Rhett and Nicole Ricart's labor of love

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Victorian Victory - A complete renovation of a Victorian Village home includes this updated kitchen with gleaming white cabinetry and a new tin ceiling.

Rhett and Nicole Ricart undertake a Victorian Village home renovation that is beautifully completed after three years of work.

Situated near Goodale Park, the home of Ricart Automotive Group President Rhett Ricart and his wife, Nicole, has been a work in progress for three years. It was completely gutted and renovated from top to bottom.

Nicole purchased the home in 2001 with the intent of using half of the house for living quarters and the other half as studio space for her photography business. After the Ricarts were married, they lived in a condominium nearby, still weighing the possibility of renovating the Victorian-era home with its beautiful park views into a house of their own.

Three years ago, work began to transform the home-built in 1880-into a warm space perfect for entertaining family and business associates. Because the Ricarts have a large family and often host business events, they wanted a space that was perfect for guests to mingle throughout their home.

With the kitchen so often a focal point in any home during parties, the couple understood that the renovation of this space was important. The Ricarts enlisted the help of Arcadian Builders, which developed architectural plans and provided contracting services during the renovation. "It was pivotal to have our architect also be our builder," says Nicole. "If there was a problem, it could be fixed immediately."

During the initial consultation process, Albert Unetic, architect and owner of Arcadian, met with the Ricarts to review the original blueprints and make recommendations to allow a more efficient use of space in the remodel. "We wanted there to be flow throughout the whole house," says Nicole. For the kitchen, "I wanted something light and bright and cheerful. I wanted an inviting place to eat and entertain." She adds, "At so many parties, everyone winds up in the kitchen."

Nicole says that Unetic had an open mind throughout the process, trying to achieve the couple's wishes at every step when possible. In a nod to the Victorian era, he suggested the installation of the tin ceiling above the island. He also designed a space to accommodate an elevator in a nearby hallway for future use by elderly relatives.

Kitchen cabinetry, custom-made by Schlabach Wood Design, is composed of a white base paint finished with a pewter glaze, helping achieve the desired, light mood for the room. The egg-and-dart pattern at the top of the cabinetry was an idea from Nicole in an effort to enhance the home's Victorian influence.

A unique feature of the kitchen is its island space. Unetic suggested adding a linear sink for entertainment purposes. The faucet can be removed and the sink filled with ice so that wine bottles can be chilled during parties.

One of the main highlights of the kitchen is the laser-cut tile pattern above the stove. The couple worked closely with Jan Cahill of Classico Tile and Marble in Grandview to complete work in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the house. In fact, Cahill helped the Ricarts select tiles for the master bath, guest bath, two saunas, the wine cellar and a powder bath on the main level, in addition to the kitchen.

It was important to the couple to use as many local vendors as possible throughout the process. Light fixtures are from Capital Lighting, located on Polaris Parkway. The granite used throughout the space is from Solazzo Marble and Granite Imports near Bexley. "Going to a granite warehouse is like going to an art gallery," says Nicole. "Every piece is so beautiful." Nicole specifically asked for granite that would not show fingerprints; she found a brushed steel granite at Solazzo that fit the requirement.

For three years, this renovation was a labor of love for the Ricarts. Throughout the process, Nicole says she found design inspiration through websites such as Pinterest and Houzz. She also found advice from local experts very helpful, she says. "You can go into a lighting store or a tile shop, and there are designers in each of those stores that are a tremendous help," she adds. "They try to help lead you to what you are looking for, which they can do, because they're in the store and see the latest and greatest things."

Although the process seemed never-ending at times, the Ricarts are thrilled with the result. "I looked at everything to find the right ideas because I had the time to do it," says Nicole.