In 2012, Stephanie Sinoway spent hours stripping ugly metallic wallpaper in the foyer and stairwell of her new home in Wynnewood. She then painted the area gray with white trim. It was arduous work for a woman who was eight months pregnant and had a toddler and two big dogs underfoot.
The task was only one of many she and her husband, Mike, undertook to refurbish and update the two-story, stone-and-stucco home, built in 1985.
“Every year we’ve had a project,” Mike said.
Early on, the Sinoways enclosed the back porch and replaced the tile in the foyer and the worn hardwood in the first-floor living areas with wide-planked oak floors.
Upstairs, carpeting was replaced with Luxury Vinyl Plank floors. Removing “a huge tub” in the main bath and installing a walk-in shower provided space on the second floor for a washer and dryer. The former laundry room on the first floor was converted into a pantry.
When the Sinoways bought the house, landscaping consisted of two bedraggled evergreens and ragged ground cover, Stephanie said. Now there is a sloping lawn, attractive shrubbery and flower beds she has planted with an increasing number of perennials. This past summer, she filled the second-floor window boxes with trailing greenery and purple blossoms.
A portable basketball hoop stands at the edge of the driveway. This is, after all, a family home.
Besides Stephanie, 41, and Mike, 40, and daughter Alex, 7, and son Max, 10, the household includes Dobie, who is part poodle and Doberman, and Chloe, a great Pyrenees. “We have always had two dogs,” Stephanie said.
The most recent arrival, a rabbit named Luna, resides in a hutch in the finished basement. When Alex and Max were younger, Stephanie converted a basement closet into a playhouse with a child-sized window and door. Alex still likes to spend time in the playhouse, with its walls decorated with framed family snapshots.
With pets and two energetic children, Stephanie said, “everything needs to be durable.”
A couch purchased from Joybird in the family room is covered in a sturdy gray fabric and has storage space underneath the cushions. The mustard ottoman from West Elm provides color, as does art throughout the house, including several impressionistic landscape watercolors by Stephanie’s grandfather, Jack Trompetter. She found the large multihued abstract for the family room at a farmers' market.
Since the start of the pandemic, all the home’s occupants have been together 24/7. The library on the first floor has been repurposed as the children’s remote learning schoolroom. Mike, an investment analyst, has a desk in the guest bedroom. The dogs romp in the backyard or sprawl in the mudroom.
Stephanie works in her bright new kitchen. She does marketing for Sally’s Baking Addiction, a cookbook publisher and an online resource for dessert lovers. When she and Mike remodeled the kitchen last year, Stephanie found a creative partner in Lauren Campuzano, a designer for New Market Builders in Philadelphia.
When they remodeled, Stephanie and Mike wanted a kitchen that wouldn’t become dated. The original kitchen had maple cabinets and a narrow island, and a wall separated it from the living room. To expand, it made sense to tear down the wall but that would have required demolishing a plumbing stack.
Campuzano retained the stack and hid it in a white column with trim matching the living room’s crown molding and the trim on the white kitchen cabinets. An oak structural beam divides the living room from the dining room and matches other ceiling beams and the oak-toned stove hood. A wide oak island is topped with white quartz.
Stephanie wanted a wide space to roll out dough and fondant and arrange multiple cooling racks. A drawer in the island holds her mixer, which can be raised to counter level with a flip of a switch.
When Stephanie is not busy on her laptop in the kitchen, she enjoys baking special cakes for friends, for a charity for at-risk children, and for her family. At son Max’s request, she baked a “Great Milky Way Cake” for his recent birthday.
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