An updated 100-year-old Uptown house
A hundred and seven years ago, Kristen Metzger’s great-grandparents built a house just steps from Audubon Park. Through the years, her great-grandparents, grandparents and other relatives lived there, and Metzger herself, dreamed of one day owning the property. In 2013, the dream became a reality when the house was handed down to Metzger through her father’s succession.
Metzger, who has her own graphic design business (The Constance Creative) and often draws floor plans for realtors, soon designed a remodel for the home. She then consulted an architect, hired a contractor and found an interior designer. The plan was to respect the sentimental, family-rich history of the house, while making the space her own.
“This house has always been in my family,” she says. “I want to raise my kids here.”
Originally a two-plex with first and second floor units, then a tri-plex and later a two-plex again, the house had identical floor plans on the lower and upper floors. Metzger gutted the house to the studs and reconfigured some of the floor plan to turn it into a single-family residence with room to grow. Downstairs, she removed walls to create an open flow between the new kitchen, living and dining areas. Upstairs, she turned what had been the living and dining rooms into guest bedrooms and turned the space previously occupied by the kitchen into a large master closet. She left the façade the same, but added a porch and a balcony across the rear.
Left: A rustic dining table found online is paired with chairs picked up at a garage sale. Above the dining area, is an organic, hammered metal light fixture available through ND Studio.
Right: Kristen Metzger and her 9-year old rescue mix, Abbey.
Perusing Thumbtack, a website designed to match consumers with service providers, she found local designer Nadia Ramadan of ND Studio and the two clicked immediately. Ramadan was quick to get an accurate read of what Metzger likes and to deliver options that suited her client’s vision.
“My favorite part of working with Kristen is that she trusted me,” says Ramadan. “Oftentimes, I have to show clients many different furniture options for them to feel comfortable with their choice. With Kristen, it was easy. I knew what she would like before I even showed her.”
With her familial history always at the forefront of the project, Metzger wanted a transitional interior that pays homage to the past but also reflects her life and style. That meant bringing together old and new. Designer and client opted for timeless architectural features and surfaces, such as clerestory windows that mimic the homes original transoms, quartz and Carrera marble counters and original wood flooring. They also included several pieces of heirloom furniture, most notably, a 19th century sofa that belonged to Metzger’s grandmother. Ramadan, had the sofa’s dark wood frame stripped, painted and glazed, and replaced its worn, mauve upholstery. In the process, she and Metzger discovered that the sofa was carved with swans they hadn’t noticed.