A Columbus native builds his dream home on the land of his childhood house.
Duke Dickerson was born and raised in a mid-century Clintonville home on the former Indian Springs Golf Club. Years ago, his career took him to the East Coast where he settled with his wife, Pearl, and their two children.
When Dickerson’s mother passed away in 2014, she left the family’s home to him and his brother. “We were prepared to sell it,” he says, adding that the original home needed a lot of improvements. After a change of heart, the decision was made to tear down the original house and rebuild on the same land.
Although it is new, Dickerson wanted to keep a part of the original home. The entire blueprint was built around the existing kitchen window, where his mother would watch and wait for her children to return home from school. “The house began in her eyes and through her vision,” he says.Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
When visitors approach the house, it feels like a country retreat in the city, thanks to a long driveway winding through trees to the house at the rear of the lot. Dickerson did not want a lot of yard space to maintain, so the driveway was made wider to help achieve this goal.
The home’s design lends itself well to entertaining guests and family gatherings. The first floor is an open space, featuring a large kitchen and a family room. Built-in bookshelves showcase family photos and mementos. The design aesthetic is nautical chic, creating a crisp look and feel for the room.
The master suite has two large walk-in closets, one of which Dickerson turned into an office for himself. A walk-in shower features a large bench, as well as a window that filters in natural light, creating a peaceful, retreat aesthetic. A full-size laundry room is just outside the master suite.
The lower level was also designed with entertainment in mind. There is a fully stocked wet bar and plenty of seating, creating the perfect setting for Ohio State football game days. Two conversation spots in the large space feature plush sofas. One of the spaces doubles as Dickerson’s music corner, where he showcases several guitars and a restored piano.
Dickerson says it took a village to build this home, especially after his wife passed away last year. “My wife started the project, and my family and friends helped finish it,” he says. “There is a lot of strength in that.”
The home was built with family in mind, especially since Dickerson plans to eventually pass the house down to his children. When standing in the open space where the kitchen and family room are located, the home has a treehouse feel, due to the natural light that floods it and an abundance of trees located directly behind it.
Alexis Michalovich, founder and owner of G. Everett Interior Design and Project Services, was brought on board by Dickerson’s wife, Pearl. Later, it became important to add a few special touches in honor of Pearl’s life. Today, when visitors walk in the front door, they can see a powder room with a mother of pearl tile backsplash.
Michalovich worked closely with Dickerson’s daughter and builder Steve Heinlen (of Heinlen Follmer). The homeowner’s vision, for example, included a formal dining room—an exact replica, in size and design, of the dining room in the family’s former home in Connecticut.
There is also a bedroom in the home that pays homage to Dickerson’s frequent business travel. He often stays at the same hotel in London, so he recreated a replica of a typical room there, from the floor plan to the design aesthetic.
Dickerson wanted comfortable outdoor spaces to entertain family and friends. Recent construction projects involve a patio that features a traditional German beer garden and a fire pit.
Local vendors involved in this project including Lou Bando Concrete, Wells Landscaping and Jacob Sauer Tree Care. Tile and floors were installed by Roger Dean of Rye Ridge Tile. Dean is a family friend based in New York.
“My family has always been a welcoming and inclusive family, so we took it upon ourselves to have as many people as possible have their fingerprints in the house,” says Dickerson. “It was a collective effort.”