places of the house….i love country living, mwahhh. keep it up

anneteDECO August 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Very beautiful.!!
Nice, very nice
.-= anneteDECO´s last blog ..DORMITORIOS ACTUALES =-.

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