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A Simple, Sane, Sensible Remodel



The Proctors knocked out a wall to make room for a kitchen island.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

When it came to the renovation of their 1948 ranch-style home in Broadview, Lara and Jesse Proctor kept in mind the words of English designer and writer William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” The spacious house had been in the family for decades, originally belonging to Jesse’s grandparents, but was in need of updates. The philosophy of simplicity has become even more necessary as they await the arrival of their baby boy.

Lara, an independent interior designer, and Jesse, a studio musician and composer, moved into the ranch-style home during the renovation process. They fell in love with  the red oak wood floors, mahogany built-ins, and fireplaces, but were eager to remove a lot of the structural clutter. They did most of the demolition themselves: knocking down walls, tearing out cabinets, ripping off wall boards, pulling up linoleum and carpet, chipping out tile, and completely gutting the kitchen and bathrooms. From light fixtures and switches to windows and doors, the Proctors got busy transforming their home. 

Lara says the kitchen was the greatest transformation. They knocked out a wall to make room for a new island, and finished the room with grayscale concrete countertops, a limestone backsplash, and natural wood accents. They focused on the windows by refraining from using overhead cabinets, in order to highlight the view of the forested backyard.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

Rather than having a separate nursery, the baby will sleep in their master bedroom.

With a baby on the way, the Proctors are making room for future housemates and guests. Rather than having a separate nursery, the baby will sleep in their large master bedroom. The couple originally shared their house with a housemate, and plan to do so again, once they’ve had some time to adapt to parenthood. 

“We wanted the opportunity for privacy and family time in the first few months, with this being our first,” says Lara. 

The house lends itself to an ideal housemate situation, with bedrooms and bathrooms at separate ends and a spacious floor plan. “Having a housemate makes you more conscious of your actions,” Lara says. “We feel more inclined to clean messes quickly and keep tidy.” Plus, the financial contribution has helped make the economic transition from an apartment to a house much more manageable. 

Keeping the original character and charm of what has always been known as the “Ridgehouse” was key in the Proctors’ renovation — retaining the “bones” of the original home — but they’ve loved putting their personal touches on the house. It’s been a special project for Lara and Jesse to keep the home in the family, while achieving a space they can grow into without compromising on style or function.

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