A lofty renovation
A Bexley couple gets creative with a unique gallery space at the rear of their home.
A sturdy wooden and steel stairway was installed to integrate the kitchen with the lofted family room.
Michael A. Foley/MAF Photography
Call it their recession bonus. In 2009, a Bexley couple started looking around for a larger home. They were astonished to find a house that nearly doubled their family’s living space and had an extremely affordable pricetag.
Mike and Mary Roddy were lucky that their smaller home quickly sold. They bought the 1950s two-story house with a dramatic—albeit quirky—rear addition that had been added by the previous owner, an artist, to use as gallery space.
At first, the Roddys thought they would design the two-story space as a library, with its modern stairway leading to a new family room. But Mary’s mother had a different vision. She suggested creating a two-story kitchen that adjoins the family room, and the couple agreed it was a great idea.
Designer Pete Foster took on the project, rearranging the stairway to better suit the kitchen functions, creatively tucking the microwave into an unexpected wall space, moving a second-story walkway to the opposite side of the room and more. Renovation was done by Aurora Industries.
“I wanted it to look more like a loft,” Mary says. “If we were going to do this, I wanted it to be very unique.”
After major reconstruction occurred, black cabinetry—which Mary had always wanted—and steel design elements were added to the space. Cabinets feature several open shelves that help integrate the white background on walls that stretch two stories high.
Sturdy light fixtures that were once in a Maine baseball stadium were purchased from American Furnishings to illuminate a unique center island. The island’s base is an old industrial cart now topped with a new slab of marble. Aluminum stools from Crate & Barrel surround the island.
Other countertops in the kitchen were created from concrete, with its textured edging adding the organic feel to the space that Mary loves. “I wanted it to have that earthy feeling,” she says. Tiny tiles in earthen tones form a solid backsplash. Stainless steel appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Viking beverage cooler and others by DCS of Fisher & Paykel.
A wall under the stair rail was put to good use when Foster suggested inserting a small television, the microwave and a well-designed scheme of cabinetry in the area.
In another part of the room, a barn-style door was inserted with pieces of milk glass to create an easel for making notes regarding the family’s schedule and such. Beyond the door is a newly refurbished laundry room.
Wide planks of hand-scraped hickory are used for flooring throughout the kitchen space, as well as in the adjoining family room, located at the top of the stairs. Its textured surface serves its purpose well. “I wanted something durable for the dog,” Mary explains.
Because Mike Roddy is a pastor, the unique floor plan of this home is appreciated. An expansive family room opens wide in the loft space that looms over the kitchen. Gatherings become easy here, as visitors can enter a rear door and access both the kitchen and the nearby family room. “We’ve already had a football party and it worked out well,” Mary says. Weekends at the Roddy home often involve a crowd with their four children who span between 10 and 20 years old, including two college students who frequently host their friends here, too.
That’s another reason a spacious and comfortable family room was needed. Family room furnishings are in earthen tones, and a second large industrial cart serves as the entertainment center while antique pieces dot the area. “I love the feel of mixing the old with the new,” Mary says.
Part of Foster’s design, the ceiling is now finished in white panels and accented with heavy wooden beams. “I wanted a more airy look, but cozy and good for kids,” Mary says.
Another unique feature here, a suspended walkway, runs along one wall overlooking the kitchen and leads to a renovated bathroom, on the home’s original second floor.
The Roddy’s renovation project is finally drawing to a close—a point in time that the family thought might never arrive. Work started on the project in August 2009, and the kitchen was nearly completed in April when a fire broke out in the upstairs family room and the entire renovation had to be restarted. The final piece is underway—the conversion of the home’s original kitchen to a sunroom.
Looking around the newly renovated space, Mary Roddy smiles, adding: “I pinch myself sometimes and say, ‘Is this really my house?’ ” n