From Ashes to Amazing

Transformation Of Fire-Damaged House Into Couple's Dream Home

After a fire devastated the courtyard-style "Brentwood Ranch" home at 5113 Fountainhead Drive in 2018, it became an eyesore for neighbors. Looking as it did, it wasn’t easy to find a buyer for the property. Gaping holes in the roof were covered by large blue tarps and the entire east wing of the home was visibly damaged by fire.

However, the founder of full-service general contractor Exodus Industries, apparently looked past the destruction and saw its potential.

“Gwen saw the rebuilding of this property as a need in the neighborhood, and had a vision for what the house could become,” says Anne Jost, Exodus Industries architect, regarding Gwen Shamblin Lara. “She worked with realtor Brandon Hannah, of Brandon Hannah Properties, to find the right family to take on rebuilding the home.”

Anne says buyers Ryan and Kristin Sisemore also saw potential despite the fire damage and decided to make this burned-down house their forever home.

The Sisemores purchased the house at the end of 2019, and say they were confident in having Exodus Industries lead the renovation. “Many of our friends and neighbors have used Exodus Industries and the company came highly recommended,” says Ryan, who is also president of the Fountainhead homeowners’ association. “Over the years, we have used Exodus for projects large and small. Their staff is clear, communicative and kind, and we had been thrilled with the results in the past.”  

Kristin adds, “A person’s largest investment is usually their home – and it is also their most personal one. This requires working with people you can trust. In addition, a project of this magnitude and complexity requires a special touch. Because of our previous experiences, we knew Exodus was the only company we would feel comfortable entrusting with this monumental task.”   

Since 2003, the Exodus team has delivered what’s often referenced as “impeccable design ideas” for customers’ home improvements.

Anne says Gwen often led the staff from an innovative and free-thinking approach to design, combining modern and classical design elements, for example, integrating technology seamlessly into antique pieces of furniture. “Over the years, her heart for service to the community and beautiful design work has touched hundreds of properties throughout Middle Tennessee and the Southeast,” she adds.

Many Exodus staffers are long-term employees. The company’s employees continually emphasized building and supporting a reputation of honesty, quality performance, craftsmanship, dedication and willingness to try new technology or installation methods that helped keep them on the cutting edge in the industry.  

Key team members of this Fountainhead home rebuilding project included:  Jason Hamilton, who led the team with care and attention to detail in project management; Gus Oehlerking and Chip Benesch directing all carpentry; Clint Snider overseeing installation of all interior finishes; master plumber Joaquin Sanchez; and Brent Meyer supervising all demo, foundation, concrete and masonry work. The Exodus service divisions managed the plumbing and HVAC installations.

The Exodus team believed the finished product truly shows a dedication to excellence.

Along with Anne and Gwen, Gwen’s daughter-in-law, Erin Shamblin, all three worked together to reorganize the home’s floor plan and to supervise the overall design for the exterior of the house, which transformed the entire look of the home.

“The vision Gwen had for the home was to keep the design clean and bright through a careful combination of contemporary and traditional elements,” says Anne. “Her principles for designing functional and beautiful spaces drove the entire design for the home. She worked to draw the eye upward at both the interior and exterior spaces of the home through raising the pitches of the roofs lines and keeping a lighter color scheme throughout.”

She adds, “From creating beautiful views and focal points as you walk through the house, to organizing a kitchen to serve the needs of the family comfortably and efficiently, the design staff at Exodus worked to implement these principles while also working with the homeowner to customize the home to their specific needs and wants.” 

Now, Anne believes the house is totally transformed and has a stately presence along Fountainhead’s main drive -- a stark contrast from its condition post-fire.

At the interior of the home, clear views from the industrial steel front doors draw one’s eye through the formal spaces of the home out toward the pool. The vaulted ceilings over the family room and kitchen create incredible height and openness in the home. The former hockey rink has been transformed into a beautiful master suite, complete with incredible natural light, generous his-and-her closets and a spa-like bathroom that includes solid slabs of quartz along the shower walls. The ‘support’ spaces of the home are equally exciting with dream pantry and laundry rooms that serve the home discretely and functionally, says Anne.

Ryan confirms that he and Kristin quickly saw that the Exodus team had talent regarding how to start with something modest and finish with something full of beauty. “Gwen was a big-picture thinker and yet still saw the finest details. Her care and attention to detail trickled down to her staff, who are serious professionals and genuine people.” 

Exodus General Manager Steve Graham worked closely with trusted partners on this project to include the highest quality products and materials to the project. Those partners include Home Depot, Prosource Wholesale, Ferguson Bath + Kitchen Gallery, GAF, Cosentino, Alley-Cassetty, Pro-Door Doctor, Jeld-wen, Luminate, Clearshott Design and Stock and Trade – all were an integral part of the overall success of the project.  

The home was completed in May of this year and the Sisemores say they love so many of the details of their new home, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

“The kitchen and family room combination turned out to be such a lovely room,” says Kristin. “It is bright, crisp, and airy while being warm and welcoming at the same time. The cabinetry is just beautiful. The bar area is another great spot that adds great character and warmth to the house, and we look forward to hosting many fun gatherings.” 

These new homeowners love the grand master wing that contains many thoughtful details, including between the bathroom and master closets. Perhaps the largest transformation, and perhaps a favorite feature for the Sisemores, they say, is the front façade of the home. “We love the magnificent front porch that did not exist before. The steel front doors that open into the foyer allow you to look straight through into the pool area which really sets the tone for the rest of the home.” 

“Exodus Industries designed and created our dream home!” adds Kristin. “It has a lovely organizational flow as you walk through; it is open while still having defined spaces; it is sustainable, efficient, and smart. The results are beautiful. The challenge of working within an existing footprint required creativity, custom work, and some obstacles that were met along the way. Our home has been thoughtfully designed and built by a team we now consider friends. We look forward to inviting the team back over now that the house is finished to enjoy the fruit of their labor!” 

Ryan says, for him, “The house represents hope, restoration, and a new beginning. We don’t plan on moving anytime soon – but if we did, we would look forward to working with Exodus Industries should ANY future project or need come up again!” 

People soon can see this magnificent, rebuilt contemporary French Tudor home for themselves with the craftsmanship and style that went into it at an Open House set for July 22nd. 

Exodus Industries was voted “Best home builder/remodeler” by Brentwood Lifestyle’s Reader’s Choice Awards. The company provides every trade needed for commercial and residential projects -- both new and renovation – including construction, architectural design, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, excavation, concrete, custom carpentry, and GAF certified roofing services.

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