A revered veterinarian and his wife save a historic Beechwold property in grand fashion.
Dick and Linda Beckett renovated this Jeffrey Place home, which includes a building from the very first Columbus zoo, shown to the left of the primary house.
It may seem serendipitous that a house on the grounds of the first
Dick Beckett has had a long career in the caretaking of animals. About two years ago, Beckett, a graduate of
He was doing all of this while also building a group of veterinary clinics— including three in
This is when they discovered the deserted Beechwold home—with the roots of five trees growing into it—and a dilapidated monkey house, still on the property, in dire need of attention.
History runs deep in this area. The first
Jeffrey’s wife named the land Beechwalde, meaning beech forest. Later, the couple sold the land, which was broken off into smaller parcels and assumed the name
At first glance, the Becketts were undaunted by the work the home would require. Instead, they were enchanted. “I loved the windows,” Linda recalls. Within a week, they made an offer on the desolate property.
The two brought together architect Todd Parker and builder Jason E. Miriello of Everett Homes and embarked on a total renovation project that would take a year to complete. “Now it’s a new house,” says Dick, smiling.
In all, the Beckett home filled 19 dumpsters before the new installation would begin. Old radiators, plumbing and original insulation were removed. Walls were demolished, sagging kitchen floors were re-engineered, windows replaced, doors added and more. “We tried to stay true to the architectural details of the house,” Miriello says.
Four working fireplaces throughout the home were redone to ensure that mortar and bricks stayed in place. Three were converted to gas and the other remains wood-burning. Each space in this sprawling home received a fresh coat of paint, from ceiling to floor. Also among items installed was a security and sound system done by Resolution Audio & Video.
Linda Beckett was responsible for much of the interior design, trending toward modern tastes, clean lines and open spaces. She selected marble countertops similar to those in the kitchen of the couple’s
A wall between the kitchen and family room was demolished, allowing the space to easily flow together. Original oak flooring was coated with a penetrating white stain and then given three coats of polyurethane to provide a clean appeal. Walls were painted a shade of white that leans toward light gray.
Between the kitchen and dining room, the home’s original butler’s pantry was retrofitted with new cabinetry, marble countertops, and it now accommodates coffee service and more when the homeowners entertain. The adjoining dining room sports an antique wooden table, one of the few pieces that the couple purchased for this home. They found it in
“I make it very simple, very comfortable and very family oriented,” Linda says of her home’s design. With many years of antique shopping already accomplished, she says the one last item that she’d like to find is an authentic French butcher block to set on the kitchen island.
Off of the comfortable family room, Linda’s office is adorned with large, antique letters of the alphabet that she has accumulated through the years. An adjoining bathroom includes a farmhouse sink, supported by a custom cabinet created by the builders.
At the front of the home, the spacious living room also is done in lighter tones with a slip-covered, three-cushioned sofa, two slip-covered wing chairs, an antique trunk purchased at Garth’s and several other antique pieces. “I’ve always done a lot of slipcovers,” Linda explains. “I try to make [the interior] as light as possible.”
On the second floor, bedrooms include two small guest rooms and the large master suite. The bathroom in the hallway features beadboard trim and layered moldings to accommodate spaces where additional plumbing was required. The master suite includes a lounge area in its spacious closet area, a useable balcony equipped with an umbrella table and chairs and a sizable bathroom. A metal cabinet by Restoration Hardware is used here for towels and such.
The Becketts’ work didn’t end with the general living space in the house, though. With eight grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 17, the couple saw to it that the lower level was designed to accommodate their visits. A lower level family room is well stocked with its large television and oversized stuffed animals. The next room accommodates a large craft space with shelving stuffed full of supplies and a spacious table that sets under re-engineered windows. Miriello takes pride in the fact that his company chipped away old mortar that covered basement walls to reveal an original limestone foundation, which was cleaned and then shored up when mortar joints were tuck pointed.
Outdoors, the Becketts worked with True Green Landscaping to add 16 spruce trees, as well as other plants along the property line. And then there’s that original monkey house—the “carriage house,” Dick corrects visitors. Inside, though, the character of this building’s original context is savored. There’s a small entertainment space for rainy days, featuring a dozen or more stuffed animals, and a polished garage area. The bathroom here includes a doggy shower.
With the work behind them, the Becketts now relax at both this home and their
“When I walk into this, I just love it,” Linda says of her Beechwold dwelling.