LEXINGTON - Richland County's "million-dollar makeover" home is in the final stretch of improvements.
The interior of the mansion located at 1 Lexington-Ontario Road is 95 percent complete, according to owner and investor Shane Allyne. All that remains for the interior makeover is the master bedroom and lower bedroom.
Allyne admitted the project as a whole is coming in over the original $1.1 million budget set. But for good reason.
"The deciding factor was once I knew without a doubt I was going to stay here," he said. "I was going to just spruce it up and if somebody ever wanted to purchase the home or property they could take it to the next level, but now that I know I'm going to keep it, it's going to be on that caliber.
"And I really began to enjoy the house, if I'm being honest with myself," he added. "It just feels very homey and very warm."
Allyne has been working since February 2017 to transform the Lexington-Ontario Road mansion from "uninhabitable" to a move-in ready home. The house is 12,300 square feet with 7.3 acres of property, including seven bedrooms, six and a half baths, a mother-in-law suite, and a pool -- the largest indoor pool in Richland County.
The biggest extra cost came from a complete remodel of the kitchen. Allyne estimated an unexpected extra $130,000 went into the kitchen remodel, including a $20,000 stove and a two-inch custom, solid oak dining table.
"Everyone knows the kitchen is the most expensive room in the house to remodel," Allyne said. "When you don't plan on remodeling the kitchen and then you remodel a kitchen in the home of this caliber, you have to expect to take on an extra expense."
The kitchen remodel came when Allyne made the decision to make the Lexington mansion a model home for Heartland Construction, his commercial construction company. The home, and the kitchen, includes a lot of impressive features with a touch of Allyne's taste.
"I did not put that stove in for me, I could probably make do with an $800 Walmart stove," he said. "But I couldn't put something in the home that didn't fit, it just pulled the property values down and it needed to flow together."
Interior designer Julie McCready was involved during the initial remodeling process. McCready helped establish the overall "feel" of the home, opting for a rustic, earthy theme.
"But once I knew I was going to stay here and that it was going to be a model home, I wanted it to have my touch on it," Allyne said. "Because if somebody wants to hire my company, this is a great opportunity to display those standards."
Allyne also enlisted the help of Cincinnati architect Jim Bauman with Architrend, particularly on the kitchen project.
Constructed in 1964, the house was originally owned by the Brumenshenkel family, followed by the Stearns family of Mansfield's Stearns & Lehman specialty food product company.
The home sat vacant and fell into disrepair over five or six years, its only inhabitants were a family of raccoons. While the masonry structure of the home was sound, the massive renovation was intimidating for many buyers - even Allyne, at first.
"I drove by this house so many times, I thought about it, I looked at the price, and I wouldn't even entertain it," Allyne said in 2017. "But for some reason I decided to come look at it one day, and it just felt right."
In addition to the interior improvements, progress has been made on upgrading the home's exterior. Allyne added a driveway and revamped the bridge leading onto the property, as well as cleared 60 ash trees that were mostly dead.
The home's original target completion date was summer of 2018. Allyne estimates the interior of the home to meet that deadline, with the entire property being finished in 2019.
Overall, the project has been a labor of love, and a welcome reprieve from the grind of commercial construction.
"I want to be part of the area in a positive way," Allyne said. "I think there's a lot of good things here and there could be a lot more, and I would like to see the growth that's happening all over Ohio."