It's a winner
This photo shows the outdated brass in the Bernhardt's Worthington-area home prior to its master bath renovation.Submitted photo.
We were at the height of the recession—and the building industry was sluggish—when we announced Columbus Monthly’s second annual Renovation Competition last fall. Still, it was a big success. Entries began trickling in before the new year and as we neared the April 15 deadline, we were almost flooded with possible winners.
As was the case with our first competition a year ago, the number of kitchen entries far exceeded the others. Kitchen designs vary dramatically, from a basic renovation within the same footprint of a room to a first floor demolition incorporating multiple rooms into one thriving gathering place for the family.
Our kitchen favorites were many. We received a bold blue entry from Clintonville that shouted color and fun. We got an exquisitely medieval design in Victorian Village—the story of a unique kitchen renovation that we plan to share at another time. There were at least two entries that greatly resembled our winners from 2009. Certainly we enjoyed looking over myriad selections and spent days trying to choose the one outstanding entry.
When all opinions were in, we selected the kitchen of Jennifer and Doug Sawyer in Upper Arlington. The Sawyers’ entry showed dramatic forethought as their before photos involved the floor plan of a basic ranch-style home. The couple, with the help of their builder and a few others, tore out nearly every internal wall in the house. Their resulting project is an awesome black and white kitchen.
Next it was time to select a winning bathroom. Being the smallest and perhaps most private room in the house, imagine our job: knocking on doors to announce that we’re here to view their bathroom. (Yes, we give some advance warning.) It wasn’t until we were inside the master bathroom of Rachell and Cliff Bernhardt in Olentangy Highlands that we really understood this floor plan. The room’s design is a unique tribute to good use of space, including its private water closet complete with custom-created sliding doors.
Then, it was off to Muirfield where we found our winning family room. There, homeowners Lisa and Jason Miriello declared that they purchased their home with great anticipation for updating it. It helps that Jason is a builder, by the way. We also deem him somewhat of an artist after he explained his process for creating a five-layer crown molding in a family room that started with nearly none.
What follows are before and after photographs and stories about each of our winners. Check out columbusmonthly.com and upcoming issues of Columbus Monthly Homes regarding the deadline for the 2011 competition.
Blown out and up
Jennifer Sawyer started her entry in the kitchen competition with a sentence that should have clued us in. “The kitchen remodel was part of a larger renovation of a 1968 three-bedroom ranch in which a second story was put on and the first-floor plan was totally reworked,” she wrote.
Still, we were unprepared for what was inside the traditional exterior of this Upper Arlington home. Gleaming Brazilian cherry floors led us past the new, pillared family room and into the well-appointed and timeless kitchen space.
The Sawyers moved to this home from a similar ranch in another section of Arlington. But a new neighborhood didn’t replace the redundancy of their living space since both were ranch-style homes. With their family expanding, they knew they would immediately renovate. “That’s why we decided to blow it out and go up,” says Jennifer, referring to the near-complete renovation of the first floor and the addition of a second story.
Working with builder Steve Heinlein and interior designer Carolyn Rand, who finalized the floor plan, the Sawyers knocked out walls and created vistas that flow from one room to the next. Their open floor plan had a lot do with the fact that they are parents to three young sons.
In the kitchen, dark cherry cabinets were removed and installed in other areas of the house for storage. The Sawyers focused on a white-and-black scheme, selecting white cabinetry created in a Shaker style by Yoder Cabinets in Plain City. Plenty of storage space was added in the work areas as well as the center island. A unique pantry cabinet was installed, featuring sliding shelves for easy-to-reach access.
Next, black granite countertops were selected to provide stark contrast to the otherwise lighter space. The couple added a few modern touches—most notably in the overhead lighting where they selected sleek pendant lights from the Great Indoors. “It’s just a cleaner look,” says Jennifer. High stools around the island provide the informal dining space used by the family most of the time.
Appliances came from Builder Appliance Supply and include a Viking stove, KitchenAid refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher. The microwave oven is situated in its own cabinet, under the island’s countertop, for easy reach by shorter family members. The island itself shows much planning as its eight-sided shape was created to maintain an easy pathway between the mudroom and the remainder of the home.
Nearby, a wall that separated the home’s former family room was removed in favor of creating a larger eating space. In this area, simple updates were done, which included painting the brick fireplace white and adding a special crushed glass in place of gas logs. A table to serve larger gatherings is situated nearby.
When another wall between the formal dining room and kitchen was removed, a sink was positioned to offer wide views of the now-adjoining family room space. Small, travertine tiles are used in the backsplash above the sink. Two French doors were installed in the new family room to permit easy entry onto a grand rear patio.
Overall, the family is quite content with its massive reconstruction. “It’s very conducive to having quite a few people in,” says Jennifer, “and clean-up is easy, too.”
A no-brass bath
Perhaps the outdated brass fixtures in the bathrooms of this Olentangy Highlands home spurred these new homeowners into action.
Admittedly, Rachell Bernhardt says the brass towel racks and shower trim in the master bath played a part. “It had a one-sink vanity and old, ugly brass,” she says. Rachell and her husband, Cliff, purchased the home with an eye toward eventually updating it all.
The master suite came first, though. Even though Rachell chose to enter the Renovation Competition’s bathroom segment, we’ve given a nod to the work that’s been done to create a spacious master closet, too.
The Bernhardts and their builder, Greg Fallon of GTF Construction, eyed the prospects of enlarging the master bathroom and, perhaps, adding a master closet. Together, the group came up with the perfect solution: They would close off an outdated loft that overlooked the family room in favor of incorporating the space into the master suite.
This enabled the bathroom, which previously included a shower and tub combination, to exponentially expand to involve a spacious shower. The Bernhardts opted for a custom fabricated unit made by Engineered Marble, which included not only the flooring, but also an accompanying shower bench. Shower walls are of 16-inch gray tiles from Home Depot.
The shower is further adorned with a built-in shelf lined with one-inch multi-colored tiles that match those in the vanity areas. In a unique twist to the bathroom double-sink vanity, the Bernhardts installed two separate vanities—one for him and one for her. Although both feature cherry KraftMaid cabinetry with a dark peppercorn finish, Rachell’s version has a deeper countertop to better accommodate a woman’s beauty accessories. Faucets on both sinks are Delta Arzo—in a sparkling silver-colored chrome.
The water closet is a unique concept—a variation on the traditional toilet room. This one features fancy, custom-created doors by MasterCraft with wooden frames and satin glass.
The room’s décor is nicely tied together with 12-inch gray floor tiles and a Panasonic Whisper lighting system, which includes electronic timer controls as well as dimming switches for a variety of lighting possibilities.
Now that the brass is gone and the space has grown, the bathroom’s deep gray and muted tones, chrome fixtures and compartmentalized areas suit the couple well.
“I really like clean lines,” explains Rachell. “I wanted something timeless. Nothing too trendy.”
The artistic builder
Winners of our family room renovation, Jason and Lisa Miriello, seem to work well together. Admittedly, Lisa is not in Jason’s line of work—he’s a professional contractor—but she sometimes makes suggestions that at first seem absurd to him. On second thought, sometimes he’ll give them a try.
For example, there was a time she was perched on their outdated kitchen’s peninsula as they were talking about the room’s future renovation. She said it was too bad that they couldn’t just cut off the peninsula, move it to the center of the room, and turn it into a necessary island.
Sure enough, Jason went to work with a saw. The piece he cut off was situated a few feet away, painted and a new countertop added. A temporary center island had been created.
But this wasn’t what Lisa Miriello entered into our Renovation Competition this year. (They plan a massive kitchen renovation in the future.) We were enchanted with the Miriellos’ entry for the family room renovation.
Jason is one of many contractors who have spent the last several years building Tartan Fields and neighboring developments. It was during this time that he spun out on his own and created Everett Homes, doing both new homes and renovations. “I wanted to see if I could put the high-end upgrades we were using in those homes into a renovation here,” says Jason. “I really felt like the Muirfield area was ready for this.”
Thus, back in 2006 the couple found an out-of-date Muirfield home near the seventh fairway of the championship course. Upon his first peek inside, Jason immediately had a vision. He would knock out a wall between the isolated living room at the front of the home and the family room at the rear.
Soon after moving in, the unused living room was transitioned to a grand dining room space for large family gatherings. Beyond, the couple created the family room of their dreams, replacing its dark décor with creamy white woodwork and adding exquisite detailing in its crown molding.
The moldings are Jason’s own design, using five layers, mainly purchased from P & W Millworks. His inspiration, he says, came from a trip to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. Windows at the rear of the room were replaced with a custom sliding door that leads to the recently added series of outdoor decks.
Plenty of inset lighting was installed in the room that originally relied on lamps except for an odd spotlight over the fireplace. Carpet was replaced with woodlike laminate flooring, a concession to their active dog and 5-year-old twin sons. The entire dark mantel and shelving area was replaced with white cabinets, built by Jason, and an updated white mantel.
Today, the Miriellos look ahead to their next project. It’s the kitchen, of course.
Sherry Beck Paprocki is the editor of Columbus Monthly Homes.