Here is how Acclaim Renovation & Design hit the mark for one Willoughby Hills couple

Kit Bef 120
Before Bruce and Connie M. of Willoughby Hills pulled the trigger on their renovation, their outdated space was dark and didn’t function the way they wanted it to.

By Patricia Nugent

When it comes to pulling the trigger on the home renovation of your dreams, there are always mental obstacles to overcome.

Over the past 45 years in the industry, Bob Gallese, owner of Acclaim Renovations & Design, has become a success by creating a culture that puts homeowners’ fears to rest. Here’s a list of what he feels are the top self-defeating oppositions to a renovation, and how Acclaim nips them in the bud:

“I don’t want unfamiliar people in my home.” Says Bob, “Our tradesmen are not rogue subcontractors like some companies use. I’ve known them all for decades and their workmanship and trustworthiness are impeccable.”

“I can’t afford it.” Acclaim uses several different financing companies that can put a renovation into a doable monthly payment.

“What if something goes wrong?” With its 24/7 portal Co-Construct, every aspect of the job is communicated. If you have a question, or can’t remember one of your selections, it’s all there.“Throughout the job process, I initiate lots of questions and then I listen,” says Bob. “We let the client build the budget and the final price. We never tell them what they should get or upsell them. The scope of our work is transparent on every job.”

A Stunning Open Floor Plan
As original owners of their 1985 Cape Cod bungalow, 60-something retirees Bruce and Connie M. of Willoughby Hills decided it was time for a first-floor renovation to create a wide-open space and to update their home’s rustic feeling with a new palette of colors and a few modern pieces for a transitional look.

“During the holidays, it seemed like people congregated in the dining room or family room, which were both walled off from the kitchen, while I stayed in there cooking,” says Connie. “I thought it was time I had some fun and joined them.”

After Bob Gallese and the team at Acclaim Renovations & Design stepped in to reimagine the space, a light, modern, functional design took hold. (Photography: Felicia Berger)

After sitting down with the couple, Bob came up with a plan to take down the wall between the family room and kitchen, and make the wall between the kitchen and dining room a half wall, creating a crescent-shaped breakfast bar on the other side.

“We installed a modern-looking, suspended stainless-steel range vent over the stove, which ties the design together,” says Bruce. “And we love the little bar with barstools where people hang out while we cook.”

From Dark and Dingy to Bright and Functional
“To update their space while still retaining its rustic character, we chose luxury vinyl plank flooring that mimics the look of reddish-brown reclaimed barnwood in wide planks, pale gray Shaker cabinetry, quartz counters in ivory and gray with understated flecks of gold, and classic white subway tiles for backsplash,” says Bob. “It went from dark and dingy to bright and functional. We also tore out soffits to take the cabinets all the way to the ceiling.”

Acclaim installed a modern-looking, suspended stainless-steel range vent over the stove, which ties the design together. (Photoraphy: Felicia Berger

The couple says Bob and his crew were “a dream to work with. They were conscientious of disturbing our living space as little as possible. They did everything they said they would, and then some.”

At one point, when a wall cabinet came in at 12-inches deep, Bruce and Connie decided they wanted it to be 15 inches. Although it was 12 inches in the original sketches, Bob said no problem and reworked the cabinet at no charge.

“Laying the flooring throughout the first floor, except for a front office, visually made the rooms feel bigger and more cohesive,” says Bob.

The couple reports this holiday was extra special for them, since they could now easily mingle with guests at their parties.

Acclaim Renovations & Design powered by One Man and a Hammer is located at 8550 East Avenue in Mentor. The company has been awarded Contractor of the Year by NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry). Call 440-974-8082 or visit to see more dramatic before and after photos of room makeovers.