Carmel Tri Level Remodel and Exterior Renovation

arts and crafts kitchen remodel carmel indiana after 1

existing front entryThe words “tri-level floor plan” and “Arts & Crafts Bungalow” don’t logically belong in the same sentence.

Nonetheless, Mike and Deb Grisham wanted their typical 70’s split-level home in Westfield to be completely renovated to take on the feel of an Arts & Crafts “bungalow style” home.

This distinctive styling inspired nostalgia in the couple — Mike was raised in an Arts & Crafts bungalow while growing up in the Broad Ripple area.

“This was a tall order considering the existing plan layout and the location on the lot,” said Phil Gettum, owner of Gettum Associates Inc, an award-winning design/build remodeling company. The home is situated on a small lake, practically surrounded by beautiful water views that weren’t being taken advantage of. “It was as if the home was turning a cold shoulder to its most obvious asset:“ the lake,” said Gettum.

arts-and-crafts-front-porch-addition-carmel-indianaSo, a number of expansive new casement windows were positioned to open the home up to its glorious water views. The other highly visible feature in the renovation is the front elevation, where Gettum designed a stunning new entrance.

“Since the garage sort of stuck out beyond the front of the house, we wanted to pull the entry wall forward,” said Grisham. “By adding the porch, stairs, sidewalk, and parking area, it makes it clear where to enter the house. Before, it wasn’t very welcoming since it was hard to figure out how to get in.”

The front entrance “was way up in the air from grade,” confirms Gettum. The solution was to bring the feel of the front door closer to the ground.

This was accomplished by an ingenious combination of gentle cascading stairs and landings. Says Grisham,

“I didn’t want eight steps marching straight up to the porch. So, we did a few steps, a small landing, and then a few more steps.”

A large, overhanging front porch complete with gorgeous tapered wood columns is faithful to the Arts & Craft motif. The wood chosen for the front deck is a super-hard Brazilian hardwood called Ipe`.

An inviting porch swing, a couple of rocking chairs, hanging ferns, and a craftsman-style mahogany entrance-door system beckon visitors as well as passersby.

“We went online and found period-specific lighting that we used for both interior and exterior. The fixtures are copper,” says Grisham. The addition of gable and window trim completes the exterior allusion. “We are delighted to be getting a lot more light in the rooms on the main level, plus, with the open floor plan, the flow is much better for entertaining. The space is much more open and inviting.”

Moving indoors, the old interior was a typical “chopped up 70s-style foyer, kitchen, dining room, and living room,” as Gettum vividly recalls. Virtually everything was gutted on the main floor, the rooms reconfigured to share one visual space. Arts & Crafts-style plaster arches were added over doorways, and more of those distinctive tapered columns were used to separate dining room, living room, kitchen, and foyer. The new kitchen cabinetry was redone to feature flat recessed cherry cabinets with “Cambria” quartz countertops.

The result is a stunningly beautiful, livable home that bears almost no resemblance to its former self.

Who knew an Arts & Crafts design can actually live inside a 70’s tri-level? Well, MAME knew. They named the Gettum-designed home the winner of its annual BAGI-sponsored MAME award for excellence in renovation.

“We’re a one-stop shop,” notes Gettum. “Since we include design in what we offer homeowners, as well as supporting all construction phases in our work, there’s no finger-pointing.” As a result, Gettum continues, “We take responsibility for all aspects of the renovation project.”

The bottom line is that the homeowner couldn’t have replicated this house on this lot as new construction for the money they’ve spent on renovation. “That’s why,” says Gettum, “remodeling makes the most sense financially.”

“I had thought of what I wanted for months before Phil came along,” says Grisham. “I knew I’d found the right company when after going through the design process, they listened to what we wanted, and created a design that was exactly what we were looking for.”Overall, “It was a great experience.”

box-window-after-3See more pictures of this remodel project:

Are You Ready to Find Out What is Possible for YOUR Home?

If you’re an Indianapolis-area homeowner and want to plan your exterior home remodeling project, get in touch with Gettum Associates, Inc. for a Design Consultation by calling 1-317-888-5681, or sending an email to


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