A refurbished third floor offers space to wine and dine while preserving this home's rich history.

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

Once a gathering place for formal events, the third-floor ballroom and maids’ quarters of a historic Upper Arlington home have been recently renovated into a comfortable living space reminiscent of the past.

The project stemmed from the homeowners’ desire to find a more purposeful way to use the empty square footage. They wanted the space to function well for hosting events as well as providing practical living space. (They needed to replace a home office that was eliminated from the first floor during a prior renovation.)

Along with the addition of an elevator, the renovated attic space now features a library, a wine-and-dine area, a kitchen and a powder room, staying true to its old-world character with rich wooden furnishings, masculine fabrics and eclectic, antique accents throughout.

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The homeowners, who have lived in the house since 2005 and consider themselves caretakers of the historic property, wanted the renovation to feel as if it could have been part of the original architecture, which was completed between 1915 and 1917. “The whole thing just kind of became a labor of love,” says the man of the house. In addition to hosting local gala events early in its history, this third-floor space also was used to support American Red Cross efforts during World War I.

Lighted cabinetry that accommodates a collection of wine was made to mimic book shelving surrounding a dining room table, creating an ideal space for hosting meals and playing cards. The homeowner says he always wanted a wine cellar where dinner could also be served.

“We did not want the table in the wine room to look like another dining room,” explains designer Sally McDonald, owner of Interiorworks by Sally McDonald. Thus, the table that was selected features an edging accented with a brass inlay and a hand-planed surface. It is accompanied by comfortable leather chairs. Hanging above, a Ralph Lauren brass light with a mirrored interior centers the space. “When the wine cabinets are lit, it is just so neat to have a meal or gather in that room,” says McDonald.

To more easily cater meals, the quaint kitchen is equipped with necessary amenities and enhanced with timeless finishes from black cabinets to Belvedere marble countertops and an antique silver backsplash. The latter two were found at Classico Tile & Marble. A natural brass faucet will tarnish over time for a more authentic look, explains McDonald. Meanwhile, a Ralph Lauren pinstripe fabric was used to cover the walls, which slope due to the rooflines in the space. Framed, black-and-white photos of the original house hang in homage.

Nearby, the powder room décor features Punch magazine art from the 1800s. A Ralph Lauren fabric wall treatment continues the vintage vibe.

“The owners’ love of their home and its place in history established a clear and challenging vision for the design and construction team,” says architect Jim Dietz of Behal Sampson Dietz Architecture and Construction. “Everyone involved looked for ways to design modern needs into timeless solutions that complemented the historic nature of the home.”

Modern features such as the custom-designed wine cabinet cooling system, storage closets and a 70-inch television are incorporated within the paneled walls. A third-floor control center for audiovisual and HVAC purposes is accessible in the new kitchen.

The project was completed in April, and the homeowners are delighted with their new retreat. “It’s just a comfortable space and someplace where you want to come and relax and stay,” says the man of the house.