Reader's Choice: Lasting Impressions By Carolyn Weber and Christina B. Farnsworth

Name: Personal Residence

Location: Greenville, S.C.

Year Built: 1998

Architect: Kevin Culhan

Why it's relevant: How a house lives is just as important, if not more important, than how it looks.

The house that has influenced Kevin Culhan the most is his own. The vice president of architecture and director of design at Don Gardner Inc., in Greenville, S.C., says that it's the perfect frame of reference for what to do and quite often, what not to do.

When he designed the story and half farmhouse 3 1/2 years ago, he and his wife spent most of their time thinking in general terms. They concentrated on the wide-open family friendly floor plan and views to their wooded lot, but didn't think much about the little details of how it would live. "I had done hundreds of plans for other people," he says. "And took for granted that since I designed it, it would be perfect."

Although he is generally pleased, there are a few things he would have done differently. "It's the quirky things that you don't realize until you live in a house," he remarks. For instance, he is going to retrofit his daughters' bathroom vanity with drawers and plugs for their growing collection of hairdryers. "Designing my own house has really taught me a lot of lessons," Culhan notes. "I consider the details much more thoroughly now and try to envision how people really live in a home."

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