Five years ago, Jen met Bob and the two started dating. One year later they decided to tie the knot—despite a slight incompatibility. When it comes to decorating styles, Jen came to the relationship with a penchant for “minimalistic, streamlined and functional” design while Bob’s house was filled with “puffy, oversized, brown leather.”
“I needed help,” says Bob. “I was in crisis.”
Although Jen admits she is not without issues of her own. “I get a little OCD with some stuff, she says. “I don’t like to see plugs and cords and all that.”
The two have learned to compromise, and as often happens in happy marriages—the final result skews heavily toward the wife’s tastes. But Bob is okay with that. “I got straightened out,” he says.
Yours and mine, to ours
The couple was ready to create a home that checked all the boxes for each of them. After a serious amount of digging by Jen, (“Jen has the ability to research like no one I have ever seen,” says Bob.) the two chose to build a single-family courtyard home in one of West Chester’s 55-and-over communities. (Although, it’s important to note that Jen’s not yet 55!)
When it came to selecting the lot, it was all about location, location, location. The half-acre parcel they chose was at the end of a cul-de-sac and backed up by green space. The Mill Creek runs along the northern side of the property. (Jen checked the creek’s flood plain before settling on that location.) And it’s just an overall “super convenient” location. Kroger is within easy walking distance and Dorothy Lane Market, a favorite of Jen’s, is a quick trip up I-75.
The characteristics of the lot were extremely important to the couple. “We wanted a lot of privacy and a yard for our dogs,” Bob says. Their dogs are 80-pound Brady and 22-pound Sammy. And the yard is an appealing playground for pets and people alike. The couple owns a section of the rear tree line, but they planted liberally to protect their view year-round. “We brought in 30 to 40 trees,” Jen says. “Mostly a variety of arbor vitae and pines.”
Holding center stage in the yard is an inviting pergola with comfy seating, a paver floor and a stone fireplace. Just in case the fire doesn’t keep the couple warm enough on chilly nights, they can supplement the heat with a powerful heater they’ve nicknamed “Tron.”
“I will sit out here even if it’s 30 degrees,” Jen says. It’s a great spot for enjoying a glass of wine.”
Inside the home, the couple had definite wants on their wish list. “We wanted to downsize. No steps,” Bob says. This home is just over 2,100 square feet—a little more than half the size of their previous 3,800-square-foot home. “In our old house, we had so many rooms, we did nothing but clean,” Jen says.
Plus, the no-steps decision also comes in handy for their rescue, Brady, who is older and the victim of a stroke and finds steps challenging.
Off the open kitchen/dining/living area are two wings. One housing the primary suite along with a laundry room. The other is where the guest room and bath are found.
When it came to selecting furniture for the home, the couple went with a less-is-more concept. Their search was launched at Bova Contemporary Furniture.
“It started with a couch,” Jen says. “That couch sold us.” And yes, the blue sectional sofa in the great room is a magnet for both Jen and Bob. The two end sections recline just in case a nap is a possibility.
Speaking of blue, most of the design decisions were made at the blueprint stage, which could have been a challenge. “I need to be in it to see it,” Jen says. Fortunately, she turned to Roony Mangat, co-owner of Bova. Roony was able to help the homeowner visualize the outcome. “She makes it easy for me,” Jen says.
Roony shares that sentiment about Jen and Bob. “They were prepared. They showed up with photos and knew what they wanted but needed a bit of guidance on their selections in terms of color and proportions.
Some of those selections were among Jen and Bob’s favorite pieces in their home—the painted bent glass covered Glassisimo coffee table and side tables. The Mexican manufacturer allows customers to pick the design, colors, patterns and more. Those options made the selections fun for the couple. For example, some of the pieces were a bit too tall for their needs, so Roony called the designers and asked them to shorten the legs. “That’s the great thing about Bova,” Jen says. “You get exactly what you want.”
Roony is a fan of the Glassisimo line as well. “Yes, they are accessories that provide functionality,” she says, “but actually they are pieces of art.”
Even though the couple’s tastes lean toward contemporary, the home is plenty warm and inviting. “I want people to come in and feel comfortable,” Jen says. Occasional splashes of wood add a bit of warmth and a touch of nature. Poster size black and white prints of both Jen and Bob’s parents flank the fireplace wall and add serious pops of personality.
Settled and satisfied
The couple moved into their new home in February of 2022, and they couldn’t be happier. Something is going on at someone’s house at least once a month, Bob says. “This is the best street I’ve ever lived on.”
Furniture Bova Contemporary Furniture Window treatments Hunter Douglas from Exciting Windows! By Apollo Courtyard lighting Outdoor Lighting Concepts of Dayton and Cincinnati Organization and shelving of mudroom, den, garage, wine bar, and all closets Leah Eggert with California Closets
Article by Karen Bradner | Photos by Greg Grupenhof
Article originally appeared in September 2023