Home Renovation Challenge

Wes and Jennifer Hataway’s renovation started with a drawing on a napkin at their daughters’ lemonade stand. The Hataways were visiting at the curb with local architect Dyke Nelson and his wife, Rebecca, when Jennifer Hataway asked Dyke Nelson how he thought she could make more room in her home.

Nelson picked up a napkin and drew a sketch that turned out to be the basis for a major renovation designed by him and Elizabeth Dyer, of DNA Workshop. The project, built by contractor Todd Normand, was completed in September.

The Hataways, both lawyers, wanted to make their 1950s-vintage Walnut Hills home more functional.

“We had a vision of what was consistent with the neighborhood, but we also needed to have enough room for our family to live comfortably,” Jennifer Hataway said. They wanted their home to be modern, but they wanted to retain some of the character of the original house.

“Opening up the floor plan and getting a better kitchen were priorities,” she said, “but we also wanted to have private spaces where Wes could watch basketball or the girls could do homework.”

The Hataways added 750 square feet to the east side of the house, creating a new kitchen and an upstairs playroom. They removed a guest bedroom situated off their old den, added a walk-in pantry, an entrance from the garage, a laundry room and what Jennifer Hataway calls her “drop zone.”

“That’s where the kids can leave their muddy shoes,” she said.

They increased the size of the den by taking in part of their back porch and converted their old kitchen to a dining area in their large family room. The home originally had a very small stoop that opened to a tiny foyer with the living room on the left and a small dining room on the right. The “tiny and unusable kitchen” was behind the dining room.

The architects’ design created more space by moving the front door and converting the small dining room to a large foyer that opens to the family room. One of the biggest changes was the addition of a deep front porch, which ties the old and new parts of the house together.

“Our street is such a fun place,” Jennifer Hataway said. “We sit on the porch. We spend a lot of time on the porch.”

The home, which originally had a number of small rooms, is now completely open. The front entrance leads to the large foyer with the living room on the left and the family room on the right. The kitchen, on the right side of the family room, contains a wide island topped with copper, something Nelson calls “an unexpected detail.”

The master bedroom suite is behind the living room and was expanded to take in the old laundry room, which has become Jennifer Hataway’s “obscene closet that I don’t deserve,” she said with a laugh.

Upstairs are the original bedrooms for the two daughters and the new playroom, which is now connected by a study nook with built-in desks for homework.

“Dyke came up with all kinds of creative ways to keep the parts of the house we liked and to make the home more usable,” Jennifer Hataway said.

The Hataways are thrilled with how it all turned out.

“At the end of the day, we feel like we got true value out of every dollar we spent,” Jennifer Hataway said. “We wanted a house where everybody could hang out.”

Wes Hataway has one reservation.

“After Dyke drew on the napkin, it increased the price of lemonade by 400 percent,” he said with a laugh. “I now ban all future lemonade stands.”



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