Home & Garden: An Instagram-Perfect New Albany House
In 2016, Tim and Suzanne Shoger discovered a spacious Georgian home for sale on a quiet street with views of the New Albany Country Club’s golf course. Two years later, the couple finally bought the home, knowing they would renovate and update it immediately upon moving in. Many of the home’s three full and three half-baths needed repairs. The kitchen needed an upgrade, carpet throughout the home was worn, walls needed repainting and windows replaced. There was more work to be done, too.
In fact, the couple’s real estate agent arranged visits for their architect before the sale was even finalized because the Shogers wanted to ensure that their vision for the house could be successfully executed. They had built two other homes together; thus, they already knew that they enjoyed the complexities of such projects, says Suzanne.
Once architect Todd Parker, of F5 Design, created a 3D model of their proposed redesign, Laura Lemon of the Hale construction firm estimated the project’s cost. “It is a very dynamic process,” says Lemon. After much discussion, the construction firm, the architect and the homeowners finally settled on a plan.
For Hale, which regularly does projects based in New Albany, maintaining the integrity of a home is important. “We want to preserve the history of the homes, which is the Georgian architecture,” says Lemon.
Overall, the Shogers agreed, and they shared a strong vision for the interior updates upon which they were about to embark. Suzanne found a lot of aesthetic inspiration on Instagram, including the design she wanted for the kitchen’s range. She says her experience was similar to Diane Keaton’s experience in the book, “The House that Pinterest Built,” which details the actress’s home building and design process. (Keaton gathered plans and ideas from Pinterest mood boards at the suggestion of friend and director Nancy Meyers, whose film sets are known for their chic, clean and warm styles.) Suzanne jokes that their home is the house that Instagram built. “It was so easy to send someone a question about something I saw and liked,” she says. “They would happily answer.”
As if a major home renovation wasn’t enough, Suzanne was also finishing a doctorate degree at Ohio State University at the time. College graduation created a big deadline: The Shogers’ family was planning to visit for graduation celebrations last May. Thus, the renovation projects quickly began with updates to the home’s bathrooms.
After that, the couple’s next priority was to create an open living space for the kitchen. The parents of four adult sons, all whom have partners, the Shogers desired room for their family to informally gather.
Just off of the kitchen, the living room was flooded with natural light. So the couple quickly knew that they wanted two brick columns and a partial wall removed from the two spaces, enlarging the kitchen into one, flowing area. Demolishing the two brick columns and part of a wall, as well as adding a steel support beam, was not an inexpensive task, however. “We made some decisions to not do other things in the house, so we could do this,” says Suzanne.
This challenging part of the project was well worth it for the couple. “We love cooking, and we wanted to bring some of the outside in,” says Suzanne. When they are cooking, they can now see into the backyard due to the open floor plan. (The Shogers’ next goal is to complete a landscape project later this year.)
The kitchen’s aesthetic is modern. Suzanne says they were involved in every design detail, “down to the hinges.” Hale contracted with several local vendors for the home. For example, all plumbing, appliances, fixtures and lighting were purchased through Ferguson. The countertops, backsplash and a fireplace surround (for the main living room) were sourced from Konkus Marble and Granite.
Tile came from Hamilton Parker, and the kitchen railing was built by Suburban Steel. The custom kitchen cabinets were made by an artisan in Holmes County. “We have never thought about working with anyone else,” says Lemon, of the cabinetmaker. “Anything we throw at him, he says he will figure out.” The open shelving concept was also inspired by the range photo Suzanne found on Instagram. The homeowners then had the idea to add lighting to the shelving, which Hale made possible.
Another major renovation in the home was the master bathroom. The prior aesthetic in the room featured dark brown marble, and a tightly enclosed steam shower had minimal ventilation. There was a mirror in the shower that served no purpose because steam filled the space.
Following the renovation, the new shower is now almost twice its original size. Suzanne says they chose to add a small laundry closet off the master bedroom instead of a bathtub, since some of the home’s other bathrooms have tubs.
In addition to painting almost the entire interior of the home (including the piano), and the kitchen and bathroom remodels, the Shogers also installed new carpet and windows, replaced a majority of the home’s light fixtures and refinished the fireplace in the main living space.
“We did everything on a budget,” says Suzanne, adding that the goal was always to find the “affordable wow.” The couple agrees a renovation is about deciding what is most important and letting that guide your decisions.
“I think in some ways, I am less creative if I have an unlimited budget,” says Suzanne. “If you have to keep it tight, you consider more options than you might have considered originally.”
Meanwhile, as the project progressed, the Shogers were forced to be flexible in their living arrangements. Painting the entire interior meant that painters were in the home for two months. At one point, there was not a functional bathroom on the same level as a functional bedroom, Tim says, laughing. At other times, the two slept on a mattress on the floor. “We lived in pieces and parts of the house,” says Suzanne.
Now, with much of the home’s work complete, they are enjoying the refresh, their furnishings and their art. A favorite piece is a rubbing of Sir Roger de Trumpington, a knight involved in the English crusades during the 1200s. (Tim created a similar piece as a teen when he lived in Cambridge, England, so this is especially meaningful.)
“The house is a personal creative outlet for us,” says Suzanne. “So many people have asked about our decorator, but we don’t have one,” she adds. “We are about creating a sensory-rich home.”