Hollyhock House

When the doors opened to the 2009 gala fundraiser celebrating the 2009 Big Brothers Big Sisters Showcase Home of The Year, there was an abundance of wide eyes and a profusion of praise. What greeted local philanthropists that year was a home whose lines and contents exude elegance and comfort. It's called Hollyhock House, a seamlessly natural blend of French cottage and country manor and another showcase of Robert Gurnea's skill.

"We interviewed other contractors but Robert's demeanor and sincerity, in addition to his technical skills, gave us great confidence," explained one of Hollyhock House's owners. "His company wasn't the biggest, just the best," she continued. "There was never a can't-do attitude with Robert. He just figured out how to get things done."

The task for Robert was to convert Hollyhock House into a home that made a bold statement about their tastes and outlooks on life. Rarities from Europe and curious knickknacks and spontaneous discoveries from around the world would share the same shelf space, a home theater would be a stone's throw from a Tibetan meditation room, and – centerpiece to the home – an impressive French-influenced dining room with an abundance of light, windows and glass ceiling would pleasantly bridge the lush gardens outside with the ornate custom details within. The front of the home was completely removed and renovated. An irrelevant sitting room was converted to an art gallery. The meditation room was built around the exquisite and oversized furnishings of spiritual origin. A wine vault replaced an aging western bar. Walls came down, beams were raised, sunlight poured in, and – in nine months – the energies, vision and creativity of Robert and his team made reality of one couple's dream.

"Robert simply gets it and he makes it happen," explained the owner. "And to have him do so on deadline and on budget was an amazing feat."