Step through the solid front door of the condo and take it all in. Not just the gorgeous kitchen backsplash, the high-end appliances or the eye-catching light fixture dangling over the dining area table—these features, while all spectacular, flatter the ultimate amenity: the stunning view visible from almost anywhere in the home. Gleaming windows stretch from floor to ceiling showing off the sprawling cityscape on one side and with a slight turn of the head, the FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, and gorgeous water view of Lake Erie can be seen on the other.
This cozy condo was the perfect fit for homeowners Martha and E.J., a couple of empty nesters who moved to Cleveland from Missouri. After living in Shaker Heights for a spell, they were looking to find a space that was a little more active, in terms of neighborhood, and something a little bit smaller so they wouldn’t spend all their time and energy on general maintenance and upkeep. They settled on downtown Cleveland, in a high-rise that’s surrounded on all sides by bustling streets, but itself is accessible through a quieter side street.
The condo was perfect—almost. Nearly right away, the owners found that it needed a few updates. The outdated kitchen area needed a little attention to bring it up to speed with the couple’s living and entertaining styles. The master bath could use a few extra amenities. Before they knew it, they were overhauling the whole condo—and forming a fast friendship with their designer, Jeff Bennett of Kitchen & Bath, Etc. “I think that’s really important when you’re dealing with a general contractor, to have a good relationship,” says Martha. “And I knew from the initial meeting with him that our personalities would work well together.”
The neutral color scheme of the condo was specifically selected to put the focus on the colorful buildings in the distance as well as the captivating view of the water. “My personal opinion is you don’t want a lot of bright colors to draw attention because then you walk in and get confused, and you want to be able to enjoy the view and not be distracted by the colors inside,” says Jeff.
The light fixture hanging above the dining table is one of the only showy things in the whole condo. Selected from Cleveland Lighting by husband E.J, the glitzy piece catches all of the colors of the surrounding areas.
The white cabinetry hides a plethora of cooking supplies, equipment that sees a lot of use, as both Martha and E.J. enjoy cooking. The original renovation plans included bumping the kitchen wall back a few feet, however, the building design tied their hands a bit. When they realized certain limitations, they had to get a little creative and re-think some initial ideas. “We couldn’t do the full, kind of gourmet commercial range that I had envisioned,” says Martha on their decision to switch to an induction cooktop.
The restrictions might have worried some owners, but Martha was confident that Jeff and his team could handle the project. “Jeff and I had a weekly meeting and we would go over design details.”
Jeff, for his part, didn’t leave anything to chance, “I design it, I run it, I oversee the whole thing, I order the materials.”
The master bath reflects the simple elegance of the rest of the home. Heated floors take the bite out of a cold morning, while a heated towel rack—a sturdy silver structure that immediately draws the eye—is within an arm’s length of the shower.
Thick slabs of Carrara marble top the double vanity, its smooth run interrupted only by his and hers sinks. A collection of small drawers offers plenty of storage space; directly below that, open shelving plays host to an assortment of chic bins—white to match the rest of the design.
Martha desperately wanted a bathtub included in her new master bath, but building restrictions forced the tub to be placed in a nearby guest bath instead. “I do use the soaking tub a couple times a month,” Martha admits. “There’s a TV and a sound system in there, so it’s pretty luxurious.” However, the owners don’t find the master space lacking. A steam shower was incorporated into the design and offers the desired level of relaxation.
The individual remodeling ideas incorporated in the condo are all gorgeous; when merged together, they’re mind-blowing. However, Martha says that her gaze often slips past the furnishings and new digs as she settles in her favorite spot on the sofa and—cup of coffee in hand—watches the sailboats gliding on the water in the near distance. “I don’t think you can beat a view of Lake Erie, anyhow, anyway,” Martha gushes. “It’s just stunning.”
RESOURCES Designer Jeff Bennett, Kitchen & Bath, Etc.; Project foreman Rob Brelo, Kitchen & Bath, Etc.; Cabinetry StarMark Cabinetry; Kitchen countertops Quartzite; Kitchen backsplash Chiseled Carrara marble; Kitchen sink Stainless steel; Kitchen faucet Kohler Karbon; Kitchen faucet and sink Welker-McKee; Dishwasher Bosch, Snow Brothers; Cooktop Wolf induction, Trevarrow, Inc.; Refrigerator Sub-Zero, Trevarrow, Inc.; Oven Upper: steam convection, lower: convection, Trevarrow, Inc.; Bathroom countertops Carrara; Bathroom sink Wells Sinkware; Bathroom faucet Grohe Bar Brizo; Bathroom faucets, fixtures and towel warmer Welker-McKee; Lighting Cleveland Lighting; Mars Electric; Wallcovering Leonard Trusnik, Trusnik Painting and Decorating; Hutch Silver from Lee Jofa; Furniture Restoration Hardware