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Refreshing History

Regional Award Winner KDC 2006-2007

In their 1919 home, an Ohio family merges various boxy, diced up rooms to create a family-friendly kitchen and living area that celebrates daily life together.

In Toledo's historic Ottawa Hills, a large Georgian residence built in 1919 (the first home ever used by the American Red Cross) remained in its original condition until just recently. While eager to update the floorplans and looks, the family who resides there: a surgeon, homemaker and their three young children, wanted to ensure that their changes also respected the home's proud provenance.

Kitchen and bath designer Jennifer Diehl guided the couple through the kitchen remodel, removing walls and enlarging openings between the old kitchen, butler's pantry, and formal dining room for the new, larger kitchen. The family room was also moved from the other side of the home, to be closer to the kitchen. "Now it's more focused around the family being all together," says Diehl. "Opening those spaces so everyone is on one side of the house has transformed how they live and entertain."

Diehl kept the look of the original white beaded cabinets with chrome latches. Using Sub-Zero integrated product, she also used it to conceal the icemaker, wine storage and refrigerator. Moulding details match the rest of the home, and an extra-deep sink harkens back to the 19th century. Original oak-plank flooring throughout the home was stained dark walnut to bump up the contrast and drama quotient. Finishing green accents include glass pendant lights, a chicken sculpture recalling the days families kept their own flocks, and granite countertops with a matching backsplash that artfully draws attention to the Wolf 48-inch Dual Fuel range and the graceful lines of the fluted exhaust hood. The new kitchen island has a 45-degree bend for traffic flow and a butcher block top that keeps an etched archive of every meal prepared on it. "She's a gourmet cook who is in kitchen all the time, now with her three boys doing their homework at the island," Diehl explains, adding that company frequently joins them at an adjacent dining table that's expandable for 12 additional guests.

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