Their Home Renovation Was Almost Complete. All That Was Missing Was a Turret. | Kanebridge News
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Their Home Renovation Was Almost Complete. All That Was Missing Was a Turret.

The circular tower in Louisville, Ky., capped off an update that was long overdue

By VAISHNAVI NAYEL TALAWADEKAR
Thu, Jan 5, 2023 8:37amGrey Clock 3 min

On a leafy lane in Audubon Park, in Louisville, Ky., sits a house that looks like it could have once belonged to Rapunzel. With a fairy-tale turret and Dutch Colonial Revival architecture, the home stands apart from its neighbors. But when Heather and Stefan Rumancik, both 43, purchased the 1930s home in 2009 for $225,000, it was a far cry from its present-day version.

“We bought the house from its second owners, who had owned it since the 1940s, but the home itself hadn’t been updated in 30 years,” says Mrs. Rumancik, a competitive intelligence executive at a pharmaceutical company, who shares the home with Mr. Rumancik and their daughter, Adrienne.

Although the Rumanciks renovated the original 3,025-square-foot home in parts over the years, the turret remained an unfulfilled wish for Mrs. Rumancik until 2020, when Mr. Rumancik, a builder and general contractor, was forced to pause his business due to the pandemic.

“Our ongoing projects were halted by clients, so it was an ideal time to pivot to working on something that had been kept on the back burner for far too long,” says Mr. Rumancik, adding that the turret addition was appealing both for its aesthetic value and because it challenged him to try something new. For Mrs. Rumancik, the turret was a great way to expand the home’s footprint: She and Mr. Rumancik agreed on having a banquette on the first floor, the primary bathroom shower on the second, and a cocktail tasting room in the basement. They set a budget of $350,000 for the three-story addition.

To help with the architecture of the addition, Mr. Rumancik tapped friend and longtime collaborator, architect Mark Foxworth of Foxworth Architecture, for $35,000. Together, the two sheathed the turret in the same materials as the rest of the house: cedar shakes and Kentucky limestone, the latter removed and repurposed from the home’s exterior. “We made it special by capping it with a copper finial,” says Mr. Rumancik. “I think what’s unique is that you can’t see the turret or the addition from the street. It’s at the back, so the original architecture is really unchanged.” To minimise the extension’s energy consumption, Mr. Foxworth specified insulated concrete forms and high-performance glazing on the windows.

For the interior design of the addition, including the turret and the surrounding spaces, the Rumanciks enlisted Bethany Adams, founder and principal of her eponymous Louisville-based interior design studio, who had previously engaged Mr. Rumancik and his company, Designer Builders Inc., to help renovate her 1897 Victorian home. They agreed on a fee of $35,000, excluding material costs. “We told Ms. Adams to take our ideas and make them better,” says Mrs. Rumancik.

“She proposed layout ideas that we hadn’t thought of, and also simplified some of the structural changes I thought we’d need, which ended up saving us quite a lot of money,” Mr. Rumancik says.

It was important for the Rumanciks that the home’s heritage be honoured. “Audubon Park was developed at the height of the Arts and Crafts movement when there was a true appreciation for the beauty of natural materials,” says Ms. Adams, who introduced a lot of walnut wood, stone, and decorative glass to pay homage to the craftsmanship of that period. To optimise the flow between the addition and the main house, she designed a large vestibule with arched openings leading into the various spokes: namely, the mudroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the hallway.

Additionally, Ms. Adams mirrored the turret architecture in the main home by using curved handles in the bathroom and powder room. “I also used circular mirrors and light fixtures, and there’s a circular motif on the marble bathroom floor too. It’s a subtle reminder of the geometry of the addition,” she says. In the same vein, the original foyer and hallway were painted the same colour as the new kitchen and mudroom. For the floor, Mr. Rumancik installed white oak planks that perfectly matched the rest of the house.

In the kitchen, the turret was built to accommodate a banquette. Mr. Rumancik made the breakfast table himself as a Christmas gift for his wife using walnut wood from his father’s farm in Danville, Ky., and leftover quartzite from the kitchen counters. Ms. Adams arranged for custom navy blue cabinetry, a walnut island, and a bar top, which collectively cost $58,000. She also upholstered the banquette in the same chartreuse fabric as the West Elm bar stools, which cost $500 apiece. The banquette cost a total of $10,000.

For Mr. Rumancik, the tiling of the circular shower walls was an exercise in both mathematical proficiency and patience. “Even though the shower tile came on a mesh backing, many pieces had to be cut and placed individually in order to follow the curve of the walls and afford uniform grout joints. We spent four weeks tiling that shower,” he says.

All in all, the Rumanciks say the 2021 renovation—completed just before the holidays to the tune of $425,000—was compensation for a year gone awry. “Despite the challenges of the previous year, it was quite possibly the best Christmas of all,” says Mrs. Rumancik.



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RBA Governor explains the rate rises we had to have

Philip Lowe’s comments come amid property industry concerns about pressures on mortgage holders and rising rents

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Wed, Jun 7, 2023 2 min

Leaders in Australia’s property industry are calling on the RBA to hit the pause button on further interest rate rises following yesterday’s announcement to raise the cash rate to 4.1 percent.

CEO of the REINSW, Tim McKibbin, said it was time to let the 12 interest rate rises since May last year take effect.

“The REINSW would like to see the RBA hit pause and allow the 12 rate rises to date work their way through the economy. Property prices have rebounded because of supply and demand. I think that will continue with the rate rise,” said Mr McKibbin.  

The Real Estate Institute of Australia  today released its Housing Affordability Report for the March 2023 quarter which showed that in NSW, the proportion of family income required to meet the average loan repayments has risen to 55 percent, up from 44.5 percent a year ago.

Chief economist at Ray White, Nerida Conisbee, said while this latest increase would probably not push Australia into a recession, it had major implications for the housing market and the needs of ordinary Australians.

“As more countries head into recession, at this point, it does look like the RBA’s “narrow path” will get us through while taming inflation,” she said. 

“In the meantime however, it is creating a headache for renters, buyers and new housing supply that is going to take many years to resolve. 

“And every interest rate rise is extending that pain.”

In a speech to guests at Morgan Stanley’s Australia Summit released today, Governor Philip Lowe addressed the RBA board’s ‘narrow path’ approach, navigating continued economic growth while pushing inflation from its current level of 6.8 percent down to a more acceptable level of 2 to 3 percent.

“It is still possible to navigate this path and our ambition is to do so,” Mr Lowe said. “But it is a narrow path and likely to be a bumpy one, with risks on both sides.”

However, he said the alternative is persistent high inflation, which would do the national economy more damage in the longer term.

“If inflation stays high for too long, it will become ingrained in people’s expectations and high inflation will then be self-perpetuating,” he said. “As the historical experiences shows, the inevitable result of this would be even higher interest rates and, at some point, a larger increase in unemployment to get rid of the ingrained inflation. 

“The Board’s priority is to do what it can to avoid this.”

While acknowledging that another rate rise would adversely affect many households, Mr Lowe said it was unavoidable if inflation was to be tamed.

“It is certainly true that if the Board had not lifted interest rates as it has done, some households would have avoided, for a short period, the financial pressures that come with higher mortgage rates,” he said. 

“But this short-term gain would have been at a much higher medium-term cost. If we had not tightened monetary policy, the cost of living would be higher for longer. This would hurt all Australians and the functioning of our economy and would ultimately require even higher interest rates to bring inflation back down. 

“So, as difficult as it is, the rise in interest rates is necessary to bring inflation back to target in a reasonable timeframe.”

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