Drab to Fab

When this classic 1920s home in an upscale Rocky River neighborhood went on the market, one style-savvy couple knew it was the ideal home for their family of five—

but it was going to take some work to get there. The 4500-sq.-ft. home included a 2000-sq.-ft. addition that just didn’t work: There was no architectural continuity in design, leaving the home with a disjointed feel and lackluster appeal

The Basement before

While Dover Home Remodelers was contracted to renovate the entire house, the damp, musty basement was priority one: The homeowners wanted a space where their children were free to play and family and friends could comfortably gather, so they turned the basement into the ultimate living-relaxing-entertaining space.

Nothing about this basement renovation was text book. Half of the basement was original to the home and the other half was added in 2011. The existing concrete floor dipped in the middle by two inches, which required the entire floor to be dug out by hand; then grades were shot to ensure the new floor would be level and new concrete was poured.


bathroom before

bathroom beforebathroom before

Existing cast iron plumbing lines were replaced under the concrete floor and the main water line from the street and the gas meter were relocated.

The HVAC duct work was run through soffits in the basement ceiling to ensure a quality comfort level of heating without disturbing the architectural value.


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The Basement after

Completing the homeowners’ wish list for their new basement was a bar area, a full bathroom, an enclosed office space, media room and exercise room. Among its main features is the pub room: A brick floor was meticulously laid in a herringbone pattern to give the space old-world feel and a custom cherry wet bar was topped with granite and custom woodwork.

The granite and wood was continued on the refaced fireplace.

For continuity, the homeowners wanted to ensure that the feel and look of the basement melded with the architecture of the home. The cozy media room was finished with signature wood trim and custom 8-panel doors were installed to match those installed throughout the home.

The staircase was opened up to allow for a more open feel so that the upstairs and downstairs flowed seamlessly into one another.


basement after

basement after

basement afterbasement after

basement after

basement after

basement afterbasement after

The Kitchen before

On the main floor, there was no continuity between the original home design and the added space, which was glaringly evident in the kitchen and the adjoining mudroom. The space was confining due to narrow hallways flanked with contemporary, Scandinavian-style cabinetry.


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kitchen duringkitchen during

The Kitchen after

Moving from the basement upstairs, the whole-home renovation continued in the same manner emphasizing function, comfort and personal style with a seamless flow from room to room.

The new kitchen design opened the space and provided much-needed storage, added counter space, a dining bar, and smart work/prep areas. The customers selected Brown Antique granite with a leather finish and Vermont Imperial Danby marble surfaces complemented by white cabinetry with custom built-ins for added convenience. A dropped header above the new kitchen window wall proposed a design challenge; creatively designed cabinetry and trim made the header virtually disappear.


kitchen after

kitchen after

kitchen stove and storage after

kitchen afterkitchen fridge after

kitchen after

kitchen with storage after

The Mudroom before

Structural problems were uncovered between the original mudroom and new kitchen addition.


mudroom before

mudroom beforemudroom during

The Mudroom after

The new design incorporated custom built-ins for easy organization and storage.

Floor joists were reinforced in the mud room ceiling to support the new second-floor laundry room.


mudroom after

The Living Room & Dining Areas before

The main living area had the ample size that the homeowners required complete with a wall of windows to brighten the space, but yet it lacked aesthetic.


living area before

living area duringliving area before

dining area beforedining area during

The Living Room & Dining Areas after

Influenced by their love of New England, the homeowners’ design elements included painted cabinetry and custom millwork.

Custom 8-panel doors were installed throughout the home; the original hardwood floors were refinished to their natural beauty; and fresh paint completed the clean, stylish new interior.


living area after

living area after

dining area after

dining area after

The Laundry Room after

Tile and mud base drain was installed below the washing machines to prevent any potential problems with leaking.

Custom built-ins were added to make smart use of space for added efficiency.


laundry after

laundry after

The Master Bathroom after

The bathrooms needed updating to complete the integrity of the whole-house remodel.

In the master, the homeowners selected updated features including custom tile work in the expanded shower, a handsome double vanity with White Carrera surface; and a built-in linen closet complete with mirrored finish


master bath after

master bath after


Not to be forgotten, the two children’s bathrooms received attention, as well.

The spaces were smartly designed with extra built-in storage and double vanities. To keep the character of the house, the floor tile was preserved as it was original to the house and is a nod to the home’s 1920s character.


bath after

bath after