A Big Update of a Small House
An Upper Arlington Couple Renovates a Ranch Focusing on Energy Efficiency and Modern Design.
Photos BY MICHAEL A. FOLEY/MAF PHOTOGRAPHY
The tiny, three-bedroom home in Upper Arlington was perfect for the young, single homeowner when she purchased it back in 1994. Over time, the independent speech pathologist made miscellaneous updates, including replacement of its original 1950s windows with more modern, energy-efficient ones. Still, it was drafty. Winter evenings were spent eating dinner in a heavy coat and putting on sweatpants before bed.
Then along came a guy who lived in a beautiful Dublin condominium. As the relationship grew serious, the two considered their options and looked at various other properties to purchase. As it turned out, her home was only 2 miles from his office and plans to rejuvenate the nearby Kingsdale Shopping Center persuaded them to stay.
Their dating relationship ended happily in marriage, followed almost immediately by a complete, energy-efficient renovation. This is the story of two independent people who came together to collaborate on the flawless upgrade of their first shared space.
As newlyweds, Lynn Gay-Roedel and her husband, Jeff Roedel, made multiple decisions that suited them both. The home’s golden oak floors would be kept, but stained a more modern, dark color that matched the espresso tones in the new kitchen cabinets. “We tried to be environmentally conscious,” explains Lynn of the decision to keep the original wooden floors.
The couple chose to use an organic palette of natural colors—browns, beiges and greens. “Our taste is similar so it worked out really well,” she adds. “I love projects and designing so it was sort of an adventure with a great outcome!”
With several walls removed, the house’s original, choppy floor plan now flows easily from one room to the next. The living room was completely upgraded with a new stacked-stone fireplace surround, creamy white moldings, a white leather sofa from Macy’s and other modern furnishings. The couple explains that their neighbor, Fred Kimes, is a carpenter who built the original shelving on each side of the fireplace. Kimes has witnessed their many updates, including the finishing touches on moldings above his original shelving—a detail not considered necessary when the home was built.
Standing in the kitchen, Lynn describes the cold nights when she would eat dinner in her winter jacket before quickly crawling under multiple blankets in bed because the house was so cold. Seated on the window seat that his wife designed in the adjoining dining area, Jeff explains the warmth factor involved since the renovation began with new insulation throughout. Lynn demonstrates the efficiency of a blackout shade that covers the big window behind him.
She also points out the new hot-water-on-demand spigot used for hot chocolate and such, one of her favorite energy-saving upgrades. Kenmore Elite appliances were chosen, except for the Bosch dishwasher. Brown and beige quartz countertops blend well with the natural color palette of the house, which ranges from Valspar’s Olive Garden color in the kitchen to Garden Sage and Koi Pond, also by Valspar, in the guest bath and bedroom, respectively.
Down a short hallway, more walls were removed to create two ensuites—the master and a guest suite of about the same size. Closets were enlarged and the couple helped design the custom doors created at Lowe’s. A second bathroom was added and both suites were done in high-end style, featuring glass-tiled backsplashes, glass shower surrounds and upgraded countertops.
The couple focused on small details, too, such as the creation of floating bed stands that make sweep-up easy due to the hair shed by their four papillons.
Once renovation of the main floor was complete, they immediately embarked on a lower-level update with help from Buckeye Basements, beginning with the replacement of uneven and muddy concrete floors. Another drastic change was made that involved new ductwork and other mechanics, allowing the space to be heightened. Partly because Lynn doesn’t like to be cold, the two installed another energy-efficient upgrade: a radiant heating system under the wood floors so that in winter they can control the floor temperatures. In fact, the lower level now stays so warm the couple confesses to rarely using their new ventless fireplace.
A home-theater effect is in place, with seating provided by a spacious brown leather sofa with stools that creates a relaxing space for the couple, as well as their dogs. It is in this warm and cozy place that many of their evenings are spent. Mornings often start here, too, at the complete kitchen set up with their old kitchen appliances. The couple especially loves the oblong glass tiles in cool gray and blue tones that were installed as the backsplash. A blue Silestone countertop from Home Depot was ordered to match. In February, Jeff opened his own business, so his home office is conveniently steps away.
A third bedroom suite was created nearby, as was a large laundry closet. (The home’s original laundry chute now empties into a nearby kitchen wall cabinet.) The couple recounts their efforts to convince contractors that this dated, yet efficient, delivery system should be kept intact.
Tim Dowgiert of Toledo worked tediously for 10 months during the renovation process. The project began in January 2010 and ended the day before Thanksgiving that year—a holiday the newlyweds hosted in their renovated space.
Lynn wanders into what is obviously one of her favorite places in the home—the doggy wash room, which features a deep sink for bathing, countertops for drying and a wall full of cabinets for storing their pets’ equipment. She pulls a glass door closed, showing the dogs’ own tiny, enclosed, quarters where they stay when the couple is away for short spans.
Those times may involve evening jaunts to a reinvigorated Kingsdale or a half-hour walk to Graeter’s on Lane Avenue. “We wanted to stay in Arlington,” Lynn says. “It’s so walkable around here,” Jeff adds.
Sherry Beck Paprocki is a freelance writer.