Completed Projects

Finken Project

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This project from architect Cari Filer involves a new clerestory with direct-set windows and tongue & groove pine ceiling and a storage area under the existing screen porch with a new concrete retaining wall and rolling barn door.  This 1971 deck house nestled on a wooded lot has a tree house feel, and the newfound natural light the clerestory captures almost illuminates the bustling tones of the tongue and groove pine ceiling. Hansell Painting matched the colors immaculately and it’s as if the clerestory was always part of the design of this gem beside UNC campus.  Outside on the back of the house, we created an efficient storage area with the space left underneath the framing of the screen porch. Horizontal 1×4’s and a rolling barn door give a usual dull storage area some modern flair. Find more of Cari’s work here.


Leigh-Wilson Project

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This lovely Chapel Hill deck house kitchen got an overhaul from Best of the Triangle 2017 architect Sophie Piesse with a new curved island faced with glass tile and topped with a PaperStone counter, as well as a new glass tile backsplash. Notice the LED tape light underneath the countertop, which accents the beautiful tile below and creates an almost waterfall aesthetic effect.  PaperStone, created from recycled paper and a non-petroleum resin, is both durable and easy to install, making it a favorite choice for homes, restaurants, office buildings and premiere U.S. museums. Manufactured with 100 percent made-in-the-U.S. raw materials, most PaperStone products are certified recycled by the Rainforest Alliance to the Forest Stewardship Council standards and certified food safe by NSF International.  It looks amazing in person, and we were thrilled to work with such delightful homeowners to bring this design to life.


Vanderwoude Project 

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The Vanderwoudes have been great clients over the years, and recently called us back to transform their fireplace and living room with a fresh design from renowned architect Dail Dixon. We demolished the existing fireplace and wall of stone and went back with non-combustible steel stud framing for the new wall. A new linear fireplace from Chimneys Plus was nestled inside a custom soapstone surround from Custom Stone & Marble and custom cherry cabinetry from Aventine, installed with special floating clips giving the suspended appearance. New hardwoods were toothed-in to match existing by the Gerlings, and Jimi Scott from Colorcoat Studio worked his magic to match the existing Venetian plaster on our newly exposed wall. We also created new steps and railing from the kitchen/dining to living room, making the space feel more inviting and elegant. It’s been almost 5 years since Actual Size Builders built the dream deck with Ipé decking and cable rail system, but it looked too good not to share. It has weathered beautifully, and with a new standing-seam metal roof installed, this magnificent property will continue to turn heads for many years to come.


Biese Project

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The Biese Project with Linton Architects is one of our favorites to date.  We transformed a cluttered entry and kitchen into a mudroom and foyer, redesigning the stairs and adding built-in storage and cubbies.  Removing walls surrounding the formal dining room really opened up the space, and wine racks and more storage from Wood Done Right between structural columns make the space efficient for serving.    The existing sunroom stepped down to a stone floor, so we blew the walls out and put sleepers down to bring the floor back to height, refinishing all of the floors on the first floor.  A breakfast room with a bench seat and more cabinet storage shows off the wider cased openings between rooms, leading into the breathtaking kitchen addition.  Practically every inch of walls is glass, with Pozzi windows and a folding door unit from Jeld-Wen sweeping the entire view of the corner into the backyard and patio.  Custom cabinetry by Wood Done Right nestled under 130 square feet of quartzite countertop space; farm sink; Wolf range with island hood; two refrigerators and two dishwashers; Julia Child would be proud.  Bricksmith’s Masonry matched the custom brick veneer on the outside, Hansell Painting added the finishing touches inside and out, and the copper roof and gutters by Walker Brown Roofing was the icing on the cake.


Mason Project

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We really enjoyed working with Dave and Cate Mason on this kitchen project in Chapel Hill.  We took out two interior walls which really opened the space up for a seamless transition from cookery to eatery.  The greys of the tile floor and stainless steel appliances compliment the custom fir cabinets, and the painted glass backsplash over granite counters makes this kitchen one of a kind.  We added a new pantry with custom fir shelving, modified an existing laundry room, and added new windows and skylights, as well as a re-designed front entry and a custom fir bookshelf built-in.


Ranheim Project

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We took a cluttered kitchen in this Chapel Hill lake house and more than doubled the size with an addition to the rear of the home.  Chiseled-edge soapstone countertops from Custom Stone & Marble accent beautiful custom cabinetry from Cabinet Creations, with new slate floors, stainless steel appliances, and stone tile backsplash.  The hammered copper sink is beautiful, and locally-sourced walnut from Trip’s personal collection for beams and hanging shelves added the finishing touch on this beautiful rustic design created by architect Cari Filer.  A roof top deck on the flat roof over the sunroom addition and a wall of windows on the rear of the home provide a breathtaking view of Lake Ellen, leading out onto a new deck utilizing livestock fence panels for the railing design.


McCullough Project

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The McCullough project, designed by Sophie Piesse, was a whole-house restoration of an old Aladdin-brand kit home in downtown Chapel Hill. The project is described in a Fine Homebuilding article, a link to which is available here . The project received a LEED Silver rating. We installed new windows, new siding, a new roof, completely new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and re-did the entire interior from scratch, including moving and improving the stairs and creating a basement apartment.


Alexander Project

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The Alexanders gave us the welcome opportunity to work with John Lindsay, the talented and prolific designer who is behind so many spectacular projects in Chapel Hill and surrounding areas. John’s vision for this 50’s modern house was a pleasure to bring to life, and the Alexanders’ good taste and prompt decision-making made the process even more satisfying. The house was extended toward the back under the existing roof on both main floor and basement levels. We also added floor space to the driveway side to accommodate a new TV room and mudroom. The new shed at the bottom of the driveway adds a grace note to the informal entrance. Cabinetwork was by Aventine, the premier cabinet shop in Chapel Hill.


Miller Project

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Thanks to our friends and frequent clients, Nancy Duffner and Susan Sharpe, ASB was lucky enough to be chosen for this project.  Sophie Piesse was chosen as well, and the large, complicated addition and remodel came together beautifully.  It featured an expansion of the existing garage, a new front entry, a master suite addition, elegant stonework by Jack Mullen and crew, and a new standing-seam roof by Walker Brown Roofing.

The Millers must have liked the results because after they recovered from this massive project, they invited the same team back to re-do the kitchen with similarly spectacular results.


Sedotti Project

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After the previous owners hired Actual Size Builders to renovate the original house years ago, the Sedotti’s bought the property and decided to add on to make room for an office, theater, and rec room. Precision walls and matching a funky design posed initial challenges, but the end result provided a seamless transition from the main house to the addition, designed by Carroll Cope.  The main floor of the addition is a poured concrete slab with radiant heat, with the neighboring theater and rec room only a step up away.  Upon entering the office upstairs with a huge main meeting area and kitchenette tucked in a breezeway, one would begin to question if they were still inside someone’s home.  This was an excellent project we were glad to be part of!


Duffner-Sharpe Project

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The Duffner-Sharpe project was a game-changer for Actual Size Builders (Trip Renn, Builder at that time).  It gave us a project that was challenging to the level of our abilities; it introduced us to Sophie Piesse, Architect, with whom we have had a long and profitable relationship; it established us as a go-to building company in the area for difficult and complicated renovations; not least, it gave us new friends and patrons in Nancy Duffner and Susan Sharpe, with whom we are friends and working partners to this day (See our curved bench article in Fine Homebuilding Magazine on our Press page) . The job involved creating new footings in a difficult crawlspace, re-framing a roof from scratch, and framing a floor under it for a bedroom/bath/storage/small office, converting a garage into a sitting room and screen porch, remodeling the kitchen and laundry, and building a new small garage.


Jordy Project

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The renovation of this basement was for a neighbor of our frequent collaborator, Sophie Piesse, and shows off her vision and our quality of work equally.  The Jordy’s good choices and patience helped make this project a success.

“This is a great example of a basement renovation that is clearly not a basement. It is a great retreat for friends and family with a wonderfully detailed bar area and open inviting family area. There is room for guests, home office space, and room for kid’s crafts and family projects. Although accommodating the house’s mechanics, the details clearly create an amazing finish that would never be considered a mere “basement”.”–Sophie Piesse


Hettel-Suchoff Project

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With a new baby, this couple wanted more room. We added a two-story addition with a bedroom and bath upstairs for the couple and a bedroom and bath downstairs for the child. A one-story foyer/hall connects the addition to the original house. We also removed existing aluminum siding and beneath it, the original asbestos siding, with the owner’s help, replacing it with cement board lap siding. Design by Ellen Weinstein.


Ross-Yarger Project

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This was a complete re-do of an existing house, with design by Sophie Piesse. We installed a new metal roof, all new windows, built a new deck, and re-worked the front entry with a new roof. A complete paint job completed the transformation from ordinary and boring to different and interesting.


Holt-Bottomley Project

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This project, another Sophie Piesse design, involved removing the roof of both a poolside cabana and a carport and replacing them with better-looking and more functional roofs. In addition, the carport  which was attached to the house received a new closet with rolling barn doors.


Grove Project


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Our first (and, to date, only) Deltec house was a rewarding experience. Built for a friend on a lovely south-sloping lot, it went together just like the Deltec folks said it would. The Deltec kits are justly known for the quality of construction, their resistance to wind and storms, and the high level of insulation. Mr. Grove chose to include a unique copper bar/counter and range hood cover in his kitchen, (designed and fabricated by ASB), #2 oak strip flooring for the natural variations in the wood, a basement by Superior Walls, kitchen cabinets and wood counters by IKEA and clear-finished southern yellow pine for interior trim.


Domino-Scotti Project

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“A wasted space between an entry and a 1986 kitchen has been cleanly converted to a contemporary, stylish cooking and entertaining area that is filled with light. Repurposing the existing square footage, by removing walls and moving the kitchen entry door, created an improved flow and opened up a connection between the kitchen and the dining room. The new kitchen entry is greeted by a curved bench, with cubbies and upper cabinets, and a curved desk that faces the main entrance hallway.  The clients were eager to include high-end Italian cabinets, a look and style that was achieved within the budget by having the cabinets constructed by a local craftsman who used Purebond plywood and a local painter finished them with a custom metallic paint finish. The pine floor from the kitchen was salvaged to create a design on the dining room floor that frames the space and replaces the existing tile. Oak flooring, matching the rest of the house ties all the spaces together.

The transformation from a common, cluttered kitchen to one of distinct character is impressive.  The result is a spacious contemporary living space with European flare.  The common areas are inviting yet multi-functional while maintaining the original layout of the home.”–Sophie Piesse