If you’re familiar with the content we choose to run in C Magazine, you know we have a passion for featuring some the most industrious and hard-working people in central Ohio. In keeping with that tradition, we’ve found that the homeowners from this month’s Homework feature are no exception. As you can plainly see from the photos contained in the next two pages, this particular couple has spent the last 8 years meticulously renovating their turn-of-the-century American foursquare located in an up-and-coming neighborhood of Old Town East. And with regard to their laborious efforts to restore the home’s original beauty, we couldn’t be more pleased to report that they have truly succeeded at recapturing the splendor of years gone by.
Take for instance, their desire to preserve the home’s architectural integrity. Every effort was made to keep as much of the original woodwork as possible, which includes flooring throughout the entire house, pocket doors, and the three level staircase railing. For missing pieces and problem areas, the couple hired local millwright and woodworking expert Vance Wright to match the home’s original quarter sawn Tiger Oak wood pattern. His expertise was further utilized in the creation of several new pieces built to the owner’s specifications. A great example can be found in the dining room where a 5-piece bookshelf was designed to display a gorgeous (and not to mention huge) piece of blown glass art by Stephen Rolfe Powell.
While the integrity of the home’s original structure was of great importance to these homeowners, there was just no escaping the fact that some modernizing had to be done. At the time of purchase, the home didn’t pass inspection and they were warned not to buy it. During their first visit, they found that 26 jacks were holding up the kitchen floor to keep it from collapsing in. The home had no central heating or air conditioning, the electrical wiring and plumbing hadn’t been updated in years, and the interior was home to rotting walls, non-working fireplaces and fixtures from several decades past. But even though it was their first experience renovating an older home, they fearlessly dove right into replacing the basement’s beams (which, not surprisingly, raised the house over 3 inches), replacing multiple walls and all windows, installing two separate HVAC systems, and updating the plumbing and electricity. And as if all that wasn’t enough, the couple also chose to live in the house while they renovated it—which, and this is surprising, never led to any physical violence toward each other!
Though the house has been renovated to impress throughout, there are still a few highlights worth special mention. Within just the last two years, the homeowners finally were able to start making changes to the 3rd floor, turning it into a guest suite of just over 900 sq. ft. The bright, sunny space boasts a brand new vaulted ceiling and a beautiful walk-in shower with a glass block wall. The home also has an oversized master suite, dedicated sitting area and a brand new bathroom. Adjacent to the master suite is a bedroom that was turned into a dressing room with built-in wardrobes, dressers and shelving. On the main floor, the music room’s fireplace has original tile-work, a Tiger Oak mantle and parts of cast bronze while the living room’s fireplace is made of marble and cast bronze. The kitchen has a tin ceiling and multi-layered cornice molding, and outdoors is a covered deck overlooking a pavered brick backyard with a large garden.
But most impressively of all is the couple’s art collection. The gentleman of the house is not only a blown glass artist himself, but he and his family have been collecting blown glass pieces for over 50 years. Because of this, the newly renovated home has, to a large extent, become an elaborate gallery for showcasing some truly unique glass artwork. In the music room, for example, is a large glass armoire displaying several pieces by world famous artist Victor Durand. The room’s other showpiece is an intricate blown glass chandelier originally made in Murano, Italy. In the living room are several pieces (including a lamp) by Charles Lotton, another world famous artist.
As for more traditional artwork, the homeowners have purchased several paintings to really put the finishing touches on their restoration. One portrait in particular was acquired from a local antique shop in Columbus. The seller didn’t know the artist’s name, but could tell from the painting style that a Columbus artist did it. When the portrait (which prominently features the faces of three women) was being cleaned, the art restorer offered to do some touch-ups to make the women appear more attractive. But, staying true to their vision of celebrating the period, the homeowners politely declined and opted to keep the piece, just like the rest of the house, as original as possible.