See the 1950s Home a Married Interior Design Couple Completely Renovated

The Shaker Heights house was 'a bit of an odd duck' before they got to work

The primary bathroom of the Shaker Heights Home of Molly & Fritz features a Japanese soaking tub

Woodland Design Company

Is there anything better than a virtual home tour? Designer Dream Homes is a series featuring the living spaces of our favorite interior designers and home decor influencers, where they give us the full lowdown on how they live. It’s all the things we love about browsing virtual real estate listings, with the added benefit of hearing exactly what it is that makes these dream homes so special. 

Owner

Molly and Fritz Machmer-Wessels

Woodland Design Company

Molly and Fritz Machmer-Wessels, co-owners and designers at Woodland Design Company.  

Location

Shaker Heights, Ohio

“Shaker Heights is a beautiful city comprised of mostly historical homes,” said Molly. “It's a place where every house is special and different, yet collectively they all fit. While the rest of our neighborhood is filled with homes from the early 1920's, our home was built in the mid-50's.”

Molly and Fritz call their current home #ProjectUs, after they spotted it while househunting from their former home in the same neighborhood. “[We] had a strong desire for something more modern in the same neighborhood. This is very difficult to find, but six doors down was a bit of an odd duck, some details midcentury, some colonial, it was a sad little thing. The obsession was born. It was my mission to obtain and transform this home.”

As of now, mission: accomplished. We have touched all the spaces in this house, from the exterior to the basement, and added an addition,” said Molly. “We feel really good here and now… but being owners of a  design+build firm means it's always possible one or more of us will want to change something!”

The Style

The living room in Molly & Fritz's Shaker Heights home

Woodland Design Company

Molly describes her design aesthetic as “organic, soft and modern. I love using neutrals, layering textures, bringing in some antique collected pieces, and employing heritage materials like marble, brass, and mixing those in with new concepts.”

A bathroom in the Shaker Heights home of Molly and Fritz features graphic wall treatment, a rectangular marble sink, black hardware, and brass lighting

Woodland Design Company

It’s Molly’s sense of style that made her confident she could tackle this project and turn this home into something beautiful. “I was most attracted to our home because it was full of the ‘what ifs.’ It had the potential to be beautiful, but that beauty had never been unearthed. I think almost everyone thought we were crazy. We were selling a beautiful historical home for a 50's mishmosh. It was a challenge, but ultimately it was really inspiring for me.”

Space for Everything

A dressing area in the Shaker Heights home of Molly & Fritz

Woodland Design Company

At 3,500 sq ft., the home is “a mishmosh of mid-century and 1950's colonial.” But it also has “everything we need and nothing more,” said Molly. “Our previous home was 1,500 sq ft. larger than our current home, but the spaces [here] are much more tailored to our life. We planned each space so it's just what we need and functional for the way we live. It makes our lives easier and more manageable. Purposefully designed spaces are more than just beautiful, they can truly impact your everyday life.”

A Thoughtfully Planned Outdoor Space

Having a purposefully designed space was a must, inside and out. In particular, Molly and Fritz were passionate about creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living.

“The back of our house on the first floor is all glass windows, and I knew a large cedar deck across the back was going to create that smooth transition to the exterior,” explained Molly. “The backyard space is limited and we wanted a lot out of the space.”

The backyard of Molly and Fritz features a pool, a cedar patio and a grassy area

Woodland Design Company

In order to maximize its use, Molly said they created “three outdoor rooms that all felt intimate but could also work during a larger gathering. The deck is the first transition from inside to outside, the perfect landing spot for dining, and a small lounge seating area for cocktails. A set of wide steps flow down to a cut "old" sandstone patio created with recycled sandstone sidewalk blocks, and an inground cocktail pool.”

The backyard of Molly & Fritz features a pool-hottub hybrid

Woodland Design Company

Given their location in Ohio, Molly said that while a pool was something they wanted, they weren’t prepared to sacrifice the entire yard.  Instead, they “built a pool that is a hybrid pool and hot tub. We keep it warm for summer and hot all winter, allowing us the ability to go outside and swim in 101-degree water in the winter, which is pretty much the best thing we ever did!” 

“After the pool is another stone patio space with lounge sofas that surround a stucco wall with a gas fireplace. It's cozy, and the last stop if you will… s'mores after a long day of swimming!”

The Floors

The dining area of Molly & Fritz's Shaker Heights home

Woodland Design Company

“The flooring throughout the home is wide plank white oak wood with a matte finish. I really wanted light floors, I need to come home to that light airy feel and the floors help accomplish that. We live in a place that has a long stretch of not-so-beautiful weather so it was important for our house to help transport us into something a little lighter and brighter.”

The Kitchen

The white kitchen in the Shaker Heights home of Molly & Fritz features a marble waterfall island, black hardware, and windows on either side of the range

Woodland Design Company

Function design is one of Molly’s main focuses both at home and in her work, and their kitchen is no exception “[It] was methodically designed around how we live and use the space. How we cook, how the kids snack and how we entertain.”

“The sink is in the island so I always feel in the mix and part of the conversation. With a pair of windows on each side of the range, I feel tapped into what's happening outside, with the branches of a tricolor beech blowing around outside the window. The riovali marble waterfall island was a big design element that was the splurge in the space. I really wanted the movement in the marble to be a moment in the room. It's easy to keep clean because we made sure we had a space for all of our things, but it feels super livable and relaxed.”

The kitchen in the Shaker Heights home of Molly & Fritz features a marble waterfall island and black hardware

Woodland Design Company

Along with its maximum functionality, the kitchen is designed to be beautiful. “[The] kitchen opens up to almost the entire first floor, it has a great view of the natural light streaming in from the wall of windows. It is very monochromatic, but since the materials are earthy, it feels tonal and clean.”

Bedroom With a View

The bedroom in Molly & Fritz's Shaker Heights home features floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the backyard and pool

Woodland Design Company

The primary bedroom comes with an added bonus: the best view in the house. “This was an addition we created over the garage, and we designed the wall that faces the pool and backyard to be a wall of glass. It basically goes floor to ceiling and it has tree views and looks down on our pool/yard. It definitely helps to create the whole treehouse effect.”

The Windows

A hallway in the home of Molly & Fritz features a bright window

Woodland Design Company

Aside from the primary bedroom views, big bright windows were a house-wide priority for Molly. “The windows on the first floor might be the sole reason we thought this house was worth the transformation. We are quite literally inside for FOUR months with tough weather, so we loved the idea of feeling like you're outside. I love the blurred line that happens with large-scale windows.”

The Bathroom

The primary bathroom in Molly & Fritz's home features a Japanese soaking tub

Woodland Design Company

“I love that my bathroom feels like a retreat from my normal life,” said Molly. “The white oak floors and unique marble give me all the organic textural feels. We chose a Japanese soaking tub that is unique in size and feels sculptural in the space. I really wanted to make the bathroom have everything we need and not a stitch more than that.”

The vanity in the primary bathroom of Molly & Fritz's Shaker Heights home

Woodland Design Company

The shower in the primary bathroom of Molly & Fritz features marble walls and brass-tone hardware

Woodland Design Company

A Multi-Purpose Basement

The basement has been converted to create a space that appeals to everyone. “We have a gym, crafting room, and bar/family room in the basement. All are wonderful uses of the available space, and particularly in the time of Covid, it felt so good to have those spaces usable.”

The One Absolute Must-Have

The office in the home of Molly & Fritz

Woodland Design Company

But while the basement is much loved, Molly says there’s one room they couldn’t live without: their office. “It's on our first floor, with huge windows, flooded with light. We get to share a partner’s desk that we designed, which on most days is a good thing!”