Meadow DeFoshe-Christ and David Christ called on local businesses to build a perfectly sized riverfront home
By Elizabeth Poindexter | Photography by John Michael Simpson
With just one visit, David Christ and Meadow DeFosche-Christ fell in love with 6 wooded acres along the Haw River in Pittsboro.
“We came up [from Sanford], and we looked at it,” Meadow says of their property tour on New Year’s Eve in 2016. “We both instantly knew we wanted to live here.”
Within 24 hours, the couple put in an offer on the undeveloped land off Riverwalk Trail surrounded by native plants and woods where neighbors believed a bear might roam. Their custom home is dubbed “the arkhaus,” a nod to their time spent individually stationed in Germany with the military and to their home’s arklike design. The rooftop has a butterfly shape designed to help with the flow of water.
The couple broke ground in 2020 just a few weeks before the global COVID-19 shutdown. A year later, David and Meadow moved into their home. They worked with Blueline Contracting Inc., and its owner Brad Johnson (whose family has since moved from Pittsboro to Oregon). At the time, Blueline worked strategically by scheduling the various subcontractor teams in stages to optimize safety during the pandemic.
“We ran into COVID-related issues during their project, and they were incredibly understanding,” Brad says. “It really helps when you have clients who are engaged in the project and ready to make decisions.”
The sheer number of decisions – and the capital needed to build a home – were most surprising to David and Meadow. “It made us both cherish the expertise of our builder and our architect, because there were things that they just really, really focused on that we were not focused on,” David says.
Meadow’s love of cooking inspired them to spend hours imagining how they wanted their kitchen to look. For David, the kitchen holds sentimental value.
“I showed up at her house for dinner, and I never left,” David says of their courtship. “Anytime we had company, everybody was jammed into the kitchen. So, that’s why we wanted the open concept with a bar … [so] she’s not in the kitchen with her back to everybody.”
The kitchen, which features art from Greensboro-based artist Heather Gerni in the dining area, leads to a sitting room with teal couches, where dogs Lulu and Pablo, and cat Grizabella often convene.
David and Meadow met in 2008 while waiting for the same military airplane in Iraq, and they married in 2012. Meadow worked as an Arab linguist and interrogator, while David worked as an acquisition officer in the Army. After completing their respective tours, David asked to be stationed at Fort Bragg, near Sanford. They would drive up from Sanford to socialize with friends at Oakleaf, a restaurant that at the time was located in Chatham Mills in Pittsboro but is now in Carrboro. The interior work – including a bar with zinc paneling – caught their eye. That’s how the couple first heard about Hobbs Architects, whose team designed the interior space at Oakleaf. Taylor Hobbs, his father, Grimsley Hobbs Jr., and Chevon Moore, all principals at the firm, would end up designing the couple’s home.
“They were very receptive to us,” Chevon says of David and Meadow. “Our ideas – they enjoyed that thinking process. I always really felt like they valued us as a team. … We’re all in this together, and we’re all working toward the same goal. They’re just really lovely people.”
DOWN BY THE WATER
David, who spent his childhood in Red Bank, New Jersey, along the Navesink River, says many of his family memories involved the waterfront. “They used to call us kids from Red Bank river rats,” he says. “Everything was on the river.” During the construction phase, David and Meadow’s home in Sanford sold faster than expected, so they rented Baldwin’s Mill, a historical grist mill near Chicken Bridge Road, owned by the Hobbs family. The rental location allowed David to occasionally kayak down the Haw River toward the 15-501 bridge to check on the building progress.
Meadow and David want to be good stewards of the land, so they commissioned a preconstruction tree survey to best position their home with minimal impact to the property. A bonus is that the position of the home maximizes its exposure to sunlight. In the winter, they can see the Haw from their bedroom windows, which are unadorned by curtains to maximize the morning light that doubles as a natural alarm clock. And, rather than establishing a large footprint, the couple chose to downsize from their 4,000-square-foot home in Sanford to around 2,500 square feet in Pittsboro. “We went for the right size with this house as opposed to really big or really small,” Meadow says.
Inside, an expansive hallway was designed to feel like an art gallery and features work by several artists, including Cecelia Wilken of Fayetteville and Pittsboro-based Shannon Bueker. One piece holds sentimental value, a work in pastel by Meadow’s father, Alfred DeFosche. Two other transitional spaces can serve as either guest rooms or home offices. In David’s office, a Murphy bed is well disguised and ready to be revealed when needed. In the main suite, a mobile wrought by the late metal sculpture artist Ruffin Hobbs hangs over the master bath – Ruffin was also Taylor’s uncle and Grimsley’s brother.
David and Meadow plan to live in the arkhaus for years to come and have many ideas, including expanding their deck and perhaps building a guest house on site. “Our hearts are in Chatham County,” David says.