Empty-Nesters Choose Renovation Over Downsizing

Old is new again for a Wynnewood couple who didn’t flee their home after the children left, but remodeled it to fit their new lifestyle.

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The couple has lived in the house since moving to the Main Line from Boston in 1986. And after spending a summer in their new beach house in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, they decided to bring the same comfortable, relaxed feel to their primary residence. Ardmore architect Jeff Spoelker and New York City interior designer Rebecca Short had worked with the couple on their North Carolina house, and Paoli-based custom builder Stan Barry had renovated just about every room in the Wynnewood home over the past 15 years. All three were called upon for the latest project.

“When I finished what I thought was the last job in their house, I told them I wouldn’t be hearing from them unless one of the rooms burned down,” says Barry. “Then I got the call that they wanted to do this major renovation, ripping apart a lot of what I’d done.”

Work included gutting the existing three-car garage and transforming it into a combination kitchen-family room with a cathedral ceiling and doors leading out to a rehabbed pool and terrace. Updated plans also called for a windowed gallery pass-through leading to a new three-car garage, with a shared office above.

Filled with windows, the office area has two workstations separated by sliding barn doors, plus a full bathroom. Another room in the home used to be a place for watching TV. Now, it’s for working out.

“The great thing about this design is that the owners were able to decide what worked for them,” says Spoelker. “They didn’t want to exercise in the lower level of the home anymore, so why not rip down the paneling in a room they didn’t have much use for and make it an inviting spot with a flat-screen television, where they’d want to go to exercise? They made their own rules.”

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