Opening Up Their Home To Today’s Relaxed Lifestyle
Meet the Murrays: Greg and Donna Murray reside in Evendale, Ohio in a two-story, four-bedroom traditional home that’s nearly forty years old. They were tired of the “broken up” first floor with its tiny galley kitchen, formal dining room, and a “living room that looked like something roped-off in a museum” (to use Greg Murray’s words) that was not designed for today’s more relaxed entertaining. They had looked around for a new home, but liked the community and decided to see about updating their current home. After talking to four contractors, they chose Jeff DeVol to open up their home.
What was done: To bring the Murray’s tradition-bound home into the 21st century, the whole first floor was substantially revised. Walls were torn down to create more open, flowing spaces out of what had been subdivided rooms. The kitchen and formal dining room essentially swapped places, and were all now a part of a brand-new, spacious great room that included a dining area that could accommodate up to eight for dinner. In addition, the two bathrooms on the second floor were also given fresh new looks. To provide a fresh new face to the home, new siding and windows were specified for the exterior. In addition, a new, more energy-efficient furnace was installed.
How it was done: “I knew when they pulled up on the first day (of the remodel) and said, ‘Where do you want the Port-O-Let?’ that we had chosen the right contractor,” says Greg. “They were so focused on minimizing disruption… They even dropped a 220 (volt) line into the basement for our range, so we could continue to have our meals at home.” Donna concurs: “Folks we talk to are amazed that we didn’t have to move out. We were gone only two nights during the entire five-month project.”
“We both work outside the home,” Donna says. “I felt confident that, while we were both at work, things would be fine. They earned my trust quickly… They were also very thoughtful about cleaning up at the end of each day, and locking up.”
“My mom said that she had more dust and disruption from a one-room remodel than we had from re-doing the entire first floor.”
Communication is the key: Both Donna and Greg commented on the ways DeVol and their workers kept them informed every step of the project. “They gave us a manual with how to deal with a remodel,” says Greg. “They told us it wouldn’t be all fun-and-games. It helped us put things in perspective, have an idea of what to expect.”
“They provided us with a binder with a calendar,” according to Donna. “We always knew what would be happening… They stuck to their schedule. When there was a change, they’d let us know right away.”
“They were very responsive,” Donna adds. “If I had a concern, they were here right away.”
The best of the old, in a new way: “We liked the rustic look of the former family room, with its beamed ceiling and brick fireplace,” according to Greg. Donna said, “The space is now a den. Jeff was able to keep the elements that we liked, yet update the overall look to complement what was done on the rest of the first floor.”
“Wherever possible, they kept the integrity of the original house,” adds Greg. “The new hardwood floor where the kitchen once was looks like the original flooring. The attention to detail is amazing.”
“People have made specific comments about the workmanship and the details,” according to Donna. “For instance, they notice the way the columns are done. I didn’t want ‘ornate.’ DeVol incorporated the craftsman look of the cabinets into the columns. They really ‘got it.’”
Graduating with honors: The Murrays wanted the project to be completed in time to celebrate their only son’s high school graduation… and DeVol earned top marks for completing the assignment on time, with a design that makes any kind of entertaining much easier. “The new layout is so much more spacious,” says Donna. “The flow is fantastic. We were able to host fifty guests for our son’s graduation party comfortably. Even when I was in the kitchen, I was able to be with others. In the old kitchen, I felt isolated, cut off.”
What more can we say? When asked to describe their feelings about their home’s new look, Greg Murray says, “We’re thrilled to death… It’s bright, current, spacious.”
Donna says, “They’ve given this home a whole new life.” Then she quickly adds, “DeVol is top rate, totally professional. I’ve recommended them to everyone.”