Robert Steverson has an idea. This is not unusual for the Director of Signature Homes at Reynolds. Ideas have poured from Steverson’s mind since he designed his first home at age 15. He’s been trying to help someone understand the meaning of “transitional design” over the phone. To make the concepts clear, Steverson’s idea is to “surround yourself in the design” at Reynolds’ two newest model homes on the edge of Richland Pointe.

“Let’s meet there,” he says. Less than an hour later, the visitor opens the door to the first model home and is met with an open living room, kitchen, and separate gathering space, all visible from one vantage point. The home looks somewhat familiar or “traditional” … but not quite. Daylight pours in from the back. A staircase climbs to a rooftop terrace. Around the home are translucent doors and glass railings.

An all-star cast of designers, architects, and builders enters to offer insights about transitional designs. Steverson sits down and exhales. “This feels nice,” he says. “I can breathe.” He has just summarized the end goal of “transitional.” Literally, the design straddles the line between traditional and modern, and between simple and elegant. Physically, it is the crux of calm.

“A lot of people have been asking for what you see in these model homes,” Steverson says. “The lines are cleaner. The colors are light and uncomplicated. Instead of ornate patterns, you see a minimalistic approach to features. It creates a relaxing mood.” Robert Steverson, Director of Signature Homes at Reynolds Lake Oconee

At the same time, the Signature Home Program at Reynolds leaves plenty of creative room for individual style.

“This isn’t meant to be a cut and paste,” Steverson says. For proof, he leads us next door.


Tastes of transitional designs in a traditional home.


Gary and Nancy Pierotti,

Custom Home Builders

“It’s interesting to see how the transitional designs appeal to people who didn’t think they’d ever want them. A verbal description isn’t always enough. You have to stand here and feel how a clean, uncluttered, and open home can change you. When we built our own home nearly 10 years ago, it looked similar to this model. It just felt good to us. We didn’t call it a ‘transitional design’ at the time, but in a way, that’s what we’ve been enjoying all along.”

Alicia Mooney,

Interior Designer

“I’ve favored the transitional design my entire career, since 2002. People weren’t ready to take a chance when they heard me talk about designing living spaces with soft gray walls, minimal trim, and so much natural light. Now I don’t have to hope people will trust me. We can come here to the model home so they can see why people like me are so excited about this.”


Transitional design as a complete lifestyle.


Derek Welch,

Custom Home Builder

“It’s fun to watch people experience two ‘wows.’ They see this unexpected exterior and then walk into a beautifully simple interior. It’s the perfect merging of clean and contemporary.”

Derek Welch meets us on the sidewalk connecting the two model homes. “It’s a different look, isn’t it?” says Welch, who co-founded DreamBuilt in 1999 with his wife, Ann, and Jim and Paige Ruhl. The team has their personal touch on nearly 200 custom-built (or dream-built) homes at Reynolds. None of them, however, is like the model in front of us, with its steep-pitch Galvalume metal roof, stucco and trim all one color, and no glass at the entrance.

“You’re in for a surprise when you walk inside,” Welch says.

The door opens to a full display of transitional design. There’s no foyer, so you’re immediately in an indoor-outdoor environment. It’s natural, uncrowded, and spacious. The windows are huge, the colors clean, and doors minimal. A woodstove takes up a fraction of the space that a fireplace would consume. Rather than boxing an elevator into an entire wall, they’ve designed this one into the floor as a translucent tube. The views of nature are uninterrupted.

“Simplicity does not mean bland,” Steverson says. “With transitional designs, we implement creative elements to be useful rather than decorative. One person wants a sports car. Another person wants a truck. It’s a matter of lifestyle preference.”

The Signature Home team at Reynolds leads the way by exploring new ideas. Welch talks about staring at castles in Ireland, churches in Philadelphia, and antebellum homes in Georgia. When Steverson travels with his family, they stay in vacation homes rather than hotels. His innovative mind is always working.

“I can’t turn it off,” he says. “If we aren’t spending at least an hour every day researching ideas, then we’re just going backwards.”

The team knew how they wanted to use the two model homes to showcase transitional designs, but they didn’t know for sure what others would think until the doors opened for visitors. The first visitor Steverson invited into the homes was a finicky future homeowner of few words: his teenage son.

“He walked through without turning the lights on and said, ‘this is bright and positive.’ Now he says he wants one of the same homes for us.”

Each model home signifies a new era for architecture and design at Reynolds. As smart as they are, the Signature Home team does not take credit for leading the way here.

“Homeowners brought us to this point,” Steverson says. “We’re looking and listening to see where they guide us next.” Robert Steverson, Director of Signature Homes at Reynolds Lake Oconee


Zeb Grant,

Interior Designer

“This home bridges the worlds of traditional and modern. It’s creative, yet clean. Every space has a great view of the lake, trees, purity … everything the city dwellers don’t have.”

The 1-2-3s of the Signature Home Program:

Like art and food, home designs depend on personal tastes. “Our most important job,” says Robert Steverson, Director of Signature Homes at Reynolds, “is listening to what the homeowner wants.”

The only limits are:

  1. The buildable area for the size of the lot
  2. Neighborhood guidelines
  3. Budget

Then the team building begins:

  1. Tour the model homes for ideas.
  2. Choose a builder based on personality, not pricing. The relationship is crucial.
  3. Choose a designer with the same question in mind: Do we get along well?
  4. Decide between traditional or transitional designs.
  5. Build a team of landscape architects, engineers, and craftsmen.
  6. Get to know your team. They’ll be bringing your dream home to life.

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