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Modern History

A place for everything and everything in its place

Less is more. A simple piece of advice we’ve all heard at one time or another, but this small lesson will most likely follow us around forever. Jennifer and Michael, both minimalists at heart, let this theory be their guiding hand as they went through remodeling and decorating their Bexley home. This month, the couple has opened their doors for the Bexley House & Garden Tour, where guests will get a chance to explore the home and experience the beautiful attention to detail in person.

Time for a move

Due to a growing family, Jennifer and Michael decided to make the move to Bexley from the German Village in 2006. The couple’s “must-have” list was rather short and sweet: open floor plan for entertaining, clean lines and natural light. The search was tougher than they had anticipated, but after walking through many homes, the potential in one finally stood out. “A corner lot on a quiet tree-lined street, close to schools was especially appealing,” Jennifer says.

The home was built in 1927, and although there were many architectural details the couple loved, the space was very outdated and needed some new life. Pete Foster Residential Design was brought on board and the possibilities seemed endless. “We respected the architectural integrity of the house, but needed to knock down a few walls,” says Jennifer. Clerestories were added to the dining and living rooms as well as the third floor stairwell to pull more natural light into the original part of the house. Both the stairwell and living room clerestories feature original leaded-glass windows.

Designing detail

“I’ve worked in the arts throughout my career and Michael and I are both minimalists,” Jennifer says. “We don’t like clutter and we believe in form and function.”

Everything throughout the remodeling process was an aesthetic decision for the couple, including specific details such as the hardware on the doors and cabinets, and the house numbers on the front door. “Hours were spent researching, comparing and agonizing over seemingly trivial details like the mailbox slot on the front door and the pulls for the bathroom cabinets,” Jennifer says. “Our guiding principle was that if it was not functional or beautiful then it was superfluous.”

Because of the open floor plan, the kitchen is an integral part of the house. Jennifer consulted a close friend who is a professional chef and gave the couple advice on the layout of the kitchen, while Columbus glassblower, Dawson Kellogg, created custom pendant globes and glass pulls for the space.

Artwork can be found throughout the home and the couple continues collecting as they see inspiring pieces. “If we see something beautiful that will fit the space well, we’ll make a purchase, but we don’t acquire pieces just to fill up a room,” Jennifer says.

Many rugs and several art pieces were purchased at local auctions including Apple Tree Auction Center in Newark, which has new Oriental rug auctions two or three times a year. “Columbus College of Art & Design student art sales and Ohio Art League auctions are fabulous resources and opportunities for learning, comparing, and buying,” Jennifer says.

Chris King, of the interior design company Manifesto, worked with the couple to achieve the mid-century modern look they wanted. Jennifer says he was able to pull the entire project together and work with the contractor and installers as a team. “He was able to anticipate questions or issues before they became a problem,” she says.

The renovation, which included an addition, took more than 18 months to complete, and the couple, along with their two children moved in May 2008. “We call it the ‘20-year house’ because we front-loaded everything, from the new roof, to the landscape and hardscape,” Jennifer says. “Outside of moving perennials around and acquiring new artwork, we hope to do little work to the house as our children grow up in this wonderful community.”


Architect: Pete Foster Residential Design; Contractor: Aurora Industries; Interior design: Manifesto; Flooring: Ceramic tile, Hamilton Parker; Glass tiles and backsplash: Hamilton Parker; Bathroom sinks: Duravit, Eastman Supply; Bath faucets: Hansgrohe, Carr Supply Inc.; Appliances: KitchenAid, Builder Appliance Supply Inc.; Cooktop: Wolf, Builder Appliance Supply Inc.; Artwork: Framed by Reed Arts, hung by Chip Carman; Floral design: Fresh French Floral Boutique; Custom glasswork: Dawson Kellogg; Railing: Suburban Steel Supply

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