A few years ago I bought a real fixer upper for my own family. As my husband lovingly reminded me for the DURATION of the design and... Read More

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Making It Modern: The Goran Home Renovation

By: Trish Muyco-Tobin
From: Ladue News, October 27, 2007

Deena Goran has lived in her Lake Forest home for more than 20 years, but it wasn’t until this year, she says, that she finally has the house she wants. A teacher at John Burroughs School, Goran and her physician husband, David, bought their Tudor-style house in 1983. In March 2007, the two-story, four-bedroom home underwent a front room renovation. “We always wanted a contemporary look, but it has been a gradual metamorphosis until this year,” she says. “We enjoy contemporary architecture, like Frank Lloyd Wright. We like form and function, and we’ve been pushing this envelope for some time.”

The project involved tearing down the wall that separated the formal living room and the family room. It also required moving a small bathroom to open up the space between the kitchen and family room. “We wanted to reconfigure the space to make it more loft-like,” Goran says. “I wanted the entire front of the house to be livable space.”

In addition to the architect Paul Findley, the Gorans sought the help of Tricia Sinn, president of Sinn Design Build Inc. “They came to me with a dilemma: they loved their location, but they wanted something ultra-contemporary,” Sinn explains. “They wanted the open, contemporary feel of a loft in a suburban neighborhood, so we spent a lot of time making sure the finished product wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb.” For starters, the home’s exterior got a makeover: Two columns flanking the front door were removed and more contemporary exterior lighting was installed on the front porch. “We wanted to keep it warm and not too industrial,” Sinn notes. “It sets the tone for what’s coming up inside.”

For the interior, Sinn’s goal was to open the space and bring in more light. The front door was replaced with a reeded glass door to allow light in, while still providing privacy. The wall dividing the living room from the rest of the house came down, creating a spacious front room adjacent to the kitchen area. An exposed steel beam now marks the area where the wall once stood. “It’s holding up the second floor,” Sinn says. “Deena wanted to leave it exposed, but it clashed with the rest of the house.” To fix the problem, Sinn glazed the beam with a rusty bronze shade to match the newly redesigned fireplace.

There was also a small bathroom in the back of the house that stood between the fireplace area and the kitchen. “I felt very strongly that it needed to go. It was blocking the light from the back of the house,” she says. “Now there is a beautiful view of the pool in the back.”

The renovation was completed in late August. “It feels like we built a house-the transformation is pretty dramatic,” Goran says, adding that one of her favorite new features is the reddish-blond hardwood floor. “It makes the room really warm and brings everything together.” The Gorans fill their home with an art collection and furniture that reflect their preference for minimalist and contemporary styles. “We like clean lines, geometric shapes, and stripes-no flowers or lace,” she says. “Now the house finally reflects our style.”

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