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Greater Cleveland october 2009

Renovating History The Yellow House and Red Barn reborn in Chagrin Falls

Waterfront Kitchen Embracing a nautical theme in Vermilion

Welker-McKee, 6606 Granger Road, Cleveland, OH 44131 Showroom Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. – Noon (216) 447-0050 • 800-522-2284 • Fax (216) 447-3005 •

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Welcome LETTER


I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the selfhelp section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose. George Carlin A friend of ours hosted an annual “Blossom Time Parade” party on a corner along the route. We had been in the same spot, on Memorial Day weekend, other years. This year was different. This year we couldn’t help but focus on the big “Yellow House” right across the street. As with most locals in Chagrin Falls, we had passed this house a zillion times and mostly thought of it as simply a nice house with a cool red barn. This year our attention was commanded by a huge mound of freshly dumped dirt in the front yard with a Marine Corps flag planted right at its peak. “A Marine lives in that house and how special this parade must be to him.” This salute to the American flag raising at Mt. Suribachi would forever change the way we would look at “The Yellow House” and whoever lived in it. Not too long ago, we got to know Lynn and Keith DeGreen and were immediately impressed with their family, their story and how amazing the “Yellow House” project really was. The story is as much about a family applying their own brand of “self-help” as it was about a great renovation project. In fact, in this issue of Hometrends, you’ll be impressed with the common self-help theme that becomes apparent in each story. We’ll take you through an amazing outdoor living area in Russell that was built in stages to accommodate an active family. We’ll also visit a kitchen project that was driven by an “it’s what we wanted” type of self-help from a couple that never plans on selling their Vermilion home. The families in this issue of Hometrends took self-help a bit further by getting involved with their contractors in creating the homes of their dreams. Just turn on the TV or read a newspaper, and the need for self-help takes on a deeper meaning than in years passed. Whether it’s just getting through the week or creating the home of your dreams, self-help is something we can all use more of. Thanks for having us into your homes and keep those letters and emails coming! Warm Regards,

Pete and Jennifer Moissis and the trends-savvy (and self-helped) staff at Hometrends

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s a renowned Ohio design/build firm with a noted personal touch, Alexandra Fine Homes has been creating luxurious homes and upscale renovations for over two decades. Our award-winning ways continued this season with our “Nantucket” model home literally sweeping the 2008 & 2009 Cleveland Choice Awards: - Custom Home of the Year - Best of Homearama - Award of Excellence – Judges Choice

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GREATER CLEVELAND Publishers Pete and Jennifer Moissis Editorial Director Pete Moissis Writers Melissa Lefelar, Jennifer Atkins Photographer Thom Sivo For advertising information Call 440-823-2199 Email

Advertising Sales East - Joyce Corrigan West - Sarah Fathauer South - Ken Klopp Write us at Hometrends Magazine, c/o Pete Moissis Email Hometrends Magazine is published by Focused Publications, LLC 46 Shopping Plaza Drive, #116 Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 Visit – The authority in home, garden and design. Finance Jennifer Moissis Senior Director of Graphic Services Adam Zimmerman Creative Director James Dziemianzuk Production Manager Erin Connor

PUBLISHED IN CONJUNCTION WITH FOCUSED PUBLICATIONS, LLC. © 2009 Focused Publications, LLC Hometrends Magazine is produced by Focused Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. All logos, trademarks and images are the property of their respective owners. We assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any inconsistency contained herein or on our website. Hometrends makes no warranties, representations or endorsements regarding any of the products and/or services and/or the advertisers, builders, designers or any other parties appearing in the magazine or on our website. No part of this work and/ or magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including, but not limited to, photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of Focused Publications, LLC except where prohibited by law. Focused Publications, LLC maintains and reserves the right to edit, alter or omit any advertiser.


Back issues are available upon written request for $10.00 per copy, including shipping (subject to availability and Publisher’s discretion). To have your name removed from our mailing list, send a letter to: Hometrends, Name Removal, 46 Shopping Plaza Dr, #116, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022.

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CONTENTS ON THE COVER Renovating History... The Yellow House and Red Barn Reborn in Chagrin Falls


october 2009 9






KITCHEN TRENDS Waterfront Kitchen... Embracing a Nautical Theme in Vermilion


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Kitchen TRENDS


by Melissa Lefelar Water. It’s one of the basic elements of life. However, some people have such a love of water … for boating, swimming, fishing …. that they choose to bring that passion inside their homes. That’s the case for a Vermilion couple who embarked on a remodel and redesign of their riverside home to reflect that connection to the water. From an element of life to an element of lifestyle! The home improvement project started like many others. “My wife saw a kitchen in a magazine (that she liked). So basically, we sat down with an architect and a builder and said this is what we’d like to try to recreate,” said the homeowner, a local businessman. The homeowners enlisted architect John Malloy and builder Mike Cyran to make the vision a reality. The home was enlarged by 300 square feet and reconfigured. That brought the total imprint to 3,800 square feet. The focus was on the kitchen, which takes up 90% of the new space. 19

TOP A view into the new kitchen shows a cozy seating nook that looks onto the backyard marina. An 80-gallon saltwater fish tank graces the entrance to the nautical-themed kitchen. Bottom Right A “window� from the bathroom is a porthole to the aquarium. Bottom Left The maritime theme flows from the kitchen into the bathroom, with nautical touches like a tugboat rug, cobalt walls and boating accessories.


he overall nautical theme reflects the location of the home in Vermilion’s “Lagoons” community bordered by Lake Erie and the Vermilion River. Also evident is the couple’s love of the ocean, which they visit frequently on trips to their second home in Naples, Florida. It’s not the cutesy marine-look of old, but a more sophisticated style. The entryway to the kitchen sets the tone, with an 80-gallon saltwater fish tank. “It’s a great location for a saltwater tank and sets the tone for the room. I love scuba diving and also have a 300-gallon tank in my office” said the homeowner. The kitchen has everything that the most discerning chef could want, from a Wolf 4-burner cook top with griddle to Wolf double built-in ovens and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. The cabinets are custom painted birch wood from Mullet Cabinets in Millersburg, Ohio. All of the stainless appliances are hidden behind cabinetry, a look that is becoming more popular with sophisticated clients. “Some people like that integrated look. In high-end homes and remodels, we are seeing either the stainless steel or wood paneled fronts. You don’t see almond anymore,” said Steve Monroe, Interior Designer at Mullet Cabinets. Those cabinets are not only beautiful, but very versatile. Right next to the cook top is a pullout spice cabinet, with everything organized just the way the cook likes it. An enclosed space for pot scrubbers and dishwashing soap hides under the sink and conveniently tilts out. Wood cutting boards can easily be pulled out for use in several locations. A Miele dishwasher is concealed behind custom cabinet facing under the counter. Mullet Cabinet also installed the striking black and sapphire-colored granite, called Blue Pearl. It’s just one of the many features that recalls the nearby water. The island is two levels, with shelves for cookbooks and artwork underneath. The couple often sits on barstools at the island for casual meals enjoying an unobstructed view of activity on the river. A Sub-Zero wine cooler that holds 50 bottles is neatly tucked underneath the large island. One of the most artistic elements is the backsplash, featuring tiles the couple brought home from Florida. “My wife and I were on Fifth Avenue in Naples, at a craft show that takes up the whole street,” he said. “This guy and his wife are out of West Palm Beach, Florida. We liked the tiles that he had and took his ideas and cut them down a little bit.” An installer from Versitile in Amherst helped create the final fish mosaic. 21

ABOVE The new kitchen at a riverfront Vermilion home reflects the owner’s love of the water. RIGHT PAGE Top The room features a 13-foot ceiling with triangular, cherry beams over the large, two level island. RIGHT PAGE bottom The white-painted, custom cabinetry and blue/black granite counter tops are consistent with the aquatic theme.

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TOP LEFT A custom, bamboo tabletop is attractive and functional and coordinates with the hardwood floors. TOP RIGHT A KitchenAid refrigerator freezer is hidden behind cabinetry for a clean look. The desktop is bamboo and matches the dining table. Bottom The kitchen looks onto the Lagoons Marina, where the homeowner moors two boats. RIGHT Top left A pull-out cabinet holds dozens of cooking spices and is located conveniently next to the cook top. Right Top right The homeowners found the attractive black, gold and white mosaic tile back splash in Florida.


Fish are also found on the cabinet door and drawer pulls and the doorknob to the outside patio. The attractive bamboo wood flooring adds warmth to the overall look. The vaulted ceiling features wood beams that support a 13-foot ceiling. Two workable skylights bring both the sun and lake breezes inside. For added convenience and efficiency, both skylights feature a remote control that will open and close as needed. They also feature a hand crank (via an Allen wrench) in case of a power outage. A large ceiling fan that looks like a ship’s wheel completes the look. “That was the idea of the general contractor,” said the homeowner. “He showed us a couple of different ways that it could be done. What you see there is his idea that pulls it all together.” Contractor Mike Cyran, Owner of Mike Cyran Builders, said the positioning of the beams is called a king post design truss. “I went down to Amish country and got rough-hewn cherry beams. It’s solid wood,” he said. 25

Top picture Large trees provide shade for this riverfront seating area. The multi-colored fishing buoys that the homeowner hung on the outside wall add nautical ambiance. Bottom right A model of a Lake Erie ore ship, purchased at a fund-raising auction, is perched on its own shelf over the kitchen. Bottom left The subway tiled shower is open, has dual heads, a seat and also exits to the backyard.


Everything is both cohesive and cozy. A four-person dining booth with a custom bamboo wood top, made by Mullet Cabinet, looks out onto the marina and the couple’s two boats. Concealed beneath the seating of the booth are handy storage “boxes.” Mullet also made a matching wood top for the kitchen’s desk. The owner’s and their friends can sit with a glass of wine at the table and keep an eye on all the boating activity in their own backyard and on the river. Just down the hallway, a blue and white bathroom continues the nautical motif. A window is cut into the common wall against the aquarium. This neat feature allows viewing of the aquarium from the bathroom. The client even took the design scheme further, with a grouping of fishing buoys on the exterior wall of the home. “I was up in Canada and saw another house that had something similar. You don’t see it very often. These types of buoys are used primarily by fishermen. There happened to be a gentleman who made these buoys in a little town nearby. I commissioned him to make me 30 of them in multi-colors, and I put them on the side of the house. As time goes on, they will weather and they’ll age and they’ll discolor,” he said. This decorated area looks onto a paved deck with seating—another area where the homeowners can be comfortably close to the water. While the homeowner gives a lot of credit to those he hired for the project, they give the credit right back. “Most of it was (his) idea. I kind of refined it for him. It was just a matter of me taking his ideas and working on them. We designed as we went,” said Cyran. The homeowner does not worry that the aquatic theme is too specific to his tastes, as he never plans on selling the home. “I’m going to die in this house,” he said with a convincing grin. FOR more photographs & LINKS FOR THIs project, VISIT 27

Top A custom built window curves against the A-framed roof-line over the sink, allowing sunlight to glow on the wooden beams. Bottom Under-counter cutting boards add to the work space. Focus on the backsplash mosaics and you’ll notice how each scene is connected.

Resources Architect: John Malloy Builder or Contractor: Mike Cyran Builders Flooring: Bamboo Kitchen Cabinetry: Mullet Cabinets Kitchen Sinks: Franke Kitchen Faucets: Hans Grohe Dishwasher: Meile from Interstate Kitchen Cooktop: Wolf from Interstate Kitchen Refrigerator: KitchenAid from Interstate Kitchen Built-in Ovens: Wolf from Interstate Kitchen Winecooler: Sub-Zero from Interstate Kitchen Undercounter Ice-Maker: Sub-Zero from Interstate Kitchen Bathroom Sinks and Faucet: Kohler Furniture: Window seat, ship’s-type table and storage boxes by Mullet Cabinet Windows: Anderson


TOP left clockwise Everything in this Vermilion kitchen is convenient for the cook. The Wolf 4-burner cook top and griddle is right next to the double ovens. Pots and pans fit easily inside the cabinets under the cook top. The nautical theme carries even into the nooks and crannies of this kitchen. The homeowner bought this model ship at an auction of the Great Lakes Historical Society. An 80-gallon saltwater tank is just beyond the kitchen. The homeowners continue the maritime theme on the outside wall of their home, with these multi-colored fishing buoys. ”Here is something you don’t find in every kitchen: a Sub-Zero, underisland ice maker.” An open-mouthed bass serves as the handle on a cabinet door . The ceiling fan, purchased in Florida, was made to look like a ship’s wheel. The homeowner expects these decorative buoys to age and weather, for a more authentic look. A Miele dishwasher is tucked under the large island and hidden by custom white cabinetry. 29


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by Jennifer Atkins The house has always simply stood out. Invariably it ranks among the top five of any individual’s list of “Homes I Love in Chagrin Falls.” If you have spent any time in town, particularly during the annual Blossom Time parade, you’ve most definitely remarked on it as you went by. It’s the large yellow house set back off East Washington Street with the red barn. Right… that one. In fact, it is referred to by color so often locally, that the new owners inscribed the plaque at the end of their drive simply – “The Yellow House.” The house certainly made an impression on homeowner Keith DeGreen growing up. “I would always pass by and think ‘What a neat house.’” So, in 2007, when Keith and his wife Lynn returned to Chagrin Falls for his high school reunion and saw it was for sale, they arranged for a tour. They were looking for a summer home to avoid the heat of Arizona. The couple was smitten by the historic home and decided to buy. When they returned in October to check out their purchase, it took only four days before they called to have their two sons put on a plane to Cleveland. The DeGreen’s were making Chagrin Falls their permanent home. “It was the kind of lifestyle we wanted our boys to have…be able to walk to school, walk downtown, have a hamburger with their friends,” explained Lynn. “We [Keith and I] both grew up in the Midwest. So after the desert, the grass, the deer in the yard, the four seasons… well, it felt like home to us. We’ve come full circle.”

Feature ARTICLE 33

Previous Page A major portion of The Yellow House renovation was the addition of a two-car garage, which boasts a green garden roof, stone faรงade and carriage house doors. Left page The recent two-story eastside addition blends almost seamlessly with the original Italianate farmhouse built in 1879. Right page The comfortable wicker seating on the wide front porch offers the perfect perch for watching the action on East Washington Street.


o this would be home, but first they were going to need to make a few changes. When they bought the home, the seller had recommended local company Lars Construction. When they contacted the company, the DeGreen’s were pleasantly surprised to discover Owner Larry Polewchak and Keith had known each other growing up. Polewchak, a contractor and carpenter, specializes in historic renovations. “While some contractors shy away from historic homes, I see it as a challenge and an opportunity to use our creativity,” he explained. The Yellow House project has cemented Polewchak’s reputation as the go-to guy for both small and large remodeling projects in the Chagrin Valley. “Larry did a wonderful job. He’s not only a great quarterback for any project, but a worldclass carpenter too!” exclaimed Keith. “Our project began with the barn only, and just grew and grew – and all on a simple handshake. You can’t ask for better than that.” The Yellow House has been a prominent landmark in the town since the turn of the century. Built in 1879 by Joseph O’Malley for the Reverend John Chappel, the home is on the Historic Register. It is also recognized as a Century Home by the Chagrin Falls Historical Society. It’s no wonder the expansive and often times dramatic renovations that the property underwent has been the talk of the town and the concern of area preservationists. “They told us they got more calls of inquiry or concern about our house in the Chagrin office than any other project ever,” laughed Keith. “If they had only known that we planned on doing this right. While we wanted it to work for us as a family, our intent was to return the home to its historic roots.” 35

From left to right Pavers planted with grass provide nearly invisible parking for Ken’s sports car garage underneath the restored barn. Inside, a modern light and fan fixture hangs from the structural beam framed in with hand-distressed wood, while rewired antique lanterns are the focal point in the dormers. The top floor is done in a bunkhouse motif that is comfortable, yet hardy enough for several ranch hands or a couple of teenage boys and their friends.


Over the years, the former owners had made several improvements to the two-story Italianate house, but not all were in keeping with the original period or quality of the home. Some elements, like the east side porch, required structural repairs or were functionally obsolescent, like the kitchen. Additionally, the over one and a half acre lot had serious drainage issues. “We had to keep a set of mud boots in the car to walk back and forth to the house in,” said Keith, shaking his head. Of greatest concern though was the failing condition of the barn. This was the starting point for what would prove to be a massive undertaking that left almost no part of the property untouched.

“The barn was literally on the verge of falling down,” explained Keith. However, due to its historic nature, the Architectural Review Board of Chagrin Falls did not want the structure torn down. The painstaking process of preserving the barn began. First, the barn was jacked up, so that the rotting foundation could be removed. Then, each wall was individually removed and rebuilt. To ensure the barn would stay structurally sound, a massive architectural beam was put in place across the length of the roof peak. The building was too shallow to serve as a garage for anything other than Keith’s sports car. Not to mention, the multiple levels of the structure suggested a more elaborate use. “Originally I had planned to make that my office, but it didn’t take long to see what a neat space it was and I got three ‘No’ votes from Lynn and the boys. I was kicked out,” smiled Keith. They envisioned a place where the boys could hang out with their friends and pursue their hobbies. The family also wanted to incorporate a workout space. The walkout lower floor would be the haven for the sports car, as well as a workbench and tinkering space for Keith. Lynn wanted the barn to look like the turn of the century structure it was inside and out, but function as an extension of their living space. This meant adding central air-conditioning, replacing the inadequate plumbing with modern fixtures and seriously upgrading the electrical capacity to handle modern teenage demands. Polewchak let his creative side shine through on this project. Rather than purchase costly recovered barn siding, Polewchak “got #2 pine, milled it myself and then 37

used a number of implements of destruction - an adze, hatchets, chains and anything else I could find to stress it.” He carefully framed in the industrial beam with large planks of wood also distressed by his crew, so that it looked like a solid piece. It now stands out as a main rustic feature of the upstairs. Polewchak employed the same technique to the interior walls. In another money saving move, he built the round windows himself. “If I can use my ingenuity and come up with a cheaper way to do something, I do it.” Lynn worked with the painters to apply layers of Barn Red and Dapple Grey to the walls to achieve a worn, aged look. She also sought out lantern reproduction light fixtures [see sidebar] and mixed them with modern stainless steel fans and lights. Outside, Keith employed brick pavers to create a consistently solid surface on which to drive the car. Dug level with the yard and planted with grass seed, they are nearly indistinguishable from the yard visually. His lower level workshop is smartly outfitted with built-in labeled bins and a wood workbench. On the first floor, the comfortable lounge boasts a large flat screen TV perfect for gaming or watching a show during a workout on one of several exercise machines. Lynn found an old crossbeam door for Ken’s favorite part of the renovation – an elegant marble steam shower to relax in after a long day or a good workout. She decorated the upper floor in a cowboy bunkhouse motif, complete with the modern conveniences necessary for teenage boys to survive, including another flat screen TV. With four twin beds and a full bath, her sons’ friends can sleep over after a cookout over the fire pit or a late night garage band practice. “It’s wonderful really. We have kids here constantly,” said Lynn. “It’s private for them yet they’re all just in the backyard. And I don’t have to hear the drum and guitars.”


From left to right The first floor of the barn contains work-out equipment behind this cozy nook, equipped with a flat screen TV perfect for a sleep-over movie or video game tournament. This antique door was one of many pieces of architectural salvage incorporated into Lynn’s design. A wonderful juxtaposition between rustic appeal and modern comfort, the marble steam shower is a favorite retreat. This “dollhouse” shed left by the previous owner is the backdrop to many an evening of relaxation and s’mores by the firepit.

Since the barn would not hold the family’s vehicles, a two-car garage would need to be added. “I had to sell both the contractor and the review board that it would work, but I wanted the garage to be basically underground,” explained Keith. “We really wanted the impact from the street on the house to be minimal.” So working with a landscaping crew, Polewchak built the garage addition and tunneled through the foundation into the unfinished basement. “Now bringing in the groceries is super convenient – only a short walk from the garage, directly upstairs into the pantry,” said Lynn. A fieldstone wall was built to cover the entire addition and carriage-style garage doors capped off the construction. The carriage style garage doors are actually Keith’s design and where built by Polewchak. “Parades of people would come by as we were working on this, yelling, ‘What have you done to this house?!’” said Polewchak. “I kept saying, ‘just wait till it’s done.’ It looks like something meant to be there.” Also wanting the impact on the view from inside the house to be minimal, the DeGreen’s started looking into options for a green roof. “The requirements for building were very restrictive, “explained Polewchak. “There could be no penetration through the roof, not even for electrical or HVAC.” The roof, installed by Prince, Inc., was much like a swimming pool filled in with special soil. A lovely garden has now been planted surrounded by a reclaimed rusty iron fence found online by Lynn. “Just like we wanted, it looks like it has been there forever,” said Keith. 39

This project obviously required a great deal of dramatic earth-moving, which provided the perfect excuse to address the wet state of the yard. Large piles of earth were built up and then put to use to regrade the lot to allow for better drainage. “People would come by all the time and ask if they could have some of the topsoil. I kept telling them, ‘I need all that dirt,’” laughed Keith. Large planted beds were created against the house to eliminate the need for railings on the front and rear porches. A smaller less formal version of the large English garden on the east side of the house was planted. In the rear, the French drains were renovated. Finally, large mature trees were transplanted to replace others that had to be removed near the house.

The renovation of The Yellow House all started with the summer porch. Simply screened in and made of plywood, not to mention ready to fall over in a stiff breeze, it offered little benefit. Needing a practical expansion of their living space, the DeGreen’s decided to tear it off and start over. The twostory addition today provides a cheerful sunny room to watch with family, as well as a spacious guest room and bath upstairs. They planned on making small changes to the other upstairs rooms as well, including paint, lighting and new cabinetry in the master bath. As they started tearing down walls, it seemed only reasonable to renovate the half bath off the hallway to the porch. “It was the smallest bathroom in the world,” laughed Lynn. With a corner sink and a rare corner toilet, the room was claustrophobic. Removing the hallway that needlessly compartmentalized the first floor provided the perfect excuse to renovate the old galley kitchen. Lynn really wanted to open up the space, so they also decided to demolish the separation between the kitchen and the den, which had been an addition in the 1980s. 40

Left to right The screened-in porch was replaced with this two-story addition, built with plenty of windows to let the morning sun into both the sitting room and upstairs guest bedroom. The stamped concrete patio is elegantly framed by planted beds and mature trees, special-ordered in order to provide immediate shade to the outdoor space. Thanks to the addition of topsoil in an effort to eliminate the consistently muddy conditions, the lot now slopes gently down to the improved French drains. The lattices and birdbath lend an air reminiscent of the formal English garden that has been replaced with a more organic version. What bird would not be tempted to roost in these fancy birdhouses close to the patio? 41

In fulfilling Lynn’s request that the two rooms blend seamlessly, Polewchak had to figure out a creative way to put in support to replace the now eliminated load-bearing wall. “Larry is the best ever. I would recommend him to anyone. He worked with me to adapt anything I wanted. He is very patient,” Lynn laughs. A support beam was framed into a new ceiling. Then Polewchak used a “found” barn beam Lynn got locally to bolster the wall near the sink. “It looks like it’s been there forever,” he said. The unused portion of beam was then used to create a mantelpiece over the den fireplace. The brick hearth was given a stone façade, while outside the chimney was also faced with stone, keeping it consistent with the garage’s exterior wall. One thing led to another, until the whole structure was rejuvenated. Polewchak bolstered the foundation of the 1980s addition. He replaced dilapidated siding with custom-milled poplar boards made to match the original ones on the historic portion of the home. New decorative brackets or corbels were all cut from an original. A new stamped concrete patio was wrapped around the addition, featuring a stainless steel grill set into a fieldstone wall. Drafty windows were replaced with custom ones that looked historic, but had modern thermal properties. The balcony was removed from the front porch, returning it to its original 1879 state, as was the door leading to it from the front bedroom. “The way they’ve handled this project – the investment they’ve made in time and money to keep the house historic – it is a real gift to the community,” said Polewchak.


Top To Bottom The master bedroom has the organic feel of a shady wooded glen with substantial antique wooden pieces, earthen-toned walls and an airy vaulted ceiling. The second floor was expanded with this guestroom and full bath that beckon visitors to put their bags down and relax. The master bath is resplendent in modern conveniences like the Jacuzzi tub and flat screen TV, yet kept in tone with the rest of the home by the addition of custom cabinetry and fixtures. Left Page The double doors from the kitchens “hearth room� open out onto the patio, allowing the free flow of guests and food from the kitchen when entertaining. 43


Lynn DeGreen’s “history meets casual comfy” style is all about focusing on the guest’s comfort and setting unique pieces against a backdrop of preserved historical architecture. “Think about it…Take the doorknobs. At the hardware store, your only choice is shiny contemporary brass, which they wouldn’t have had. You can’t use something like that and expect people not to notice. You have to pay attention to the details.”

For wonderful finds, like her eBay kitchen

Being open to new functions for old pieces

sink, Lynn googles what she is looking for and

can bring history alive in your home. “I look

then chases it down. In the barn, she knew she

at things I love and think where I can use it.

wanted antique lanterns that had been wired

These items are the ones that stand out as

for electricity. Google pointed her in the right

extraordinary,” explained Lynn. Take for example,

direction of a shop doing just that. “If you can

the cast iron bookshelf that the store was using for

think it up, it’s out there.”

their paperwork. She fell in love and convinced the owner to part with it, without knowing for sure what she’d use it for. Now it holds a prominent

Rather than just apply the wrecking ball to old

place in her kitchen, displaying her china, and

homes, these days canny architectural salvage

“just makes that space!”

companies go in and pull out the treasure. From mantles to hardware, doors to lights, a local yard might just have that missing historic piece. Look

Lynn wanted the great chalkboard serving as the

farther afield, but be aware shipping can get

half bath door to slide as if on a barn rail. She

costly for large items.

couldn’t fit it on a real barn rail, but working with the contractor she was able to replicate the effect. “You need to be able to work with

“If you can’t find what you are looking for,

someone like Larry. He might say I don’t think

don’t be afraid to ask.” The store may not have it

you’re going to like it, but he never said you

right now, but they might be able to get it or refer

can’t do it.”

another antique shop that specializes in that item. 45


Previous Page Set under the corner windows and surrounded by white subway tile, this apron sink was purchased on eBay. It is lit by a silverware chandelier, an earlier find that Lynn brought with her from Arizona. top left Clockwise With the removal of multiple walls made possible by the addition of the wooden beam (against the wall on the right), the kitchen, dining area, and den are now all one large open space. The chandelier is one of many of Lynn’s “little details” that provides the turn-ofthe-century background onto which more modern pieces like the upholstered dining room chairs are overlaid. The footed sideboard topped is home to one of the old-fashioned phones and a few of the whimsical knick-knacks that are Lynn’s signature style. The massive, white marble backsplash was cut to order and installed between the custom cabinets as counterpoint to the iron bookshelf. A red reproduction stove really sets the historic tone of the farmhouse kitchen. Cunningly tucked into the island, the wooden façade of dishwasher was outfitted with an antique door handle to match the other cabinetry. The trendy two-tone white and pine kitchen features white marble counters and stainless steel appliances. The warm heart of the DeGreen home, the kitchen island is perfect for chatting over coffee or making a gourmet meal.

Inside the home, Lynn “wanted to return it to that old farmhouse feel… where I couldn’t find the real thing, I used reproductions or had it made custom.” Skilled cabinetmakers made both the kitchen cabinets and those in the master bath upstairs. They are capped with white and gray marble, as is the dramatic backsplash that serves as the perfect counterpoint for an antique iron shelf displaying her china. The custom-made island was painted white to contrast with the knotty pine cabinets, and, thanks to a couple of stools, it is obviously the main gathering spot in the house. The dishwasher is cunningly tucked inside. Just as the kitchen looks authentic, Lynn made sure the flooring would fool any visitors not in the know. The DeGreen’s bought reclaimed pine flooring to replace the unsalvageable original floor, running it from the addition throughout the first floor. The floor was 47

Left to right Like taking a step back into time, it is easy to imagine a gathering of hoop skirts and frockcoats around the piano in the parlor. The fireplace in the sitting room was topped with the left-over end of the barn beam used in the kitchen, and then resurfaced with the stone used throughout the property. The invigorating sunroom is adorned in the colors of a springtime garden, and lit by walls lined with windows and the warm glow of leaded glass from the half bath. Polewchak installed this chalkboard door on a barn rail so that it would slide closed on the renovated half bath.

installed not tongue and groove, but rather with gaps per Lynn’s instructions and set with old iron-headed nails she found. “The key to keeping that historic feel is in the details,” Lynn explains. However, it is the antique pieces placed with a sense of whimsy that truly adds character to the home. “Lynn really has a knack,” explained Keith. “She just finds these amazing pieces and for a great deal!” Indeed, it seems everything has a wonderful story. Under the corner windows in the kitchen, the apron sink surrounded by white subway tile backsplash, was found on eBay. The silverware chandelier hanging over the sink came with her from Arizona, but the rest of the lighting was all found in shops or on the Internet. A train station chalkboard now holds her family’s schedule instead of the 4:10 from Chicago. The family’s dinner table used to grace the kitchen of a monastery. When you walk into The Yellow House today, you get a sense of warm welcome and not just from Harry and T-Bone, the family dogs. Lynn designed it specifically this way. “My style is casual comfortable,” she explains. “I want guests to be able to be in any room, sit on any piece of furniture and be comfortable.” The soft curtains, deconstructed casual chairs, or warm yellow walls certainly help to set visitors at ease. But in the end, the home has such a convivial feel because each piece of décor exudes this sense of a cherished background, chosen with passion, and placed to evoke a smile or a sense of drama. It is this juxtaposition of personality and restoration that makes The Yellow House a “living” piece of history, inspiring passerby to pause and think, “What a neat house,” for many a year to come. FOR more photographs & LINKS FOR THIs project, VISIT


Resources Architect: Clemens Classic Architecture (primary); Tim Olland (partial) Interior Designer: DÊcor and design by the homeowner General Contractor: Lars Construction Survey M. Neff Design Group & Engineering: Carpentry: Lars Construction (primary); R.M. Construction (supplemental) Milled Wood Siding: The Hardwood Lumber Company Custom Windows: Greater Cleveland Window & Door and Pella Window and Door Shutters: Timerlane Shutters Masonry: JTM Construction (primary); Jeff Kasunic (partial) Drywall: Mike Jeavons Drywall Service (primary); Anderson Drywall (partial) Electrical: The Right Connection Plumbing: Bainbridge Mechanical HVAC: Renard Heating and Cooling Telephone: Glenn’s Telephone Service Excavation: Huffman Excavating Gutters & Downspouts: Gutter Man Painting: David Batchelor Painting, Perfection Painting and Sweeney Painting Wood Carlisle Hardwood Floors (House); Sheoga Hardwood (Barn) Floors: Carpeting: Watson Carpet Company Kitchen Cabinetry: Distinctive Cabinet Designs (design); Architectural Millwork Kitchen Countertops and Backsplash: Carrera Marble by Granex Kitchen Sink: Purchased by Lynn on eBay Dishwasher: KitchenAid from Snow Bros. Refrigerator: GE Profile from Snow Bros. Stove: Stove Works from Snow Bros. Elmira Built-in Oven: Frigidaire from Snow Bros. Bathroom Cabinetry: Randy Weaver Glass Shower Doors: D&G Glass Company Landscaping: Landscape Design Associates (primary); Seager Scenic Design (partial);Yarnell Tree Company (tree removal); The Lawn Ranger (yard maintenance) Stone: Van Ness Stone Cement: Tony Nero Cement (driveway); Teamwork Construction (sidewalks) Garage Roof: Prince Inc.


TOP left clockwise The custom-made address plaque declares guests have arrived at “The Yellow House,” a historical home in Chagrin Falls. Even balls of canine energy need a rest from time to time and this one finds the chair in the sunroom to be the perfect comfortable spot. The distressed wood table, formerly used in a monastery, sits centerstage in the kitchen. “I only use old-fashioned phones…with a cord so that I won’t lose the handset,” laughs Lynn DeGreen, showing both her sense of whimsy and love of antiques. This iron bookshelf was repurposed to serve as a focal point for china in the kitchen. Old stone from the original garden creates a meditative walkway. From derelict to showpiece, the barn features hand-distressed wood and custom-made windows by Lars Construction.


TOP left clockwise Painstaking care was taken with the new flooring to replicate the look of aged, but well kept, pine floors in a turn-of-the-century home. To thank their neighbors for their patience during the massive renovation, the DeGreens rebuilt this bridge that serves as a shortcut to the high school. From the very first step onto the front porch, the atmosphere at The Yellow House is all about setting people at ease, making them comfortable, and perhaps even generating a smile. This wonderful portrait of the DeGreen dogs is on the reverse of the address plaque and sends visitors off with warm wishes for a quick return. To complete that comfortable old farmhouse feel, a couple of chickens shepherd their brood on the porch. A stainless steel grill patio is conveniently built into a new extension of the stone foundation on the back patio. Tiers of stone and plants lead down from the cozy new patio and anchor the dramatic new look resulting from the extensive renovation. 51

52 53

Outdoor TRENDS


by Melissa Lefelar The days of a small, backyard deck with a few chairs and a barbecue are long gone. Homeowners now see the outdoors as an extension of their indoor living space. The only limits are the imagination and the wallet. A Russell couple explored all of the possibilities and turned their backyard into a luxurious haven for their family and friends. A lot of planning went into the project. “We did it over a period of about five or six years,” said the wife. “Ohio Valley Group developed a master plan, and we just implemented it piece by piece. It was really nice because you can do one component and then, the next year, do another, and it gives you the time to think if you want any changes.” Andy Dangelo, owner of Ohio Valley Group, said that a long-term project also helps with the homeowners’ budget. “Spending the time on developing a solid plan is always worth the effort because you don’t waste your time and money later changing or altering your previous efforts,” he said. 55


Above and Opposite This comfortable seating area under the white pergola is a favorite reading spot of the homeowner. Left top and left bottom The family can eat alfresco in both the daytime and the evening.

he couple started about seven years ago,

An extensive, two-level patio and deck was the next

with the addition of a stone path from the

step in the plan. Blue stone was used for the patio,

driveway to the backyard. A multi-level waterfall came

which surrounds the pond and includes several

next, which empties into a pond filled with Koi fish.

comfortable seating areas. All-weather, brown wicker

The water feature is not only attractive, but provides

furniture with striped cushions gives the owners a

soothing sounds. “Our bedroom is right above it,”

nice place to curl up with a good book. A wrought

the wife said. “There’s a balcony outside, so you can

iron table with six chairs is the perfect place for

hear the water everywhere, which is really nice.” The

a family meal or an intimate dinner party. Just a

pond and waterfall area overflows with flowers and

year ago, the owners added a white pergola, which

other plantings. These include Weeping Spruce,

provides definition to the area. It also gave them a

Weeping Hemlock, Cotoneaster, Wine and Rose

place to hang two outdoor chandeliers.

Weigela, Blood Good Japanese Maple, Little Princess Spiraea and perennials like Coneflower, Sedum and

A two-level, T-shaped bar made of natural river

Hosta. Different types of annuals are also planted

stone and topped with green granite gives party guests

each year.

lots of room to sit, eat and mingle. The lower level 57

Left page The family has created a true outdoor living room, with plush furnishings and, even, a pair of outdoor rustic chandeliers. Above and below right The homeowners say this inviting hot tub gets a lot of use. The teenagers soak in it with their friends, while the adults like to enjoy a glass of wine at sunset. Lower left An American flag greets visitors to the stately Russell home.

is used for the bar set up, while the upper level

Three Adirondack chairs surround a granite fire

provides seating on two sides. A semicircle-

pit that converts into a table. Another eating

shaped river stone seat wall is just to the right of

table with an umbrella is a short distance away. A

the bar.

six-person hot tub sits at the end of the deck.

Two steps lead to the deck, made of Ipe wood.

The owners say they enjoy their outdoor space

Ipe is one of the densest woods on the planet

everyday when the weather is nice, and even

and does not rot or splinter. White, vinyl

sometimes when the snow is flying. “We have

railings that match the pergola border the area.

three kids who are now teenagers, we have people

All of the materials are low or no maintenance.

over and they have people over here all the

A huge grill on wheels sits in a corner. Of course

time,” the wife said.

the grill gets lots of use. “We put in a 20-pound turkey last weekend and we hosted a clambake the

Dangelo said he and his landscape architect

week before,” said the wife.

approach a project in a different way than some

58 59

LEft page The two-level bar is made of granite and river stone and gives guests one more place to enjoy a drink and conversation. Right page Family members can laze away the afternoon in this hammock, reading a good book while listening to the falling water. There are many beautiful places to enjoy nature, including this rustic bench and a picnic table.


other companies. “We go inside the house to see the

visits. Everyone in the family plays the game, and it is

best views and how the landscape will look both inside

the theme of an annual party. “We had thirty people

the house and outside the house,” he said. At this

here for a golf party. We matched up couples, not

home, a large picture window by the kitchen table

spouses, and we did a three-hole course. It was really

frames the waterfall. Family members can stand in

fun,” said the wife.

the kitchen and see a wisteria-covered arbor. The couple even hosted a wedding near the waterfall. The most unique feature of the yard is just a short

“My uncle got married here,” said the wife. “It

walk down some steps from the deck and across a

was a small wedding, as it was both of their second

dry stream bed. Three golf tee boxes, elevated and at

marriages. They had all the people sitting over there

various distances from a putting green in the front

(on a small hill) on chairs, and the bride walked down

yard, puts a smile on the face of every golf fan who

this little path and up the stairs. It was very nice.” 61

ABOVE It looks like these pictures are from the local country club, not the front yard of a Russell home. Three tee boxes at varying distances from the hole provide a challenge for experts and amateurs alike.

The family is thrilled with their backyard and glad

of a soothing waterfall off to the side. Clearly, this

they did it in stages. The layout of the deck is very

staged design provides many options for individual

much like a floor plan with separate areas. There’s a

relaxation and large events.

tranquil sunken hot tub around the corner towards the front that is fairly removed from the rest of the

“We love it because it adds an entire dimension to

deck. There’s also an outdoor living room with

our house,” the wife said. “It also makes entertaining

a sofa, armchairs, coffee table and lamps. The

essentially effortless because everything is in place.”

dining area is convenient to the indoor kitchen and the outdoor bar and grill with the added touch


FOR more photographs & LINKS FOR THIs project, VISIT

Resources Designer: Andy D’Angelo, The Ohio Valley Group Contractor: The Ohio Valley Group Outdoor Bar: Stoneworks Outdoor Lighting: The Ohio Valley Group and Shady Lady Lighting Outdoor Furniture: Litehouse Pergola: Styx Valley, The Ohio Valley Group Hot Tub: Lighthouse Landscaping: The Ohio Valley Group 63

TOP left clockwise A two-level outdoor bar made of river stone and green granite provides lots of room for guests to sit and eat. A six-person (or more) hot tub is a place to relax at the end of a long day. One of three tee boxes looks out across the front yard to a putting green. This wrought iron dining table sits under a decorative pergola and is the perfect place for the family to have dinner on a summer evening. Imagine a cool, fall evening roasting marshmallows at this granite fire pit. Sit under the stars in one of these Adirondack chairs with a glass of wine and some cheese--life doesn’t get much better. This lower level of the bar is where the homeowners put drinks and snacks during parties. The deck is made of Ipe, one of the densest woods in the world that does not splinter.


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66 67

Hometrends 2009 issue 2 all links  

Hometrends issue 2 all links included

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