Contemporary style meets midcentury (and older) finishes in Northland getaway
By Andrea Darr Special to Ink Photos by Roy Inman Special to Ink
Lauren and Mike DuCharme work long hours, so when they arrive home, they want to relax. Fortunately, their newly remodeled home in Parkville is a peaceful, calming environment for doing just that. But it certainly didn’t start out that way.
The DuCharmes purchased the property in foreclosure, and they had more than cosmetic fixes on their hands. In addition to unloading furniture, boxes of stuff and construction debris into six dumpsters, the couple say, they had to evict raccoons, bats, woodpeckers and squirrels living inside the house.
Lauren, an architect at Travois and her own firm, Framework Design, and Mike, the VP of talent and promotions for AEG Midwest, both work tremendous hours yet still tackled much of the remodeling decision-making and labor themselves.
The newlyweds’ biggest move was to invite their out-of-town contractor to live with them in the spider-filled basement for three months — during their first year of marriage! — to keep progress in the works 12 to 16 hours a day.
They designed as they went and kept to a strict budget, splurging strategically — the gray bamboo floors — and saving in others — simply painting rather than overhauling the ugly red brick fireplace.
The DuCharmes made up their own name for their personal style: modern woodsman.
“We’re both more contemporary, in general, but we like old pieces too,” Lauren says.
Her dad, an antiques dealer, passed along a number of interesting vintage items, from midcentury to the 17th century, including a chopping block and a dress-pattern cabinet.
As an architect with craftsman skills, Lauren wanted to be hands-on with everything, although Mike proved to be the voice of balance: “Maybe we can get out of our overalls for a couple of days and just go out to dinner.”
Lauren will never give up enhancing the house through painting or rebuilding projects, but she’s content with the level of “doneness” for now.
The experience has been exhausting for them both but well worth it.
“It feels like we’re living in a vacation home,” Lauren says. “You don’t hear anything or see anything. We really like being here.”
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