From Blight to Bright

The before pictures of Roger and Darlene Rempfer’s Carnelian Bay lake­ view home couldn’t be more different than the after shots. Dark and dank, the home served alternately as office space and housing for the past 40 years, with a disorganized interior layout, a paved parking lot front yard and a litter-filled parcel across the street.
“It was one of those remodels where we just kept chasing things,” Roger says, referring to the ever-expanding nature of the project, which evolved from replacing all of the electrical and lighting to adding new plumbing to an eventual complete reorganization of the interior and an addition. The couple purchased the home in 2000 and finished the remodel and addition in 2008. The finished product is a bright, open home that accommodates one of the Rempfers’ favorite activities: entertaining.Roger, a retired oral surgeon who has been building custom homes and commercial properties since 1976, served as the general contractor on the project, enlisting the help of architect and engineer Elise Fett to achieve the end result.

“They wanted to live in the house while they did the remod­ el,” Fett says, ”because Roger is a very hands-on ownerI client. Together, Roger, Darlene and I worked for hours combining their visions and my ideas to design a home that perfectly fits their needs.”

A ramp leading to the home’s uncovered entrance was replaced with a stairway leading to a door protected by an awning. Once inside the foyer, a well-lit kitchen, dining room and a living area comprise a visitor’s first snapshot of the home. Vertical windows and doors to a front deck provide an open view out to The Lake from the dining room. Spotlight fixtures illuminate the main floor, as do eight operable sky­ lights that help ventilate the home during summer.

“I wanted to incorporate lake views into as much of the liv­ ing space as possible,” says Roger. “We put in skylights and enlarged the front windows to pull in more natural light. The targeted spotlights add a lot of depth and texture to the house, especially in the evening.”

Three bedrooms that had occupied the main floor were removed to create the open floor plan. The much-enlarged kitchen now sports a granite and marble counter, alder cabi­netry and slate floors.

Upstairs, the remodel includes redoing finishes in two exist­ ing bathrooms for the adjacent existing bedrooms and creating an office that opens to the space over the dining room and the lake view beyond. The addition is in the rear of the house and includes a three-car garage downstairs. The upstairs now has a master suite, laundry room and a large game room that includes a pool table for entertaining and family fun.

“We pushed the addition over to the back west comer of the property, so it wouldn’t infringe on the neighbors,” Fett says.

In the master bedroom, large windows afford a fantastic lake view. The master bath, with slate floors, includes a whirlpool tub and completely glassed-in shower, as well as decorative twig-shaped light fixtures. Here and throughout the existing structure, insulation has been added to exterior walls.

The garage doubles as yet another entertaining space, with a bam-style door that opens to a courtyard at the front of the home.

The front exterior of the home was pulled out two feet and an entry was added to the side of the home that is more invit­ ing, Fett says. It opens to a yard that was replanted after the old parking was ripped out of the space. Across the street, the Rempfers bought a triangle-shaped slice of property to pre­ serve their lake view and beautify the neighborhood.

With the new, maintained green space, and the various exterior improvements to the Rempfer home, the remodel benefited both themselves and the entire neighborhood, Fett says-a model transformation of an old Tahoe cabin.

Architect: Elise Fett, 
Builder: Meadville Design & Construction, 
interior: Roger & Darlene Rempfer, 
Landscaping: Greenscape, 
Square Feet: 3,700 ft
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