Renovations are awash in white.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2019-20 issue of Columbus Monthly Home & Garden.

For 30 years, the Kitchen Kapers tour in Upper Arlington has raised money to support cancer services at OhioHealth’s Riverside Methodist Hospital. On Sept. 8, eight Arlington area homeowners shared their modernizations. Those who participated in the daylong tour also enjoyed food and drinks supplied by local restaurants.

Three homeowners whose kitchens were part of the tour share their renovation stories.

Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

A Dash Of Brass

The Rigos started planning for a complete kitchen renovation when they purchased their home last fall, quickly enlisting ALTA Design Build for the project. The original kitchen conflicted with the couple’s modern aesthetic. They also wanted to open the old layout of tall cabinets surrounding an island, which closed off the kitchen from the entryway and living space.

The Rigos had a general idea of what they wanted for their new space. “We just didn’t know what we could do structurally,” says Dave Rigo, a co-owner of Watershed Distillery.

ALTA owner Matt Geary says his typical process is to first meet with homeowners to determine goals. After plans are agreed upon, Geary’s wife, Jamie, guides clients through the design selection process. The Rigos already had several preferred vendors in mind, which Geary and team were able to use during the three-month renovation.

The kitchen was completely reimagined, starting with removing walls and relocating a half bath. The interior side wall where the range is now located was formerly part of a hallway, which accommodated the new, expanded kitchen. Roxbury & Pearl, owned by Julie Ginnan, handled interior design. The cabinetry was handcrafted by Schlabach Wood Design. Brass finishes and light fixtures create soft accents against the white woodwork and marble countertops, which are from StoneMart.

The backsplash is perhaps the most important design element in the kitchen. “I wanted something funky and totally different, not just subway tile,” says Kori Rigo. Alongside Ginnan, she selected three styles of marble and gold tiles, which were arranged seamlessly throughout the space.

As is almost always the case with renovation projects in older homes, Geary and his team ran into challenges with the placement of original ceiling joists. The ALTA team had to tear out drywall to determine proper next steps, which can be costly. The homeowners’ willingness to trust his team’s expertise helped in a challenging situation, says Geary.

“In general, we got really lucky as far as old houses go,” says the man of the house.

A Sprinkle of Reclaimed Wood

Brian and Victoria McCurdy purchased their Upper Arlington home in the late summer of 2017 and immediately focused on a kitchen renovation.

The previous kitchen had a long island filled with cabinets that separated the kitchen from the nearby living area. It also made the food prep area much smaller. The couple wanted to open the space and create a more modern aesthetic to better match their shared style.

They hired Davis Construction for the project. The owner, Steve Davis, was referred to them by a family member who had used his company for a basement remodel.

The kitchen renovation took about six months, during which the McCurdys and their young son moved in with other family members.

Older homes often present surprises during renovation projects, and this one was no different. The Davis team encountered challenges while raising the ceiling height—they had to replace a beam to provide proper support for the second floor. During this process, they also uncovered an existing live wire under the porcelain bathtub on the second floor, which they quickly fixed.

With the previous island removed, the kitchen now flows seamlessly into the nearby living room. The McCurdys used Pinterest for inspiration. They also hired Sisters Maison, an interior design firm owned by Callie Reinhardt and Cydney Schaumburg, who brought the couple’s ideas from Pinterest to life as they helped finish selections for the space.

The cabinets were handcrafted by Yoder Cabinets in Plain City, the marble for the countertops was sourced from Unique Stone Concepts, and Konkus Marble and Granite handled fabrication. Brian McCurdy asked for a wood accent to warm the space; thus, a small wooden beam was installed under the range hood, and a matching piece of this reclaimed wood was used to create a bench in the mudroom.

The couple loves their new island, where they enjoy working on art projects with their son. They agree that the kitchen is much more functional for their family. Brian McCurdy says he loves to cook meals in the new kitchen, and his wife adds with a laugh that she is a great sous chef.

A Dollop of Chrome

The Torres family loved the location of their Upper Arlington home but purchased it knowing they would rehabilitate the house to better fit the needs of their family.

The original structure, built in 1942, was torn down to the studs as they began creating a better space for the couple and their two children.

Bella Kitchen and Bath oversaw the kitchen phase of the project. Adam Torres says he shared with the Bella team a vision heavily influenced by homes he and his wife toured while vacationing in Naples, Florida. “We had an idea, and they helped fill in the details,” says Adam of the partnership with Bella. The couple also relied heavily on Houzz to gather ideas and share with the team during planning meetings.

The kitchen and living room have merged to become one large, open space. The couple decided to remove square footage from the home’s second floor to allow for higher ceilings. The renovation also added considerable space by removing the back wall of the original house that stopped halfway through the current kitchen. Other additions included a lanai off the kitchen accessible through sliding glass doors and new white oak flooring throughout the home.

The kitchen’s focal point is a marble island sourced from Skeeles Manufacturing in Columbus. The couple worked with an independent, local designer to create the backsplash, which nicely accents the lighter cabinets. Jessica Torres explains that it was challenging to find tiles that complemented the marble throughout the kitchen. “We went back to the drawing board a couple of times,” she says.

The homeowners like to avoid clutter on the kitchen countertops, so Bella’s team built an appliance garage for storage near the range. There is also a bar area in the living room, where guests can mingle and drinks can be served.

One of the more elusive new pieces was the light fixture hanging in the living area. The couple looked for a long time to find the right fit but nothing seemed to work until they saw what they wanted in a Naples restaurant. They showed a photo to the team at Capital Lighting and were able to purchase the exact fixture for their home. “We wanted it to draw attention but not be too distracting,” says Adam. “We feel like we absolutely made the right decision.”