Home: Peek Inside Three Central Ohio Kitchen Renovations

Jillian Span Hofbauer
Columbus Monthly
An Island Outstanding: 
A house of blues, perhaps, is the theme in this Central Ohio kitchen. Upper Arlington homeowners decided to go bold by integrating two tones of soothing blue in a jaw-dropping kitchen renovation that both inspires and delights.

Simple, modern lines and warm designs reign as homeowners tailor their kitchens to meet personal needs for function and style. Three Central Ohio couples agreed to share a peek at their recent renovations, proving that versatility is key and color palettes are in a state of flux.

A Rustic Contemporary Revival

It was July 2017, and Tami and Ron Schuller knew two things with certainty as they decided to update the kitchen in their 1970s home: they wanted a more open layout for entertaining guests and they wanted a rustic feel. More specifically, they wanted a contemporary design that would incorporate sentimental barn beams salvaged from Ron's childhood farm in Shiloh, a tiny, rural community about an hour north of Columbus.

True to many homes of the era, the original space in their house was compartmentalized. A centralized peninsula interrupted the flow between the main kitchen and the dining area, and a large wall separated the kitchen from a contiguous family room at the rear of the house.

Working with architect and friend Jim Dietz, as well as the entire team at Behal Sampson Dietz, the Schuller's vision for an updated space with clean, modern lines came to life.

“I think the main thing about this kitchen, that people notice the most, is the little details,” says Tami. The room's bright white walls highlight a glass tile backsplash. Neutral touches are integrated, including subtle hints of gray and beige in the massive quartz island. Carefully integrated wooden accents complete the redesign.

Standing out in the space are some of the Schuller's treasured family barn beams which frame the now-open area between the kitchen and former family room. Rustic beams also are used at the far end of the dining area where the homeowners plan to install a wine bar to serve their homemade wines. A red brick fireplace was painted white by Tami, and now showcases another beam as its mantel. Rough-sawn wood planks along the back of the island and bold, customized end caps are all stained to match the dark walnut flooring.

By removing a wall to combine the spaces, the couple and their guests have plenty of room to spread out. Cozy chairs line the island and a large dining table is centered under a custom light fixture created by Ron.

Natural light flows in freely through the home's large, original windows and doors, which were updated to complement the new layout. An awkward bay area now offers the perfect backdrop for the kitchen's main sink, while a nearby prep sink, updated appliances and a coffee station are easily accessible and surrounded by plenty of pantry space.

For the couple, approaching the project with a clear sense of budget meant prioritizing big-ticket items with cost-effective solutions, says Tami. Instead of vaulting the ceilings as they had originally envisioned, they opted for efficient design. A kitchen ceiling was removed to expose perfectly spaced wooden floor joists from the attic, which were stained to match the barn beams. “That's the first thing people look up and see, and it's a little thing,” says Tami.

Other cost savings, such as fresh white paint applied to dated wall paneling and stock cabinets arranged to fit the space, freed up the budget for special touches such as detailed glass panels in the cabinet towers and out-of-sight drawer storage for plates installed beneath the countertops.

The end product is better than they could have ever imagined. “We just want to live in our home,” says Tami. “That's what I love most—that [Jim] took what I said and was able to turn it into my dream kitchen.”

A Merion Village Gut Job

Newlyweds Reagan and Luke Mamer loved renting in German Village, so when it came time to buy their first home together they knew exactly where they wanted to look. Inspired by the growing vibrancy of Merion Village, a neighborhood situated just south of German Village, where there has been a recent influx of local businesses, the couple narrowed their search to homes within the surrounding streets. They purchased a two-bedroom, one-bath house that needed to be gutted.

“I didn't really feel the need to have a dining room table and … a formal dining room,” says Reagan, a life and style blogger in Columbus. “We basically just wanted room to be able to move around and cook.” Hiring contractor Egner Construction, the couple designed a layout that would accommodate their priorities for space, storage and island seating.

After removing two walls and an original large brick fireplace that went through the center of the house, the kitchen was relocated, enlarged and opened to the living room with a newly added half bath accessible nearby.

Original, 9-foot ceilings and wide walkways built around the 8-foot kitchen island provide a feeling of spaciousness. A large, double-pane window added above the sink better connects the home to the outdoors.

To maximize storage space, affordable cabinetry designed by CliqStudios was installed, including a corner lazy Susan, large pull-out drawers for pots and pans, and a spice rack pull-out, says Reagan. All are special elements that make the space feel personal.

While plenty of hidden storage was important, she also wanted the kitchen to showcase open shelving for displaying favorite dishes and accessories. Three custom shelves created by an Etsy shop, SolidRustics, hang from a subway-tiled wall adding a down-to-earth vibe in the renovated space.

“I knew that I wanted really crisp and clean and white, but I also love earthy tones,” says Reagan, wanting the kitchen to reflect a happy medium between lived-in and relaxed, yet modern.

Interest was added when textures were mixed. For example, a sleek quartz countertop contrasts with wire-brushed, engineered, gray oak floors. Earthy accents, such as plants and a warm floor runner, contrast well with the stainless-steel hood range and two large lighting pieces above the island. This kitchen achieves a modern and welcoming atmosphere.

Having a finished space that can accommodate friends and family has been the most rewarding part of the renovation. Adds Reagan, “Being able to cook meals and actually want to be in there for hours on end is just so great.”

A Beach House Feel

A local couple was looking for a smaller home in a pedestrian neighborhood when they decided to leave their open concept residence in Westerville and move closer to Downtown. They found their dream home, an English-style cottage built in 1940, in Upper Arlington.

“We wanted to find a smaller house where we could renovate to create the open space we wanted for entertaining,” says the lady of the house. They were scaling down in space, and sought the ideal floor plan that would accommodate their current lifestyle.

The house originally was walled off into sections and was a broken into small spaces, says architect Heidi Bolyard of Simplified Living Architecture and Design. The couple hired Bolyard and transFORM Construction to complete the renovation. Adding a main support beam allowed the team to create an open concept, even moving the kitchen away from its original location.

The couple wanted their kitchen to be a focal point and they succeeded, simply by choosing a unique color: bright blue. “Who doesn't love the Tiffany blue color?” says the lady of the house.

The large island in the middle of the kitchen provides additional seating and storage. Because they downsized from their suburban home, the couple wanted to create as much storage as possible throughout this renovation.

Quartz countertops were sourced from Konkus Marble and Granite. The homeowners love the small veins of gold in the countertops that complement gold accents throughout the kitchen when light floods the area.

Pavone Design Studios was hired to assist with interior design. “They came up with the gold fixtures and color schemes for us to approve,” says the woman of the house. Gold-colored accents were selected throughout the space, including the faucet, cabinet fixtures and the backsplash, which the couple purchased from Floor & Décor. Stainless steel appliances were selected to finish the space.

Today, the kitchen flows seamlessly into a backyard living space, which was also recently renovated. New, glass doors slide completely open, creating a natural walkway from inside the home to the outdoor area.

The couple is pleased with the home renovation, and especially the kitchen. “It reminds people of the beach, which I think we inadvertently chose because we love water,” says the woman of the house.