“We’re booming”

Hardscapes, commercial and residential, are keeping Bryan Lowrance and the crew of Storybook Stone busy in Chapel Hill, NC.

“There’s nothing better than creating level space to entertain and hang out and hardscape allows so much more to be done,” said Lowrance.

The university town’s historic aesthetics and current building codes make pavers an ideal choice.

intricate logo in hardscape
The intricate, looping Carolina Inn logo takes shape with clean curved cuts in pavers.

“With the Pine Hall Brick product, you have that beautiful old school brick,” said Lowrance.

Storybook Stone also takes on commercial projects and most recently, it got the choice contract for a paver patio entrance at the University of North Carolina’s century-old Carolina Inn. With its Georgian and neoclassical style architecture, the inn was perfect for Pathway Full Range pavers.

Many of the sidewalks in town and on the university campus are brick, some old, some brand new. One of the great things about brick paving is the way a paver laid in the 1970s can be put alongside one laid last week and they look virtually the same, because clay pavers never fade.

Lowrance’s crew installed an expansive hardscape entranceway to the large porch off of tree-lined Cameron Ave. The design, by Swanson + Associates, also in nearby Carrboro, included plans for the inn’s ornate logo done with intricately cut pavers.

Storybook Stone crew installs converging walkways. Click to enlarge.

A horticulturist by training, Lowrance bought the 46-year-old landscaping firm a few years ago from long-time landscaper Dick Henry – who’s still involved in the business – and has been busy on upscale residential projects that includes rock gardens and stone garden pathways.

“Paver driveways are big in Chapel Hill,” said Lowrance.

Storybook Stone is currently starting a water permeable driveway using Pine Hall Brick StormPave pavers to comply with local environmental codes and neighborhood aesthetics.

“Clay pavers cut easily,” said Lowrance. “The saw doesn’t get as hot as it does with other hardscape materials. We laid field then marked, scored, then cut and relaid.”

Logo being cut into center of hardscape. Click to enlarge.

hardscape logo design detail
The pandemic has continued to keep the focus on home improvement, which includes outdoor living space. Lowrance attributes Storybook Stone’s success to it legacy started by Dick Henry and his cadre of venerable craftsmen.

“I really enjoy he attention to detail,” said Lowrance. ” The way we construct stuff, we know it’s not going anywhere!”

In a historic community like Chapel Hill, that goes a long way.

Storybook Stone residential design

Residential jobs in Chapel Hill are booming. In fact, home projects make up most of Storybook Stone’s work these days, in an affluent community with strict zoning regulations.