The Jenne Home
A historical home located in the scenic downtown area of Cleveland has received a facelift with loving attention to accurate detail. After generations of ownership by the same family, this stunning classic colonial went on the market in 2000, much to the joy of Nan and Michael Jenne.
Built in 1929, the symmetrical exteriors of this stately colonial feature Roman and Greek architectural elements like the columns and portico, which extend the full width of the front of the home.
While the home’s exquisite exteriors remain a testament to its true colonial architectural style, in 2013 the Jennes executed a major home renovation that took the interiors down to the studs. As Micheal explains, “We basically gutted the house, and as we went through the renovation process we just tried to keep everything as original and authentic as possible. We even used plaster walls again.”
Upon entering the original wooden front door, warm tones of yellow and red mingle with brass accents to create a vibrant welcome. The large Oriental rug is one of many from Nan and Michael’s collection. “We began collecting antique furniture, rugs, and art after we graduated from law school in 1995,” Nan says.
To the right of the foyer is the formal living room and adjoining “old library.” In these two rooms, the warm yellow shade is continued, and the fireplace surrounds have been freshened up.
The art in the living room showcases a few treasured pieces. “I really love the horse over the mantle,” Michael says. “You’ll notice several horse and cow paintings throughout the house, and that’s a bit of a nod toward Nan’s childhood. She grew up on a dairy farm in Riceville, Tennessee, and used to show cows as a young girl.”
With blues, reds, and browns woven throughout the substantial carpet in this room, the furniture takes its cue from these hues. Both a blue and red armchair balance one end of the room, while a red sofa and sumptuous brown leather armchair anchor the far side.
In the adjoining seating area, which Michael refers to as the “old library,” the fireplace surround was a special surprise. “We were actually taking down that fireplace to refinish it, and that is what was underneath. It’s a little out of the ordinary but original to the house, which is what we loved about it, so we left it,” Nan shares. Centered on this stained mantle is an antique clock, passed down to Michael from his great-grandfather. Nearby, a bronze statue of a female Native American was a gift to their daughter from Nan’s parents.
To the other side of the foyer is the formal dining room. Used often for more formal family get-togethers or to accommodate larger gatherings like their annual Christmas party, this room features several of the antique pieces that Michael and Nan have collected over the years. Two antique, marble-topped demi loons bear decorative wooden inlays of Grecian-style urns. Another large antique hand-knotted carpet features the traditional red tone with light touches of blues, golds, beiges, and greens, which are echoed in the buffalo-checked silk drapes. Finally, the elegance of this room is rounded out with the antique dining suite. A pedestal table trimmed in a lighter-toned wooden border is surrounded by eight antique chairs, complete with intricate carvings.
Before the remodel, the dining room connected to the kitchen via a butler’s pantry. However, the Jennes opted to eliminate the butler’s pantry to allow the kitchen more space to expand. “I really enjoy cooking, and we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So I just wanted something that was light and functional,” Nan says. The original 1920s cabinetry was dark wood, just like the floor and ceiling. Now the room feels fresh and light, with a natural traffic flow established around the highly functional island. With off-white cabinets that finish to the ceiling, traditional trim was an obvious choice, as was the beveled-edge granite countertop on the island. Show-front cabinets and a bright window above the prep sink all keep the space feeling unencumbered. A large brick fireplace adds a cozy intimate feeling to the space and cultivates the tone for the family room right off the kitchen.
The family room is also a sunroom and houses a large round dining table. “This is definitely where we spend the most time,” Michael says. Surrounded by windows and the woods beyond them, this room feels cozy and uplifting. Comfortable furniture in warm colors and updated patterns makes for a welcoming space. It is also multifunctional with both seating and eating areas open to each other. “A lot of times, when it’s just the family, this is where we eat dinner,” Michael confirms. The room’s proximity to the terrace and kitchen add to its favorable features.
Upstairs, the master bedroom and bathroom received the most dramatic makeover in the home besides the kitchen. Originally divided by a wall, the master bedroom had been two smaller rooms with little closet space. “We took the wall down, which reduced the amount of bedrooms but made it a much more functional space,” Nan explains.
In this room, much of the furniture, including the four-poster wheat bed, was given as wedding gifts by Michael and Nan’s parents. Photos of their children hang on the wall, while the re-covered brown chair and teal settee had belonged to Michael’s grandparents and now make handsome additions that match the luxurious Oriental carpet.
The master bathroom was created by enclosing a second story screened porch and extending this side of the house. The effort allowed room for two spacious marble vanities, a built-in soaking bathtub, and a walk-in steam shower. The floor, bathtub surround, and shower are all tiled in white marble, creating a clean, bright ambiance which partners well with natural light from the windows.
Behind the main house is what Michael and Nan refer to as the guest house. “This is one of our favorite spaces to entertain,” Michael shares. “We love to have friends over for football games. The kids can play pool or ping-pong together while the parents watch the game on the television. We also like to start dinner parties here with a cocktail hour and some visiting before walking up to the main house for dinner.” Complete with a full kitchen, living room, pool table, ping-pong table, three bedrooms, additional bathrooms, and a stunning wood-paneled wet bar, the guest house has everything one could need for hosting company.
“We love this home and have tried to stay very authentic in our remodel,” Nan says, while Michael adds, “We’ve also tried very hard to honor the original family who built it. We left their initials in the brick front porch and continued their tradition of hosting political gatherings for the town and Lee University.” Built as a family home, it has remained just that.