Home: Bexley empty nesters take ranch home in a modern direction

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

After raising five children,a Bexley couple decided to leave their longtime abode in search of a smaller dwelling. After scouring Central Ohio, including the consideration of condominiums Downtown, they landed in an updated ranch home just four blocks away from where they started.

"We considered everything," explains the woman of the house. "But we liked where we lived. It's close proximity to Downtown, this is where our friends are…." Her voice trails off as she reiterates a list of criteria that persuaded them to buy a home near the large one they were leaving.

Architect John Behal, of Behal Sampson Dietz, knew these longtime clients were interested in a dated ranch with potential. Indeed, when he spotted a "for sale" sign he quickly intervened. The house was purchased and renovations began soon after. Getting into this perfect new home wasn't a quick process, though. "The entire space was reinvented," Behal says.

Walls were removed, rooms were reconfigured and updates installed. Modifications were added to make living easy, such as the installation of a hidden passage from the laundry room into the master closet, appliance garage in the kitchen, an abundant pantry space and more. "This is a little bit about surprises," Behal explains.

In the end, the homeowners agree this was the right move for them after 25 years in the much larger space. The woman of the house admits that a home is evolutionary, with changes constantly underway. With interior designer Terri Slee, she spent hours choosing appropriate decor throughout. Some furnishings may still be updated. "It's overwhelming to do a whole house at one time," the she says.

Yet, the essentials are in place. She counts sleeping spaces both on the main floor and the lower level available for guests, for example. When their five children visit, there's plenty of open space for gathering-from the innovative sofa in the great room to the sleek new kitchen that opens to smaller sitting spaces nearby. When the grandchildren arrive, the lower level is theirs to romp and play.

The U-shaped home now has a significant connection to the outdoors, with broad windows looking out into a spacious courtyard and the backyard beyond. "That's the irony of a midcentury home," Behal explains. "The house is built surrounding an outside area and there is an interrelationship between the two."

A wooden privacy fence was installed around the large backyard. For parties and gatherings, the architects created a two-doored garage that can easily transition into a catering space. The second door opens to the backyard, creating yet more modern openness.

Architect: John Behal and Don Morgan of Behal Sampson Dietz

Interior Designer: Terri Slee Interiors

Landscape Designer: Kevin Reiner Design