Home of the Month | May 2015

2540 7th St North
No Worries Here…

2015 05 front of houseIn the white house on the corner of 7th St. N. and 26th Ave. N., we find inhabitants who can pretty much do anything. Graduate from UCF and then spend a couple of years at SeaWorld, diving off Shamu’s nose? Sure, no problem. Run a successful, Ohio-based pest control company from a desk in St. Petersburg? Check. Tear out the old kitchen, rebuild the patio, create a covered area near the pool, plant bamboo, and make an interior wall look like a brick wall? All just part of the regular activities of our neighbors, Stephen and Kelly.

The renovations on the lovely corner home started nearly as soon as Stephen moved in to the house in April 2013. The kitchen of the 1938 home, he reports, was severely outdated, with older white cabinets and pink tile throughout the kitchen area and spreading into the breezeway that connected the house to the two-car garage. Mostly on his own, and with the help of some handy friends, Stephen gutted the kitchen and removed all the tile. The faucets and line to the refrigerator had been leaking for so long that the wood underneath them was “like mush.” He got there just in time, adding gorgeous tile to the floor in the kitchen, new cabinets and counters, and a cool backsplash. In addition, he widened what had been a small door from the main room into the kitchen, creating a clear view from the front to the back of the house.2015 05 kitchen

When Kelly moved in, in December 2014, she came up with the idea of transforming the breezeway, now fitted out with lovely hardwood floors, into the dining area. Thus what was once mainly a convenience area has become a focal point of the house, linking the garage, side door, kitchen, and pool area.

She also prompted Stephen to start attending some porch parties. He had read about them before but never attended. In his own words, “I liked this house from the start. But it wasn’t until we started going to the porch parties that it felt like a home.” They consider the parties one of the best features of our neighborhood, enabling them to “spread our roots.” From those roots, they have built a reputation as one of the most fun houses in the area, ready to invite neighbors in for a weekend Bloody Mary, a glass of wine and a chat, or even some late-night festivities.

2015 05 PoolFor such purposes, the renovated pool area is ideal. It features bamboo that Kelly and Stephen planted, giving them privacy and a sense of a tropical oasis. They also added a ceiling over the part of the patio nearest the house, establishing a comfortable, cool seating area for friends to gather. But they also enjoy lounging on their rescreened, rebuilt front porch, which gives them a chance to hail neighbors walking by. And they recently added a new find to the front porch—a side table that they discovered in our last CHNA garage sale! 
2015 05 brick wall2015 05 front porch

Just beyond the front door stands the brick wall. Stephen mounted Old Chicago Skinny Bricks (he offers the following link: www.skinnybrik.com) onto the existing plaster wall, then grouted them in place. The picture does not quite do it justice; the wall is an eye-catching, dramatic moment that signals immediately to visitors they have entered a fun, funky, worry-free zone.

Kelly and Stephen need these oases in their home because they both use it as their office space as well. Kelly works out of the third bedroom; Stephen’s desk is off the dining area. Noting that space can get a little tight at times—Stephen’s teenaged son lives there part-time, though his daughter has moved out—they have a grand plan for revising the layout of the three bedrooms in the house. What is now the master bedroom, with its small attached bath, will become “the boy’s room.” Then they will turn a hall closet into a half bath for guests and attach the current hall bath to the room that currently serves as Kelly’s office. That transformed room will be the new master bedroom. Finally, the remaining bedroom will serve as an all-purpose office. It’s an ambitious and exciting plan for the space. Thankfully, when it comes to Kelly and Stephen, there isn’t much that they can’t do.

2015 05 Alright


—Elisabeth Nevins Caswell
Photo Credits: ©Elisabeth Nevins Caswell

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