A Blue Jackets player and his growing family find space in Muirfield.
When their first son came along in 2013, Blue Jackets player Brandon Dubinsky and his wife, Brenna, knew it would not be long before they wanted to upsize from their chic North Bank condo in the Arena District to a home fit for their growing family. Their housing requirements had changed since 2012 when they moved to Downtown Columbus as newlyweds following Brandon's trade from the New York Rangers to Columbus' professional hockey team.
“Living Downtown was a great transition from New York City,” says Brenna, a former professional model and University of Virginia basketball player. (Her late grandfather was Basketball Hall of Fame coach and broadcast basketball analyst Al McGuire.)
Convenient access to Nationwide Arena and the Short North offered plenty of opportunities for the Dubinskys to enjoy city living. But as they slowly started outgrowing their space with plans of adding to their family in the future, a move to the suburbs felt like the next natural step.
The couple took time to explore their options, which included buying land to build. They set their sights on the Muirfield area, eventually stumbling upon a recently renovated Georgian colonial situated on a sizeable piece of land on the golf course. Brenna, who grew up on the East Coast, was drawn to the home's traditional red brick exterior while Brandon, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, appreciated its close proximity to the course.
“We're members at the Muirfield Village [Golf Club], and friends of ours live right down the street, so we were familiar with the area. It just seemed like really the perfect situation,” he says.
Built in the mid-1980s, the residence was originally designed to model a traditional Georgian colonial with separate rooms and specific standards on symmetry and proportion typical of the style. But a major renovation done by the previous homeowners in 2012 transformed its interior to a modern, open floor plan making it exactly what the Dubinskys were looking for in a new home.
“The owners that had it before us did an amazing job with their vision of opening it all up,” says Brandon. “[After buying it in 2014,] we really just came in and made it our own.”
Working with Stephanie Walker of Crimson Design Group, the same interior designer they worked with on their North Bank condo, the couple organized their vision for the space with a little help from Pinterest and Houzz and a binder full of design inspirations for each room.
“Brenna had done a lot of homework,” says Walker, who was already familiar with the homeowners' personalities and preferences. “Their style from the first round at the condo and the space now is similar, but now it was about lightening it up.”
Gravitating toward a tailored, classic look—but homey and with contemporary touches—a color palette of fresh whites, creams and soft greys would drive the color scheme for a majority of the home. Reimagining many of the pieces from their North Bank space would also play a role.
“Everything was very timeless and classic,” adds Walker of the furnishings used in the condo. “So, when we did transition pieces it wasn't hard to flow into the Muirfield space.”
As the hub of the home, the kitchen and family room were two areas of priority for the couple—comfort and function were necessary. To help enhance the openness of the white vaulted ceilings and dark hardwood floors, walls and wood paneling were updated in white.
The Dubinskys were also thoughtful in their furniture and fabric choices because they wanted the overall look to feel polished, but durable, for everyday living and life with young kids.
A cozy seating area anchoring the open living space gives the family—which now includes a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old son—room to spread out. Light gray couches with separate cushions, along with indoor-outdoor fabrics used on select pieces throughout the space, make emergency cleanups a cinch.
To brighten the kitchen, new gold hardware was added to existing white cabinets and a matching white hood was installed above the stovetop. A tile backsplash and polished nickel light fixtures above the island add extra warmth and lightness to the finished look.
For the homeowners, the redesigned island is one of the best features in the home. “When I tell people about our house and what we did, it's one of my favorite things to say,” says Brenna. Finished in a light Silestone surface with all white paneling and plenty of seating, the kitchen centerpiece serves as a natural gathering place when entertaining small groups.
While comfort and convenience were a factor in both of these spaces, the rest of the main floor takes on a more formal feel.
Upon entering the front door, where twin staircases climb to the second floor, an arched entryway invites guests into the grand living room at the center of the home. Dubbed the “off-limits? room for a reason, the fresh white and cream color scheme extends to this expansive space where high ceilings, large windows and French doors beckon airiness—a bold contrast to Brandon's office and the formal dining room, both accessible from the space.
“Brandon wanted a masculine, men's club feel for [his office],” says Walker. Painted from wall to ceiling in black lacquer, the homeowners were looking for a dramatic update to what was formerly a traditional library. Incorporating many of the pieces from the North Bank condo, the room's sophisticated elegance comes to life with built-in bookcases equipped with wall-mounted lights, and humidors that allow Brandon and friends to enjoy cigars without worry of smoke filtering through the rest of the home.
The dining room nearby has a similar feel with black grasscloth walls, and upholstered navy blue dining chairs repurposed from the North Bank space. White wall art and a sizable modern painting above the buffet add pops of brightness to the dark, rich color scheme.
Though the young couple envisions greater use of these spaces down the road, they say that most of their entertaining currently happens in the updated lower level.
After moving in, a major renovation was done to tailor the space. An unused bedroom and full bathroom were eliminated to make space for a game room, ceilings were raised and a customized bar was added. Favorite artwork and framed jerseys from Brandon's professional hockey career embellish the walls in the seating area, adding a personal touch to the space.
“I just wanted it to look really nice,” he says, of the men's club feel. “I didn't want it to feel like a frat house.”
A large home theater, play area for the kids and outdoor access to the backyard make the basement a one-stop-shop for entertaining and one of the homeowners' favorite spaces in the home.
“We tried to find a way to make things traditional and contemporary,” says Brandon, of the home's overall design. With the interior of the home just the way they want it, the homeowners foresee the next project: an overhaul of the backyard patio including a built-in eating bar, grill, increased seating space and a fire pit. “That's our potential spring and summer project,” adds Brenna.