Champion race car driver Troy Coughlin and his wife, Julie, were enjoying drinks with a winemaker in Napa Valley when they realized what they wanted to do.

The couple had been contemplating whether to move from their sprawling, retreat-like estate in Delaware County. Their California vacation was finally giving them ample time to discuss their options. As they did, the winemaker piped up.

"You don't have to be around the friends," he said. "You can bring the friends to you."

Cheers to that, they thought.

So the couple returned, and the renovations began. They wouldn't move, they decided, but they would turn their house into someplace spectacular for everyday family life and the entertaining they relish.

Troy-a Dublin native who is the vice president of his family's auto parts business, JEGS Mail Order-was a bachelor with a daughter and son when he purchased the house in the mid-90s and decked it in black. Eventually, Troy, 46, and Julie, 45, married and had two more daughters.

Over the years, Julie, who graduated from Ohio State University with an art history degree, had added her feminine touches to the home. But upon returning from Napa, she spearheaded a renovation that transformed the contemporary, masculine space into one that is luxurious and chic but also livable and comfortable.

The square footage jumped from 9,000 to more than 13,000. The original garage was turned into a family room, and a new garage was built. The master bedroom was expanded. The swimming pool was reconstructed. The multi-tiered patio was revamped. The landscaping was overhauled. And the dcor was carefully chosen room by room, space by space, with Julie herself serving as the design mastermind.

She collaborated with Jana Leino, the owner of home goods store Found in Powell, to achieve her desired aesthetic, but takes pride in the fact she was her own interior designer.

Now, the Coughlin home, which is nestled on 60 woodsy acres in Delaware, is complete-and stunning.

"Julie has great taste," Leino said. "(She) didn't want this to be a show home. She wanted this to be a place for her family to live and be in and be comfortable-functional as well as appealing."
Mission accomplished, Troy said.

"She has turned it from a bachelor pad into a very warm, welcoming home," he said. "Much nicer."

It may not be perfect from a decorating standpoint, Julie said, but it's perfect for her.

"It's a place I enjoy coming home to, a place where my friends feel welcome," she said. "I feel like it's us-it is warm and inviting and comfortable, and people want to come and put their feet up and have a glass of wine."

On that note, the Coughlins, both thrilled with their abode, cherish an unopened bottle of Elan Vineyards proprietary blend specially made to commemorate the moment in Napa that they decided to stay.

"That was a blessing," Troy said. "That was a good day."