Double Knot Home Gives New Life to a Medick Estates Home, Complete with a Modern Kitchen
A mid-mod home undergoes a major revision.
Rob McCarthy always had a thing for midcentury homes. He grew up in Worthington in a 1950s house with mid-mod’s signature simple lines, geometric shapes and nature-inspired colors. So, when he and wife Leslie were shopping for a larger home for their growing family of five, they were elated when their friend and interior designer Jess Bodamer discovered one not far from his childhood house. Together, they renovated the interior with most of the work focused on the kitchen. The space is now open, better functioning and updated with some fresh twists on the mid-mod vibe.
“Growing up, my folks had a lot of midcentury,” says Rob. “And now, it’s back in style with our generation.” While Leslie was a fan, she was hesitant to embrace an all-out, midcentury modern home.
“Jess struck the right chord,” she says.
The McCarthys and Bodamer became friends while studying law together 15 years ago at Ohio State University. After starting out as a defense attorney, Bodamer decided to switch careers to interior design and opened her business Double Knot Home. In 2019, she welcomed the chance to reconnect with the McCarthys as they started looking for a larger home for their growing family.
“We knew we wanted a walkable historic area,” says Rob, explaining that they scoured several of Central Ohio’s older neighborhoods. Bodamer ended up finding a home in Medick Estates, an 80-year-old neighborhood just blocks from downtown Worthington. While they liked the location, the wooded setting and the stone façade, the interior needed an update.
“This home hadn’t been touched in a long time, so we could envision a full overhaul versus undoing someone else’s work,” says Bodamer. However, the McCarthys say the project took some real vision.
“We had to trust Jess would turn the project into something special,” says Leslie.
During the six-month renovation, many rooms were freshly repainted and new flooring was installed. Other rooms, such as the kitchen, were gutted and redone. Out went white, laminate cabinets and counters along with a peninsula of cabinets blocking views to the casual dining area.
“The U-shape may give an intimate feel for some, but opening the room made it more accessible for our kids to use and make it their own,” says Leslie, explaining how they now run through the reconfigured space, work the microwave independently and even enjoy some baking.
Working with contractor J.S. Brown & Co., they opened the kitchen and casual dining spaces. To the side, they widened the doorway to a more formal dining room and made wall space for a large pantry and Sub-Zero fridge.
For the new kitchen layout, the McCarthys asked for plenty of storage space, an efficient cooking area and a family gathering space where they would eat. Leslie also longed for light-colored cabinets—a change from the dark ones in their previous home. Bodamer responded with an open layout including a central island, perimeter cabinets, shelving and a built-in pantry.
With a better-functioning design in place, the next challenge came in choosing a unifying set of colors for the large space.
“How do you make the two spaces feel connected and not cavernous?” asks Bodamer. She suggested a warm color palette and natural materials to make the spaces feel cohesive, and reflective of the home’s wooded setting.
“We kept the overall effect light,” says the designer, who recommended saturated accent colors to ground the space.
In the kitchen, the project started with bold Carrera marble as the room’s major focal point. Next, they ordered custom, two-tone cabinets from Schaad & Sons Cabinetry of McConnelsville. Flat-paneled upper cabinets were selected in white to keep the space bright. For the lower cabinets, they chose ash with a deep, blue-brown stain to enhance the wood’s grain. Cabinet pulls in a dark, gun metal finish were added to lend warmth to the space.
“The marble brings the cabinet colors together,” says Leslie, explaining she had to trust Bodamer’s expert eye to visualize the two-tone look.
For the island, they repeated the dark stain on the base and finished it with an oak tabletop surface crafted by Edgework Creative. The oak top coordinates with the oak floors and gives a nod to the hardwood’s familiarity in midcentury design. For functionality, they inserted a secondary sink for filling mealtime drinks, a microwave set low for easy access by the kids and an eating area with five leather-backed stools. To light the island and sink area, they added pendant globe lights hand crafted by Allied Maker of New York. The stylish look evokes globe fixtures that were popularized by mid-mod icon Joseph Eichler, who designed many midcentury homes in California.
Across from the island, a large kitchen sink is strategically placed beneath a window overlooking the wooded backyard. Here, a slanted ceiling posed a design challenge.
“There was some tricky geometry,” says Bodamer. “For example, how do you fit rectangular cabinets in a triangular sloped ceiling?” Her solution was to drop the ceiling to flatten part of the angle and install open shelving on both sides of the window to balance the remaining slope and make it less noticeable.
Another unexpected challenge emerged when the double oven was pulled from a brick wall and revealed a structural flaw. A support for the chimney had been shaved at one time to make room for the appliance.
“Definitely a curve ball,” says Leslie, explaining that a new iron beam had to be installed before continuing the renovation.
For the range, the McCarthys chose a large Wolfe gas range with a simple hood—again meshing the mid-mod minimalism and balancing the scale of the sizeable range.
In the adjoining casual dining area, a dark navy wall makes a bold statement with a set of built-in bookshelves framing a large picture window to the backyard. They finished the space with a table and custom banquette set along a large window. To the other side, a brick fireplace is painted white and finished with a chunky oak mantle and a flat-screen TV above.
“During the pandemic, we were cooking sometimes three meals a day, so we really are lucky to have this open kitchen where we spend so much time,” says Rob. The only challenge is accepting that family life will naturally inflict wear and tear on the new space.
“We had to embrace our kids’ marks on the marble counters and dog’s scratches on the new hardwood floors as signs that we live here and [those things are] our family’s archeological mark on the house.”
This story is from the April 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.