An efficient design plan makes entertaining easy in a new Victorian Village home.

Designing their dream home from the ground up was a large undertaking, but one well within reach for Gary Lackey and Michael Lord, who started work on their Victorian Village home in 2013. The couple had previously tackled three home design projects while living in Houston so they felt prepared to take on the challenge of building a new house when their careers relocated them to Columbus from New York City in 2011.

They were looking for an open lot near the Short North and the city's major hotspots, says Lackey. They also wanted a space that would be conducive to entertaining, which they love to do. Thus, when they learned that Bob and Michael Mahaney, of MM Developing LLC, had acquired a piece of land on Second Avenue in Victorian Village they were quick to jump on the opportunity. Lackey says they met with Bob that afternoon and put down an offer on the lot. Over the next year and a half, they worked closely with the developers and architect Bradley Blumensheid, of dkb architects, as well as the Victorian Village Commission, to complete the home in January 2015.

The process was long, but rewarding. With the creative reins in their hands, Lackey and Lord brought their vision to life in every detail of the project. “[Bob Mahaney] said, ‘These are your four external walls, whatever you want to do inside is yours,'” recalls Lord.

Creating a sense of space was essential. “We wanted something that's just kind of wide open,” says Lackey. While many traditional layouts in the neighborhood include closed-off spaces for cooking, dining and living, Lackey and Lord designed their spaces to naturally flow together.

Upon entering the front door of the 3,200-square-foot abode, the open layout of the main floor provides a view directly to the rear of the home, where French doors lead to an enclosed backyard. At the front of the home, a spacious dining room includes a table that comfortably seats up to 10 guests and large bay windows that allow in plenty of natural light. A small, half bath is nearby.

Cooking and entertaining for family and friends who regularly stop in is easy in an open kitchen that has an inviting social space around a large center island. Topped with Mascavo Quartzite in a leathered finish, Lackey says the island is one of his favorite features in the home. He drew inspiration for it while touring the BIA Parade of Homes a couple of years ago.

Aside from considering the aesthetics of the kitchen, the homeowners put careful thought into its function—they cook nearly every night and participate in a monthly, rotating dinner club with friends in the neighborhood. An easily accessible walk-in pantry is installed nearby. “We both really like to cook, so we wanted open shelving to be able to see what [we] have,” Lackey says. With seating for four at the island, the homeowners can stay connected to guests while they work in the kitchen.

To help increase the visual openness of the entire main floor, Lackey and Lord incorporated 9-foot ceilings and an open staircase with solid wrought-iron spindles, dark walnut newel posts and hand rails to enhance sight lines. Black walnut wood floors provide continuity throughout, while dark gray walls and ceilings create a sense of warmth and comfort. A stylish family room at the rear of the home provides a place to kick back and admire the homeowners' collection of local art while listening to tunes played on the baby grand piano, which connects to internet radio.

The homeowners' priorities for space, comfort and eclectic design extend to the basement, a hotspot during football season, where mementoes from Lackey's alma mater, Auburn, adorn the walls, though Buckeyes friends are still welcome. Three TVs are mounted on the wall, while a billiard area creates a sports-bar aura. Nine-foot ceilings and polished concrete floors add allure throughout. A convenient place for hosting out-of-town guests, this level also offers guest bedroom quarters and a full bath. While Lackey says he was the driving force behind the basement design, Lord takes credit for putting his talents to work in the master bedroom and bath on the second floor.

Upstairs, dark gray bedroom walls and ebony-stained furniture provide contrast to black-and-white bedding, a color scheme that complements the open master bath connected to the space. A stunning steam shower, measuring 5 feet deep and 10 feet wide, is adorned with Ecuador Marmara polished marble on its walls and ceiling, with black-and-white river rock anchoring its floor. Plenty of additional space leaves room for a freestanding tub, double vanities and a separate water closet.

The second floor also offers an additional guest bath and bedroom, where bay windows provide early morning views of the Victorian Village street out front. A third bedroom was converted into an office space and an upstairs laundry offers convenience.

Although the home's residents admit they didn't initially have a strong interest in coming to Columbus, once they arrived it didn't take long to discover many things to love about the city. Now that the home is complete, they and their two French bulldogs, Louis and Hugo, plan to stay long-term. “We feel really fortunate to have found a place to build exactly what we want,” says Lackey. “We're very happy in this neighborhood.”