Custom shelving and mantels Built-ins As seen in August issue of Columbus Monthly Homes
Outdoor Kitchen and Bar
renovator Joe McCarty, bought their Italian Village row house two years ago, they knew a massive modernization was in order. Previous owners had attempted to keep everything in the turn-of-the-century period in which the home was built, including the nondescript and small Victorian fireplace built around 1900. The new owners quickly saw past the room's pale green walls and blase character, though. After modernizing some other spaces in the house, they eventually made this living room their highest priority. They started out with one basic understanding. "We like modern," explains Sammons, "but not ultra modern." The project began with some prior experiences–they had seen a similar design in a magazine and Sammons had considered it fora former client. Thus, they were prepared to move forward with a novel concept for this relatively small space. They added a granite block wall around the fireplace that would, in the end, make the space even slightly smaller. The tile installation, however, made the hearth's original firebox deeper to better accommodate glowing gas logs. "It gave us the depth," explains McCarty. Once the 50 granite tiles that constituted the glistening new fireplace surround went into place, the two evaluated the project and McCarty moved forward to build off-white shelving on either side. To add more specific detail, they chose to use cherry stain–instead of paint–on the bottom shelf of each unit, just above the enclosed cabinets. The entire construction added depth, height and even a bit of grandeur to a room in a home that probably once belonged to a factory worker. Their digital television sits perfectly in the granite space above the cozy hearth, but another surprise awaits. Underneath the creamy white molding designed to match the home's original woodwork, where the cabinets hit the ceiling, McCarty has adeptly hidden a 10-foot screen that drops to accommodate the projector attached to the ceiling at the rear of the room. "I wanted a home theater room," he explains. The ceiling of this room has been completely redone to accommodate strategically placed recessed lights above the bookshelves. Another hidden feature integrated in this new shelving unit is a speaker system camouflaged by soft white fabric at the top of the shelves. Once the major construction details were in place, Sammons went to work to finish the room's decor. "It's hard to find small furniture," he explains. Yet, two chairs that once belonged to his mother were reupholstered and now flank the new hearth. A leather sofa divides the living room space from the home's quaint entry area. Sammons located the perfect, square ottoman at a friend's home and offered to trade, since the friend was looking for a replacement piece anyway. Now, the neutral-toned ottoman serves multiple purposes in the middle of the room. It's Sammons's one concession to size. "I think you can still put a large piece of furniture in your home for impact," he explains. Gold velvet draperies hang simply at the large window overlooking the broad front porch. Throw pillows and Sammons's collection of crosses from throughout the world add to the decor. And an area rug, situated on a new Brazilian cherry floor, brings additional gold tones to the room's palette. With the new update, Sammons still gives a nod to the home's century-long history. The original tile is intact behind the new granite wall, he explains. Although creating the new wall took only about three weeks, the tweaks and adjustments to the remainder of the room's decor have continued. "I'm finally happy with the way it looks now," says Sammons. And, even though they worried about losing valuable floor space, "It actually made the room look bigger," adds McCarty.