Home of the Month | November 2016

Home of the Month, November/December 2016
2324 7th St. N.

Building On, Building a Home

Walking up to the Kapes’s home on 7th Street N. gives a clear first impression of fun. The holiday decorations are always in season, the Spiderman door hanger tells you to swing on in, and the chalk art on the sidewalk shows the signs of afternoons filled with play and adventure. And none of those first impressions are wrong. But they also don’t tell nearly the entire story of this cozy, comfortable, and recently much enlarged home.

Front 11-16

When Emily and Cory Kapes first moved here, in November 2008, soon after their marriage, the little house was listed officially as a two-bedroom, one-bath home. Rumor has it that it was once the summer cottage of the Mueller family—the ones whose name is emblazoned across boxes of pasta on grocery shelves. As they initially looked at the house, Emily and Cory found themselves sold on a couple of great features. First, there were the gleaming, original, wood floors through much of the house, which Cory notes was “almost the main reason we bought the house.” In general though, the home offered the style they loved, with detailed moldings and chair rails and quirky leftovers from its original design, like the massive ceiling vent that houses a huge (no longer functional) attic fan. Second, there was the funky little cottage on the back of the property, which adds a loft- style bedroom and bath, some storage, a place for the washer and dryer, and a half garage for their kayaks, lawn equipment, and other adventure gear.

Cottage 11-16

It makes for a great space, ideal for when guests come to visit. The space, the style, and the amenities thus were perfect for the newlywed couple, who made just some minor adjustments, like building a comfortable deck out back. When their twin sons Parker and Owen arrived in 2011, the space worked well for a while too. But then it came time for potty training, and the single, Jack-and- Jill bath between the master bedroom and the boys’ room became clearly insufficient. In addition, the added laundry loads required by two small children made the location of the washer and dryer—in the cottage in back, past outdoor space where, according to Emily, spiders particularly love to weave huge webs—less convenient as well. Determined to make the most of their adored home, the Kapes (with the help of a great contractor) reconsidered the entire layout. The house was essentially an elongated L-shape. By filling in the gap, they could transform it into a long rectangle, and all they would lose would be some “overgrown shrubs and one tree” that were taking up space in the backyard. What once were windows were transformed into doorways, decorative shelving, or walls, as needed for the design.

Kitchen shelf 11-16

The resulting renovation, which added about 200 square feet, totally altered the flow and design of the house, in ways that are so natural that it is hard to imagine it any other way. By undertaking the substantial construction and renovation, the Kapes also were able to adjust the roofline, such that from the outside, it would be hard to tell what is original and what is new. On the inside, what had been the master bedroom, in the front of the house, became the boys’ room. The original bath remained connected to that relatively large room, but the door to the other bedroom was walled in, and the result is a totally undetectable alteration.

Boys' room 11-16

The second bedroom then became the master, with a new closet (gained from an underused linen closet that had been attached to the Jack-and- Jill bath) and a passageway to the newly constructed, utterly beautiful, en suite bath. The long space tucks the shower into one corner, with a water closet into another. And then through a door, we find a separate room where the washer and dryer now sit.

Bath 11-16

The new bath also connects to what was once a back porch and now serves as Cory’s home office, when he isn’t on the road working for Warrior Sailing, a nonprofit that facilitates adaptive sports, particularly sailing, for wounded military members. Meanwhile, Emily explains why the art on the walls mostly consists of pictures by Parker and Owen. She’s surrounded by a wealth of art everyday, in her job as the curator of the massive collection maintained at the corporate headquarters for Raymond James—which soon will be featured in a new museum that Tom James plans to open on Central Avenue in 2017. Thus in this busy, bustling house today, the walls feature pictures of and by the kids, and the sidewalks are filled with chalk drawings. Furthermore, the boys have their bath, the parents have their bath, and the washer and dryer have an interior space, unmarred by any spider webs whatsoever. What could be better?

—Elisabeth Nevins
Photo credits: © Elisabeth Nevins

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