Andy and Michele Topka were happily tucked away in a quiet Charleston-area cul-de-sac, but as their family grew, their traditional home started feeling claustrophobic. The kitchen was closed off from living spaces, and the home lacked easy access to the outdoors and cheerful Southern sunshine that Michele, a transplanted Californian, craved. "We debated moving," she says. "But every house we looked at needed remodeling in one way or another, and we realized we really preferred to stay right here."
The Topkas teamed up with architect Heather Wilson and interior designer Jen Langston to rework their home with a more family-friendly layout and fresh, natural style. Because they didn't want a bigger house— just a smarter one—they focused their remodel mainly on the lower level.