Open to Modernity

Bittners takes a modern design approach to a Cherokee Park home


By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos by Kathryn Harrington


Modern designed homes are not common in most Louisville neighborhoods, however, a Cherokee Park homeowner felt it was time to say goodbye to her traditional home and embrace a more modern style. “We had a small, traditional Tudor for 20 years and I wanted less stuff and more style,” the homeowner shared. Thanks to the interior design talents of Bittners designer Ron Wolz, the homeowner’s dream of modernizing her home became a reality. “I saw some more modern trends in magazines and as soon as I mentioned it to Ron he thought it was great and had more ideas to help. It’s a newer look that I think is here to stay, with darker cabinets and lighter floors, which goes against current trends but I think Ron helped us be ahead of that and we’ll see more things going this way,” said the homeowner.

With help from Keith Morley of Don Johnson Contractors, Ron Wolz gave the homeowner’s Cherokee Park gem a complete makeover. The house was “taken down to the studs,” as both Wolz and the homeowner referred to it, and everything from the layout to the rooms to each design was evaluated and redone. First and foremost, let’s discuss what makes a home modern. Wolz said, “I think it’s more about creating a lifestyle and the way people live. To me, I think figuring out that part of the equation is what makes it modern. For example, this house was not very open originally, so we opened every room that we could to connect it and create flow. I think that’s how people want to live today and that makes it modern. Additionally, having cleaner lines, whether it be in the cabinetry or trim work or furnishings, that feels modern to me.”

Before we get to the interior designs, it’s important to note the open floor plan they created in the home, another key to a modern feel. “They didn’t want a bunch of compartmentalized rooms but a space that opened one room to the next, where if you were entertaining or with your family, you could easily be connected to them from different places in the house,” Wolz explained. “For example, the living room connects to the hearth room, the hearth room to the kitchen, the kitchen to the lounge and the lounge to the outdoor porch and all of those spaces are open to each other so it’s really wonderful. You could have thirty people or four and it still works very well.” The homeowner loves the open layout and particularly the hearth room and the kitchen. She said the kitchen was where they always hung out in her old home, but it got too congested. Now, with the open floor plan, she doesn’t have to worry about how many people are in one room because they can float from room to room. “The kitchen is inspired by a Palm Springs 1950’s look. I still wanted it to be updated and modern and I think we did a really good job of that,” said Wolz. “The sitting room off of the kitchen is my favorite space too. She took a risk and went with this gold silky velvet on the sofa. It’s luxurious and it gives this pop of color against neutral backgrounds. We considered doing the sectional in a more neutral color and I said ‘let’s be bold and do something strong,’ and we both ended up loving it.”

Another unique design element of the home is the large circular mirrors in the bathroom. “We sourced those out of New York. We had a lot of straight lines [in the design already] and we wanted something to soften it. I thought the curve of the mirror playing against the clean lines would be something to make it a little bit more romantic, a little more feminine,” Wolz explained. 

One of the most special spaces in the home is the outside porch. Wolz created a space that takes the indoors outdoors as the porch encompasses a living room, kitchen and dining room all in one and a beautiful view of Cherokee Park. “The goal was to create a room that brought you from the inside out. It’s pretty seamless, you just open the steel doors and walk right out of the lounge into the space. One of the elements I really liked was done by Lance Limanti of Classic Finishes. He did this beautiful charcoal grey, plaster finish on the fireplace and the surrounding area. It feels original and creates an anchor for the sitting area,” explained Wolz. Going modern doesn’t have to mean getting rid of the old completely. Wolz also helped the homeowner incorporate family heirlooms to fit the feel of the contemporary home during the design process. “He’s so great about using pieces that are personal to me and have been in my family, like our dining room table that has been in our family for several decades. He helped me bring some of my more traditional pieces into a modern vision,” the homeowner said. 

It took eight months for Wolz and his team to transform this Highlands home into a modern masterpiece. “Bittners is so professional and full-service with everything, from design to delivery. I think some other designers try to cut corners and don’t give you the full experience or ability to try different things,” the homeowner explained. “They’re wonderful about bringing furniture into your home and letting you try it for a couple of weeks. If it doesn’t work, they’ll take it out and bring something new in which is such a relief. You don’t have to go searching to find it yourself. Seeing something in person and trusting Bittners to take care of your home while having access to some of the best quality furniture that can’t be found anywhere else is one of the best parts. You can’t find the things that Bittners have anywhere else.”

731 East Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Classic Finishes
8503 Charing Cross Road
Louisville, Kentucky 40217

Don Johnson Contractors
Keith Morley