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The Stecker Home - featured in the Fall/Winter 20123 Issue of At Home Magazine. Published by Community Journals in Greenville, South Carolina.


  • 48 | athome

    Animal House

    Father and son celebrate their passion for big game

    in elegant Crescent Avenue renovation

    Written by Allison Walsh Photography by Patrick Cox


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    Hand-scraped French walnut floors provide a smooth transition from the homes traditional entryway to the dramatic addition. The color

    palette and finishes were chosen to mimic the hues and patterns of the Steckers extensive

    collection of hunting trophies.

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  • 50 | athome

    No? That must mean youve never been entertained in

    Carl Steckers particular brand of bachelor pad, and thats too bad.

    Carl, a Michigan native whose company, Benefits in a Card, administers insurance for high-turnover industries, purchased his home on Crescent Avenue after a serious consultation with his son, Wells, who was three at the time and visiting for Christmas.

    We were driving around I had been here a while but I didnt really know neighborhoods. I just knew this was a really pretty part of town with big trees, and what I really liked about it was you could go for a five-mile walk and never cross a major street, Carl remembers.

    A house was spotted, a realtor called, a showing arranged. The rest is real estate history.

    I asked Wells, Do you like this house? and he said, Yeah, I like it! So that did it, Carl says.

    When you hear the words bachelor pad, your first thoughts are of zebra wood cabinetry, handscraped French walnut floors and custom monogrammed linens, right?

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    When you hear the words bachelor pad, your first thoughts are of zebra wood cabinetry, handscraped French walnut floors and custom monogrammed linens, right?

    Harlan took a less is more approach to displaying trophies, choosing to let the elegance of the animal speak for itself

    through thoughtful lighting and placement.

    As one approaches the home from the front walk there is little hint of the deep,

    rambling floor plan tucked inside.

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    Zebra wood is a favored material in the home, used for everything from sinks and cutting boards to doors masking the refrigerator, freezer and storage cabinets. Strips of the African hardwood were laminated together to create the book-matching effect on either side of the massive wine refrigerator. The black leather door handles with white topstitching were custom made in England.

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    Wells would weigh in again years later when Carls eye started wandering toward downtown condos and properties in Florida.

    I would introduce these new ideas and he was absolutely opposed to it. He didnt even want to talk about it, Carl says.

    I lived with my mother until I was about 13 and I came down here all summer, on my vacations. I had moved around a lot with my mom, and this was the one place that had always been home and had never changed, Wells explains. I just didnt want to move.

    Wells finally put his foot down and told his dad selling was not an option. Carl, now beginning to see the house for the home it had become, acquiesced and set his sights on renovating.

    I said, Well, buddy, theres things Id like to do to it.

    What would you like to do to it? Carl says. So we just started to collaborate on some of the things he might want and some of the things I might want and thats how the project started.

    The designing duo spent the next two years dreaming and drawing blueprints hundreds of them by Wells estimation and broke ground on the renovation when Wells left for his junior year at Riverside Military Academy. About six months after that it became clear to Carl he needed professional help, and he called on his friend and fellow automotive enthusiast Mark Harlan.

    If I had to describe Mark, Id say he was the house artist. He was behind every part of this project, Carl says. One of the neatest things that came out of this project, looking back, is probably my friendship with Mark Harlan.

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  • 56 | athome

    Harlan brought his laser-like attention to detail to the project, editing the Steckers massive collection of hunting trophies into a truly elegant display. If you look closely youll notice a wild kingdom influence in the finishes as well as the wall art, from the zebra wood cabinetry in the kitchen to crocodile-inspired tile in the bathroom off Carls office.

    The only space in the home that isnt under the watchful eye of a deer or buffalo or ibex is the guest suite a thoughtful deference to friends who may not be as comfortable with carcasses as their hosts.

    But we have plenty if they want to bring some in, Carl jokes.

    When Carl and Wells arent stalking prey in Zimbabwe, movies are a favorite pastime, and they have the man cave to prove it. Part theater room, part

    nightclub, part gym, the once scary basement has been transformed with custom concrete flooring, lighting and sound. The mahogany-and-maple bar is inspired by the teak and holly of an old Chris-Craft boat. To complete the bachelor pad feel, the bathroom on this level is a full-on locker room, complete with a toilet stall and towel cubbies.

    But dont let all this male design bravado fool you Carls bachelorhood is not a confirmed one. And while you will find the occasional objectifying accessory (and even those are tastefully done), its hard to imagine a future Mrs. Stecker wanting to make many modifications. Harlan even designed the master closet with her in mind he envisions a counter topping storage for luggage and linens converting to a dressing table with the addition of a bench and mirror.

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    The centerpiece of Carls office is a portrait of himself and Wells, painted by friend and local artist Anthony Conway, that took 2 years, thousands of photographs, and two bird hunting trips to complete.

    The most surprising thing about the master shower is that Carl ever gets out of it. If you can imagine a therapeutic water feature, this shower has it.

    Carl wanted a boardroom feel in the dining room, which was achieved with the square mahogany table designed around a solid granite slab with cocobolo inlay by local woodworking phenom Jaryd Walley.

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    Greenville WoodworkingRusso Integrity PaintingMattice Custom Floors & TileMarquis Granite & MarblePauls ElectricMajestic Lighting DesignKastedThe Cooks StationKessick Wine Cellars Home Solutions of the CarolinasTile & Marble GalleryClayton TileFlooredBanks PlumbingKevin King MasonryArtisan Concrete DesignsPrecision Carpentry & Plumbing Michael Condon CarpentryJohn Harrison CarpentryTuck & HowellAllcon RoofingD & S DrywallLiberty SteelGreenville FencePavers Inc.B. J. Seaborn LandscapingProlawn ServicesGateway SupplyDesign on TapBella Hardware & BathBird Hardware McAbeesBolgariMobili TablesRowan FurnitureDrexel HeritageLoree Jons Pool Tables PlusFirehouse Casual LivingHummingbird ShuttersBrannon Interior ResourcesTami Yeomans DraperySkip ArmstrongLandscape Architect

    It takes a village of craftsmen to create something as spectacular as this home. Following are those who contributed to its fabulousness:

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  • 60 | athome

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    "This project was a designers/builders/owners dream. Carl wanted everything one-off custom and unique. Literally the entire home is special. Our teams of local craftsmen and artisans stretched their talents using many exotic materials with endless details. They really came through. The result is a very sensuous and sophisticated home that everyone is so proud of. There simply is nothing else like this bad boy," Mark says.

    The bittersweet ending or new beginning to this story, is that Wells has finally made the move he

    opposed for so long. As the camera crew was unpacking lenses and tripods to shoot the photos for this story, Wells was loading his dads car with duffel bags and lacrosse sticks headed for Florida Southern College.

    While Carl will surely miss his number one son, something tells us his culinary skillset, extensive wine collection and gift for gab will not allow for many lonely nights.

    Prospective future Mrs. Steckers should submit their application under cover of the editor. ah

    The Harlan/Stecker design team is particularly proud of the basement transformation. The concrete floor was colored with a three-stage epoxy finish, incorporating coffee shades in the area near the sofas and picking up blues and silvers moving toward the pool table and bar area.

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    C O M M U N I T Y J O U R N A L SP U B L I S H I N G G R O U P

    gifts we lovetHe Upstates 2011 Holiday gift Catalog

    1 4 8 R I V E R S T . , S T E 1 2 0 , G R E E N V I L L E , S C 2 9 6 0 1 |

    at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC

    PLUS:Trip Giveaways

    including a4 night

    all-inclusive vacation

    to Breezes Grand NegrilResort & Spa,

    Negril, Jamaica

    Tickets $5free parking &$2 from everyticket will go toticket will go toticket will go to

    March 17,10am-6pm,March 18,12-4pm

    PLUS:Trip Giveaways

    including a4 night

    all-inclusive vacation

    to Breezes Grand NegrilResort & Spa,

    Negril, Jamaica

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