Olivia Wenger’s eye for photography is undeniable. Her use of natural light in her portrait and wedding photos is magical – beautifully capturing the moment and its essence. There are some correlations between home design and photography – they both take a special eye, an attention to detail, and a knack for proportion and framing. Which is why we weren’t surprised to see Olivia’s creative eye work wonders in the remodel of her once outdated 1960’s Cleveland, Ohio home. With the help of her building and design team at Weaver Custom Homes, she transformed segmented rooms adorned with retro floor-to-ceiling mirrors into a light-filled minimalistic meets mid-century home with an open floor plan perfect for both entertaining and the occasional photo shoot. See the transformation unfold as Olivia gives us all the details about her redesign including before pictures that are almost unrecognizable.
Cadiz Orbit Lights by West Elm | Wall paint: Delicate White by Sherwin Williams
“What an exciting and stressful process a remodel can be, but at the end of it there is nothing like seeing your vision come to life! As I began looking for a home, I remember walking into this house and having a sense of peace – yes, this was home. I think one of my favorite things about this remodel was watching the story of this house unfold as we began taking it back to its bones. Behind the floor-to-ceiling mirrors were layers and layers of some crazy retro wallpaper. Each layer spoke of a different time and a different era the house had stood through, and you could imagine the stories it could tell. I love to think that now it is here, recording yet another era, another human’s journey, and so many more stories!”
What were your wants and needs for this remodel?
“I had 3 things that were extremely important to me. An abundance of natural light was my number one must-have when redesigning the space. As a photographer, I have a lot of appreciation for natural light and I knew I would be using this space for shoots when possible.
“The second thing that was a must-have in the redesign was an open concept floor plan. I didn’t just want a beautiful design, I wanted my home to be one for hosting. For as long as I can remember, every family gathering went the same. The kids were sent off to one area to play, a group of people gathered around the nearest TV with a sports game playing, and another group gathered in the kitchen preparing whatever meal we were about to eat. Although our purpose was to be together, we always seemed to be separated by the confines of the room we were in. In the design for my remodel I wanted to make everything very much together, allowing us to truly be together while gathered.
“Third, I wanted function and affordability, but not at the expense of great design. One thing I love about mid-century modern design is it pairs comfortable pieces with biomorphic forms, which creates some truly beautiful art and design throughout a home.”
As you can see from the before pictures, the outdated etched glass was taken out of the stair railing creating a more modern look.
Blue velvet Sven Sofa and Diamond Cascadia Blue Ottoman by Article.
Salerno 1-Light Foyer Pendant by Westman Lights from AllModern | Felix Black Counter Stools from Crate & Barrel | Custom Island designed by Riceland Cabinet & Olivia
We really love your kitchen island – it’s so unique! Can you tell us a little more about it?
“I originally had my heart set on a waterfall countertop, but I quickly realized it wasn’t in my budget. I began looking for alternatives that would be budget-friendly while still fitting with the style of my kitchen. I loved the idea of bringing in the open shelf concept and felt like by adding in the natural maple stain you see on the floating shelves, it would break up all the white and bringing the color and concept of my kitchen full circle. “
Backsplash by American Olean unglazed in Ice White 2″ hexagon with Delores Gray grout.
Wall paint color: Fog by Sherwin Williams.
What is your favorite design element in your home?
“My favorite design element in the house is the kitchen drawers and floating shelves. One thing I did that is a little different is I have almost all drawers, no cabinets. I wanted to achieve a very graphic look in my kitchen with clean, geometric lines. I felt like the horizontal lines the drawers created achieved this perfectly. I also decided to forgo upper cabinets and do floating shelves to create an open and airy feel through the space. They are also a great way to display spices and unique dishes in a clean way.”
Entertainment center wall unit from IKEA | Andes Sofa from West Elm
Are there any tips you could give our readers who want to undergo a remodel?
“One piece of advice I would give anyone looking to do a remodel is to find a contractor and design team to work with that understands your needs in your home remodel and is willing to help you achieve that through quality work. I worked with Weaver Custom Homes out of Wooster, Ohio through the entire process and now, looking back, I couldn’t have done it without them. They have a fantastic design team that walked me through all the selections I needed to make (things I never even thought about) and helped me stay true to the things I wanted and needed out of the remodel.”