The project started with a love story: two people coming together under one roof after 40 years of courtship. Eva, who emigrated from Hungary, rooted herself on the far west side of Cleveland, Ohio, back in 1972. Eva’s only family in the States is her daughter Sydney, who currently lives in Washington, D.C.
Eugene, who is a retired electrical engineer, was born and raised on the far east side of Cleveland. He met Eva at work; her grinding machine broke and Eugene fixed it—and, it turned out, he spoke Hungarian. For the next 43 years, he’d drive an hour each way to visit his friend Eva. After 43 years, following a southward shift of the North Polar Vortex, the two agreed they should live closer. Together, even. Daughter Syd called our firm, Clemens Pantuso Architecture, to design an addition for Eugene’s 800-square-foot house. The goal was to made necessary changes, but not to change so much that it would disrupt Eugene’s comfort.
The old, 7′ 6″-wide kitchen became the mudroom, and the new kitchen went into the original bedroom. We removed two walls to shorten the long corridor, borrow light, and create a dining room open to the kitchen and family room. The new entry has a much-needed overhang to protect against northeast Ohio’s extreme weather. The addition comprises two bedrooms, a master bath, and plenty of closet space. The new, steeper roof is a nod to Tudor style; it solves the ice-dam issues, and raised the ceiling over new spaces. Large windows capture views of the wooded lot.
We all enjoyed working on this transformation, brought about by a beautiful love story. Everyone had a voice and played an active role in the design. We often started with opposing viewpoints, but with respect the right solutions were found. The fast-growing rose garden is a perfect symbol of the relationship and the project.