A local couple renovates a 1950s home.

When searching for a new home, an Upper Arlington couple did not expect to find their dream place right down the street. 

The lady of the house says she and her husband wanted a first-floor master suite and an open floor plan for entertaining guests. “My husband and daughter also wanted a pool,” she says, laughing, as she admits that a swimming pool is not necessarily an easy feature to find in Central Ohio.

In their search, they were open to buying a home that required renovation. “We had remodeled the previous house and opened it up as much as we could,” she says. “We loved what we did there but it wasn’t meeting our need to be able to entertain large groups of people.”

When they toured their current home, it didn’t take much convincing. However, just in case they needed an extra nudge, the couple’s teenage daughter prepared a PowerPoint presentation for her parents, stating her case for them to buy the home, because it was “perfect” for their family, she explained. 

The couple hired Heidi Bolyard of Simplified Living Architecture and Design to lead the redesign plans. While the rafters and upstairs flooring are wooden, most of the renovated area is concrete, which presented interesting challenges during the planning phase. “There were certain things we couldn’t do and we just had to accept that,” says the lady of the house. 

Bolyard says that after a walk-through with the couple and their Realtor, she talked with them about their ideas and goals for the project. “We measured and photographed the entire house, which we then loaded into our computer system to start sketches for reworking the space,” she explains.

Because of the challenge of working with concrete walls and floors, Bolyard says the open communication between her firm and the construction company, Eagle Specialty Remodeling, was important. “Once we know we are on target with the budget and goals, we finalize the drawings for the construction company,” she says. Her firm then stayed in close touch during the construction phase to ensure efficiency and to answer questions. 

The original ceilings in the foyer were 8 feet and there was formerly a playroom above the foyer with awkward angles, making it difficult for adults to enter this area. The home did not previously have a front porch, so the couple added one, as well as a dormer to create balance in the overall design, explains Bolyard. The columns and front door were replaced to help the couple achieve their desired aesthetic. Suburban Steel Supply Company built the upgraded steel rail surrounding the stairs in the home’s entryway.

The roof of the house is made of clay shingles, which Bolyard says she had never encountered before. Because it was an unusual material for roofing, the couple requested a quote to remove and replace the shingles, but found that process to be not cost effective. They learned through their research that a clay roof is actually beneficial in its durability and its ability to insulate against extreme weather.

When they purchased the home, the couple knew it had potential for a more open floor plan. The previous space had two living areas right next to each other, separated by a single step down. During the initial walk-through, the couple thought the lower section was the perfect location for a dining area, given its close proximity to the kitchen.

With Bolyard’s counsel, the family decided to open the kitchen to create a better flow. JAE Company built and installed the cabinetry, including cabinets needed for an adjacent powder room. (A custom dining room buffet was also added.) A large kitchen island features waterfall granite, which the couple sourced from Konkus Marble and Granite. Hamilton Parker installed the bar and kitchen backsplash.

The goal for the living room was to create a midcentury modern aesthetic. The couple wanted floor-to-ceiling windows, but due to the concrete flooring, the new windows had to stop just above the baseboards to prevent complications with duct work.

The lady of the house says the nearby stone fireplace was done at her husband’s request. In order to create it, the construction crew had to make the basement fireplace inoperable because the stacks did not align. The mantel also has a recessed area for the television to blend seamlessly into the design.

A first-floor master suite is located just off of the main living room. The bedroom was originally two large rectangle spaces: the bed was in one area and a large ottoman sat in the middle of a separate dressing space. Bolyard designed a hallway into the master bedroom, creating a necessary transition between the living and sleeping quarters. 

His-and-her closets were installed, although the lady of the house jokes that her husband’s clothes sometimes spill into her closet. The master bath was redone in a style similar to the one in their earlier home. A quaint screen porch is located off the master bedroom. 

The couple worked with Hidden Creek Landscaping to create an outdoor living space, including a kitchen and bar area. They removed a black iron fence and surrounded the pool area with travertine that matches the front walk and porch. Hidden Creek designed the landscaping, even rerouting a stairway from the dining room.

Now that construction is complete, the lady of the house is focused on completing the interior design. Working with Chris King of Manifesto, she hopes to achieve their desired midcentury modern aesthetic throughout the house. Several pieces in their art collection are from vendors at the Columbus Arts Festival. 

The family is ready to put their open concept to the test. The lady of the house says they are planning to soon host 60 friends for a special event. 

Meanwhile, the couple credits local vendors for the success of their recent project. “We were really happy with all of them,” says the lady of the house. “They did all of the work and the project is really their accomplishment.”