When the owners of an 1880s beach house wanted to transition it to the here and now, they tapped into the expertise of the team at Acclaim Renovations & Design

Back Of House 623
AFTER: Acclaim Renovations & Design’s first order of design was to kick out the back of the house by 13 feet, providing a better point of view, and taking the home’s interior space more than 3,500 square feet.

By Patricia Nugent

For anyone who has ever dreamed about what it would be like to buy a house at the beach—and completely reimagine it down to the studs—let’s take a visit to this circa 1880s abode in the Walnut Beach neighborhood of Ashtabula.

With a lighthouse at the end of a point of rocks jutting into Lake Erie, visitors to enchanting Walnut Beach remark about its “peacefulness,” “glorious sunsets” and “a great place to find beach glass.” This is one of Lake Erie’s best-kept secrets. Since there’s very little erosion at this location, the pristine beach stretches far and wide.

For Mike Pirc, president of Acclaim Renovations & Design, this whole-house, interior and exterior renovation has taken over two-and-a-half years to complete, one of the longest and largest in his 30-plus-year career.


“The couple owns several homes across the country,” he says. “This beach house has been a very special project for them, a place to go unwind and let their grandchildren visit and play. Our biggest challenge was retaining the character and charm, while adding square footage, luxurious materials and custom features. The homeowner wanted to have an older home feel, so we kept the original frame, which was structurally sound but not plumb.”

In the kitchen, frosted glass transom windows create a unique effect and shed light on the Cambria countertops.

Rooms with a View
The first order of design was to kick out the back of the house by 13 feet, providing a better point of view, and taking the home’s interior space more than 3,500 square feet.

“We installed loads of sweeping windows across the sides and back of the house, opening up gorgeous lake views from almost every room,” he says. “Windows also play a pivotal role as focal points in the kitchen. We installed frosted glass transom windows within the backsplash space, which creates a unique effect and sheds light on the stunning Cambria countertops.”

Though they stayed true to a feeling of Old-World charm, sleek, modern elements were introduced, such as the linear black iron rails along the staircase leading to the second-story den and board-and-batten walls in deep sea blue.

A new but rustic looking white stone fireplace.

Old Meets New
“The concept of the rustic white stone fireplace was for it to look as if it had been there over the past century,” says Mike. “Adding a modern black linear gas firebox with river stones provided a nice contemporary flair. It fits the long shape of the room and also sets a nice balance point against its floor-to-ceiling vertical windows.”

White shiplap walls and ceiling beams on the first floor are also new but look like they belong there.

“Every element is thoughtfully considered with authenticity in mind,” he says. “The homeowner was looking for the perfect mix of very high-end materials that were beautiful as well as ultra-durable and functional for the grandkids. For instance, the 7-foot doors are solid oak with a natural finish. And the homeowner did her own work whitewashing the solid oak ceiling beams.”

On the exterior, they followed the original home’s design, trading old yellow aluminum siding for gorgeous, rough-hewn stonework and black trimmed windows juxtaposed with modern black sconce lights.

“It may have taken a long time, with many snowballing developments along the way, but the end result of this whole-house renovation is simply spectacular,” adds Mike.

Throughout the project, the crews at Acclaim worked with Joseph Myers Architects for design and Store with Style to build all the custom cabinetry.

Acclaim Renovations & Design is located at 8550 East Avenue in Mentor. The design-build firm has won numerous industry awards. Call 440-974-8082 or visit AcclaimReno.com.