Ocala, FL — Built in 1888, this Ocala, FL Queen Anne Revival-style home has seen several transformations since it was originally built as a residence for one of the city’s first mayors. Through them all, the home retained its historical significance and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jan Grosse, owner of Ocala Kitchen and Bath, Inc. maintained the three-story home’s impressive heritage during its most recent renovation, completed with project contributions by the firm’s crew, including Milt Grosse, co-owner of the business, and Brent Johnson. The project was done in collaboration with Sobieski Construction. Together they transformed the original structure from an antique store/coffee shop into her client’s insurance office, while the back porch addition and attached carport and garage area was turned into her and her husband’s personal residence that includes the kitchen, powder room and master suite with a walk-in closet.
While her clients appreciate the home’s storied past, they also enjoy the easy access it provides to the city’s thriving downtown given its location, less than a block off the square. “They are very involved in the community and they wanted to live close to our historic downtown,” she says, adding that her empty-nester clients were ready to downsize.
Melding design styles
During the renovation, Grosse retained the home’s original Victorian charm for the interior of the business area. Bedrooms were turned into individual offices that, although predominately Victorian, highlight a bit of each agent’s personality. Bathrooms were all reconfigured for accessibility and even an elevator was added, complete with a door that is indicative of the time period. And, because of the home’s placement on the National Registry, its exterior maintains a centuries-old appearance with its striking wrap-around porch and elegant Queen Anne woodwork. However, Grosse’s clients wanted to change up the design style for their residence by giving it a vintage industrial vibe.
“We used all of the characteristics of the design style, such as dark colors, concrete, metal, brick, wood and filament bulbs to give it that flavor of an old factory,” she says.
While both design styles are reminiscent of bygone eras, finding a balance between Victorian and industrial proved challenging. “One of my major concerns was creating the kitchen and blending it with the living area, without the kitchen looking like it didn’t belong, or that it was just thrown into the room,” she says, noting that the new kitchen was created from a portion of the porch, carport and garage while the living room was part of the existing original structure. “I needed to meld the two styles together, making each look like they belonged.”
To accomplish that goal, Grosse created a foundation based on custom cabinetry designed by Ocala Kitchen and Bath. It features European frameless construction with traditionally styled raised-panel doors and drawer fronts supplied by Conestoga Wood Specialties as well as Blum undermount, soft-close drawer guides and Salice soft-close concealed hinges.
An Ebony Black Heirloom distressed finish gives the cabinets an aged appeal that blends Victorian and industrial design styles and serves as a common denominator between the two. To tie the kitchen and adjacent living area together, Grosse used the same dark hue on the window trim and base moulding, all of which is original to the house, with some pieces being salvaged from other rooms during the remodel.
“The black color was a wonderful choice and is reminiscent of the rich, dark palette of the Victorian era,” says Grosse. “It also gives the cabinetry a furniture look to make the space cohesive.”
The designer accented the doors and drawers with antique silver spoons and forks that a local artist bent and curved, transforming them into unique, stylish hardware. “I love repurposing things,” she says. “These are actual pieces from the era of when the house was built. Each one is unique, yet similar. It was really fun to pull that element into the space.”
Grosse contrasted the elegant Victorian silverware-turned-hardware with an industrial vibe via her attachment choice.
“We could have used some pretty screws,” she explains. “Instead, we used regular screws that give the beautiful silver pieces a steampunk look with a bit of funk that adds character.”
Grosse also tied the two design styles together, literally and figuratively, with travertine flooring in the kitchen area, blending it with the original heart pine plank floor in the living space.
“There is so much texture on the floor, and so much raw quality,” she says. “The original floor is no longer pristine after having been walked on for more than 100 years. We couldn’t find anything that matched it, so we balanced it with travertine, which has such a beautiful texture that complements the wood without overpowering it.”
Additional industrial elements
Grosse furthered the industrial look of the kitchen by incorporating concrete countertops, a brick accent wall and metal shelf units and island accents.
Because of their size, particularly the island, the concrete tops were poured in place. Grosse stained them a rich gray with variations in color to give them interest and depth, and sealed them to enhance functionality.
The brick accent wall, which stretches the entire length of one wall, was created using reclaimed half brick from the Chicago Brick Co. Grosse also used the brick to sheath the original fireplace in the living space, which is open and visible from the kitchen, replacing its previous Victorian style with industrial appeal.
“Repeating the bricks in the living space helps tie the areas together,” she adds.
The final industrial element, the metal shelf units and island accents, is also one of the most formidable. Grosse designed the pieces, then had them fabricated by Art Metal Studios, a local metalsmith. The hand-forged aluminum is painted black, then ‘aged’ with a charcoal and pewter dry-brush technique to make it look like worn metal, Grosse explains, adding that traditional handmade blacksmith elements, such as the flared ends and clavos, are incorporated into the design by the master craftsmen.
“The shelf units became the main focus for the back wall which, when combined with the brick, is the focal point for the space,” she says.
Grosse chose to use metal for the entire shelf unit, including the shelves and brackets, to maintain continuity.
“We thought about doing wood shelves, but I knew my client would be incorporating some wood shelving units that she already had and we thought it would be too much of the same,” she notes. “Using metal lets the shelf units be a whole sculpture rather than something that is broken up. Also, there was already enough going on with the brick background.”
Grosse repeated the metal details throughout the space, adding them to the fireplace mantel as well as the island where she designed hand-forged strapping for the legs that match the shelves. She also selected the stools with metalwork details that complement the look.
To address storage concerns created with the open kitchen concept and elimination of wall cabinets, Grosse created a small pantry where her clients can store food staples and kitchen supplies. Basic black shelves tie it to the rest of the kitchen.
Grosse added several large utensil and pots/pans drawers in the cooking wall, which also includes a GE refrigerator, microwave oven and cooktop that is accented with a Zephyr ventilation hood and Delta Faucet pot filler. Roll-out shelves behind cabinet doors make oils, spices and mixing bowls quick to grab.
The oversized 90″x93″ island boasts a Schon stainless steel farmhouse sink, Delta faucet and GE dishwasher as well as a pull-out garbage drawer and cabinets in the seating area to store items used less frequently. Finally, the hand-forged shelves also offer open storage for items that are used every day. ▪