Northeast Ohio Full Home Remodel: The Master Plan Series – Blog #1 of 4

September 28, 2022

The Full-Home Refresh

What home remodeling trends are at the top of your wish list right now? According to Rocket Mortgage, the most popular renovation and remodeling trends in 2022 include features like vast banks of windows for creating more natural light indoors, built-in storage throughout the house for added convenience and in the kitchen, multi-functional islands with large seating areas.  

Our team at Dover Home Remodelers recently managed a whole-house remodel that includes all of these on-trend updates—and so many more.  

Finding Their New Dream Home 

The couple had decided to downsize after their two daughters moved out on their own. Their search brought them to the ideal property: a brick home built in 1957. What the house lacked in curb appeal, it made up for in location. The property is situated on a quiet cul de sac street in a beautiful Westside Cleveland community. The neighborhood backs up to Westwood Country Club — where the homeowners are members and regularly play golf — making it the perfect fit. They bought the home with the intention of a major remodel. 

Before & After Photos 

To provide a better idea of the size and scope of this renovation project, here are before and after photos of the kitchen from the same vantage point: 

whole house remodel before photo

whole house remodel after

For this installation of our four part series, let’s start at the beginning. 

Project Overview 

The homeowners were referred to Dover by their friends whom we had done remodeling work for in the past. After interviewing multiple contractors and architects for the job, they chose Dover not just based on the quality of work but also the design-build approach to project management. Based on their initial interviews, the homeowners found that working with an architect, engineer and builder separately made the budgeting and design process confusing. Having one point of contact to manage all aspects of the job from beginning to end was appealing to them, so that weighed a lot on their final decision.  

The homeowners’ vision for their home renovation project was to create an open, free-flowing living space with loads of natural light and a classic, timeless aesthetic. They also wanted to feel more connected to the outdoors—the existing home didn’t offer clear views of the beautiful backyard, making the space dark and cramped. 

dark windowless room

The Homeowners’ Wish List 

To make this new house their home, the homeowners had specific design ideas in mind. 

  • Open concept design. The existing space was a maze of walls that made the house feel disjointed and smaller than its actual size. Their vision was to eliminate walls and vault ceilings with wider openings from room to room for living spaces that flowed easily from one area to the next.     
  • More functional layout. Relocating the powder room and creating a guest suite with an adjoining bathroom while keeping a separate home office space. 
  • Create a grand entryway and open the backyard view. Instead of entering the home and looking at a wall, they wanted to create a spacious foyer with a view through the house to the lush, green backyard. 
  • Vaulted ceilings in the sunroom and great room. And to make the sunroom feel more like part of the home, not an addition. 
  • Two islands in the kitchen — one for function and the other for seating.   
  • Lots of storage space in the kitchen using built-in slides in the cabinets and islands, as well as a larger walk-in pantry.  
  • Upgrade to a 2.5-car garage for their vehicles and more storage. 

Preparing for the Home Renovation 

Before we started with design, we visited their current home so I could see how they lived in their space (such as closets, kitchen storage, etc.) and get a feel for their personal design style. We also visited other homes that Dover had remodeled and took inspiration from photographs of property features and fixtures that the homeowner had gathered during her preparation. Collectively, this process helped give me a snapshot of the look and feel we were trying to achieve with this home remodel. 

Feasibility, Permitting & Engineering 

With most projects, there are essential, behind-the-scenes tasks that you don’t see. This project had quite a few. As we started to formulate design plans based on budget and project scope, we reached out to the city to gather information about the lot size and setbacks. We found that the property is unique in that it wasn’t recorded with the city, so the officials had to involve their legal department. Based on our relationships with city inspectors, we provided initial drawings and discussed plan feasibility to get the ball rolling, despite the other hurdles.  

The homeowner liked the idea of building the new garage on an angle based on another home design she saw. This design required a special variance with the city based on code, which we were able to secure. At this stage, we also re-engineered the home’s structure to achieve the open-concept design: Incorporate the existing garage space into the main house, remove the load-bearing wall in between the kitchen and great room, add a steel beam to carry the load for the cathedral ceiling in the great room and tie it into the roof structure above, and install a support beam in the newly redesigned sunroom. 

Project Plans 

Let’s take a look at the project drawings: 

house plans beforeHome plans

In my next blog, I’ll walk you through the great room and sunroom spaces with lots of before, during and after photos. Be sure to follow along. 

Patti Saracusa