This Month's MagazineDining and SpiritsArts and EntertainmentTravel and LeisureHome and Real EstateHealth and WellnessShopping & FashionEvents and PicsElegant Wedding Magazine

Bookmark and share

Issue Date: April 2003 Issue

Where the Wild Homes Are

Diane DiPiero

Mechanic on Duty

In this house, being handy with tools means you can fashion them into a candlestick or a towel bar.

Owner : John Taylor
City : Sandusky
Built : 1920s
Purchased by Current Owner : 1995
Extremity Factor : 10

You'd think John Taylor would tire of themes, since it's his job as a graphic designer at Cedar Point to create sets for live shows and develop signs for the amusement park. But when he bought his current home seven years ago a boxy, red-brick commercial building in the historic district of Sandusky Taylor decided to have a motif run through the design.

"At first, I was going to design it like the Acme Warehouse on Looney Tunes," he says. Then, Taylor learned that the 80-year-old building once housed an automotive repair shop. So he spent five years transforming the structure from its most recent incarnation as a first-floor warehouse and second-floor apartment into T&T Towing, his fictional gas station and repair shop.

On the first floor he created an "office," which actually serves as a walk-through from the garage entrance to the staircase. An old desk littered with papers, air-filter boxes and datebooks takes center stage. To give the space authenticity, Taylor used items from flea markets and garage sales along with personal mementos one of the black-and-white photos on the wall is of Taylor's grandfather standing beside his first car. Chipped red linoleum flooring and intentionally smudged walls add to the atmosphere. You expect a gentleman with grease-stained hands and a red handkerchief dangling from his back pocket to saunter into the room at any moment. "Everything is intentional. All the dirt and grease was put on for a reason," explains Taylor.

While chaos and untidiness reign on the lower level, the main living area is sleekly designed and neat as a pin. Red floor jacks serve as legs for a glass tabletop in the living room. A shiny silver pickup-truck box gains new life as a buffet in the dining room.

Galvanized steel roofing sheathes the walls of the powder room, where a Craftsman tool table with sliding drawers acts as a vanity. "I wanted to use as many alternative materials as possible," says Taylor.

Taylor tore out the pages of nine Rand McNally atlases and used them to wallpaper his kitchen. A stickler for details, he keeps a variety of themed accessories on hand, including mud-flap place mats.

Taylor calls his decorating style "artomotive." "I proved I could carry out a theme without making it too kitschy," he says.

Comments. All comments must be approved by our editorial staff.
Choose an identity
Other Anonymous
All of these fields are optional.
CAPTCHA Validation
Retype the code from the picture
CAPTCHA Code Image
Speak the code Change the code

Home | Subscribe | Archives | Advertise | Newsstands | Contact Us | Jobs | Legal
© Cleveland Magazine 2014 | P: (216) 771-2833 | F: (216) 781-6318 | 1422 Euclid Ave. Suite 730 Cleveland, Ohio 44115
This site is a member of the City & Regional Magazine Association