Home of the Month | Sept-Oct 2017

Home of the Month, September/October 2017
800 24th Ave. N.

All the Changes, Great and Small
To transform the house on the corner of 8th Street and 24th Avenue so that it felt like their own, Charki and Doug Shafer have undertaken a wide variety of projects in the past  two years, both massive in their scope and specific in their detail. When they moved here
from Illinois, after retiring in 2015, they knew the layout and structure of the approximately 1929 home was quirky and unique.

Front of House 9-17


Their goal was to find ways to make it unique to their style and tastes as well, leveraging Charki’s eye for style and color and Doug’s impressive woodworking skills throughout every room of the house. Start in the front room, for example. When they arrived, the house featured a lot of dark colors and sconces, reflecting a period-specific preference that did not match their own. Using approximately three coats of paint to cover the dark shades, the Schafers lightened the color scheme and gave the room a bright, beach-like feel.Front Room 9-17

Charki even applied a faux finish to the dark red bricks around the fireplace,though until you get right up on them, it’s virtually impossible to tell that the finish isfake, not just a light-colored brick. The boat-themed décor and artwork also tell the taleof their boating interests; as a competitive sailboat racer, Doug and his team even have won “The Mac,” the famous (at least to Midwesterners) 333-mile race from Chicago to
Mackinac Island. The dining room similarly features a light, bright color scheme, as well as a mantelpiece that the Schafers added for visual interest. Again, it’s easy to mistake it for a real fireplace, but the mantel has been in the family for years, serving different functions as needed, including as a headboard for their daughter’s bed for a time.

Mantel 9-17

At the back, the doors to the backyard let in plenty of light, illuminating along with the chandelier they added to the room. Once more, in the kitchen, the color scheme is totally new, as are the open shelves. In this room, the Schafers tore down cabinets on one side and replaced them with the shelves, which Doug built himself to be sure they would be secure enough to hold the family’s dishware.

Kitchen 9-17

In line with their preferences, they also switched out the old stove for a gas-fed version and installed a big, bright white sink that opens the galley space. A vintage United Airlines sign tucked into the kitchen also hints at their pre-retirement careers, when both of them worked for the airline. At some point, they are considering cutting the wall between the dining room and kitchen, which would increase the light and flow even more. The rest of the downstairs features two bedrooms and a bath–likely the extent of the living space for the home when it was first built. But at some point, a previous owner took the full-house attic upstairs and converted it into the master bedroom. Thus, up aflight of stairs (which the Schafers painted by alternating the riser colors, using the various colors that make up their color scheme throughout the rest of the house), there lies a huge space, dedicated to their living quarters. The big bedroom is, of course, bright and open, leading on to a large bathroom that features a clawfoot tub, water closet with built-in shelving, and shower.

Bedroom 9-17

When Doug and Charki moved in, the bath also featured a small closet off to the side, in which was cut a small space, through which they might crawl. So crawl they did, adventuring through the little hole to find out what was on the other side. What they found was an extended attic space that ran along the entire length of the room, sitting unused under the eaves. By opening that space and building a new separating wall, they were able to create two totally new spaces. First, the new laundry room sits off the bath, with plenty of room for both the machines and a few pieces of convenient furniture.

Laundry 9-17

Second, on the other side, Charki designed a dream closet for herself, and they cut the door into the bedroom so that it was easily accessible. Doug kept the old closet, which sits on the opposite wall. Also along that wall is an office alcove, stocked with equipment and furniture that Doug built years ago. In each of these spaces, the slanted ceilings seemingly would offer a challenge, but the well-designed furniture and layout that the Schafers have installed make them highly functional. As the neighbor who nominated the Schafers to be the Home of the Month noted, all these projects were ones that, for the most part, Charki and Doug did themselves. But when it came to the big outdoor projects, they decided to call in some experts. Doug explains that he planned to paint the exterior himself, but after a 20-minute attempt to scrape paint in the Florida heat, he decided that perhaps hiring someone would be a better use of his time. They also express their strong satisfaction with Bluefield Painters, which transformed the previously yellow house to a deep and beautiful blue. Part of the challenge Doug faced in painting the exterior arose because it was taking place at the same time that Landmark Pools (another service provider the Schafers recommend) was digging and laying their pool. The backyard previously had featured a lush koi pond, which Charki admits was lovely and tropic, inhabited by a happy turtle. But every time they came back from a bike ride or finished an outdoor project, they found themselves inordinately jealous of the turtle and its enjoyment of the cool water in the pond. That seemed unfair, so they found a new home for the turtle (who is now named George and happily swimming in an even larger koi pond nearby) and built themselves a human “watering hole.” The lovely design of the pool fits the space in the back perfectly, and Charki notes that they are in it nearly everyday.

Pool 9-17

And thus, through hours of effort and a dedication to using their extensive skills, honed over the years by their enjoyment in undertaking projects to make all their homes reflections of themselves, Doug and Charki have made the latest iteration of this house their own.

–Elisabeth Nevins
Photo credits: © Elisabeth Nevins

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