You might think if you were in the home renovation business, it would stand to reason that your own house would be perfect—exactly the way you want it—from the get-go …
Every indoor space would be usable, the flow seamless. The outside would have immediate curb appeal, and you’d be thrilled whenever you made the turn onto your street and your house came into view.
Then again, the opposite could be true—that you’ve spent so much time on the business of making other people’s home dreams come to fruition, you’ve made no time to work on your own.
Such was the case for Lori and Ian Holmes of Holmes Custom Renovations, LLC, a local company that’s been focusing on exterior renovations (windows, siding, decking and more) in the Cincinnati area since 2005.
Even though they moved into their current home in 2004, it took until just this past year for them to find the time and the resources to upgrade both the exterior and interior—and finally give it that “wow factor” they always knew it could have.
Why? Well, like everyone who runs a business knows, “It’s harder to get to your own projects because our customers take priority. That means we always put our own priorities low on the list,” Lori says.
From “Sad” to Showstopper
The way Lori tells it, the exterior “before” of their home in Symmes Township was pretty sad.
“Our home was built in 1989, as a ‘show’ home for the builder,” Lori describes. “It had one of the largest floor plans in the neighborhood—but the way it was positioned on the lot, the way the front was originally designed, it looked like a tiny little postage-stamp house … pink brick with orange undertones (and what looked like powdered sugar sprinkled on top), and windows with yellowish frames—not much in the way of curb appeal.”
To make their house exterior stand out—and to make the house really live up to its full potential—they not only redid the outside, but some of the inside, as well.
“Our vision was to improve the curb appeal and give the house the same presence in the front that it has in the back … bring it into the new millennium,” Lori explains. “We decided that we’ll be here for a long time, and we want to enjoy our home the way it could be while we’re here. When we do sell someday, we know we’ll recoup most of our investment.”
Raise the Roof (and More)
Employing Mark Dierkers of Mark Dierkers Architecture to plan the exterior updates, and tagging their daughter Adriana for design input, the Holmeses embarked on a nine-month renovation of the inside and out. So what does nine months of makeover look like? You have to read it to believe it.
- Raising the roof (yes, raising it) in the front of the house to convert the attic to a more usable living space—enough to add another master closet, laundry room and bathroom, plus a large closet for the spare bedroom. The roughly 400-square-foot addition also gave the roofline more of a standout presence.
- Reconfiguring two upstairs bedrooms and the hall bath, adding a brand-new Jack-and-Jill-style bathroom in between.
- Adding a second floor HVAC room.
- Adding a faux gable over the front center of the house (with James Hardie faux shake siding)—which, when combined with the bigger roofline, also gave the house a more substantial appearance from the street.
- Moving and replacing two small windows in the garage that were spaced too far apart. The original window space was bricked in, then a large, triple-casement window was added in the center, along with a cedar and standing-seam metal roof awning.
- Removing pillars on the front porch and spanning them out to open up the front, adding a window, and installing a James Hardie board-and-batten treatment around the entry—giving the entire area a much more inviting appearance.
- Adding all-new black windows from Infinity Fiberglass Replacement Windows.
- Painting all of the existing brick white.
- Replacing the old vinyl siding with James Hardie arctic white siding.
- Adding a new black metal roof, black gutters and two skylights.
- Extending the side porch.
To help put together the pieces of their amazing home makeover, the Holmeses also worked with Lawn & Landscape Grooming LLC, ML Mantel Construction LLC, and Kennedy Painting.
The End Result
Despite the months-long remodeling process, and having to relocate to tight living quarters for the duration (aka, their library and main floor bathroom), Lori says both they (and their neighbors!) couldn’t be more thrilled.
“We love when friends walk by and tell us they like the changes,” Lori smiles. “The neighbors across the street even asked me to let them know when workers would be there so that they could get out their lawn chairs and watch the progress. Most of all, watching our skilled craftsmen make a drawing come to life is exhilarating!”
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