ADVENTURESOME COUPLE FINDS DOWNTOWN LOFT TO FIT STYLE
March 4, 2013
They've skied in Antarctica, scaled Kilimanjaro, climbed Denali.
So it's fitting that John and Elaine Del Monte's latest adventure-the
purchase of a loft in downtown Rochester-comes with a great view.
The three-bedroom space, one of 19 units in the Capron Street Lofts
building, was an empty shell when the couple decided to make the move
from the suburbs in August 2012, after nine months of designing the
"We are thrilled to move into the city," says Elaine, who
grew up in Louisiana and lived in several other cities before settling
here 15 years ago. "The nicest people I've ever met are here in
Rochester." She says that John came with a vision for every
detail, pointing to the exposed ductwork, painted brick and tall
windows. The panoramic view through those windows includes the Frederick
Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Bridge, a rushing Genesee River, Corn Hill
Landing and the University of Rochester.
Still, that clean slate
of an empty shell made Elaine nervous; she couldn't visualize the end
result. The couple worked closely with architect Tim Tyskiewicz, visual
manager Jonathan Ragusa and Charles Arena of Arena's Interiors in
Rochester to create a look that would fit the contemporary vibe.
"It didn't all come together for me until the floor and cabinets were
in," Elaine says. But she trusted John's vision. After all, he is a
builder and president of the E.J. Del Monte Corporation, which owns 17
properties-nine of which are here in the Rochester area (including the
Del Monte Lodge and Spa in Pittsford and several Marriott hotels).
"John was involved right down to the wattage of the light bulbs, the
direction of the lights and what we'd make the window ledges out of,"
Ragusa says. "He chose the fireplace box to fit the code. He poured
himself into the project. Every nuance was thought of."
nature of the loft made for some difficult decisions. "This was a large
space with beautiful beams," Ragusa says. "We thought they looked
beautiful in their unpainted look, but it didn't match the aesthetic we
wanted." So they decided to paint them-along with the ceiling, brick and
trim-in a high-gloss gray that appears almost white. The walls are the
same gray, but in a flat finish. Painting the trim in the same color
instead of a contrasting one (often white against a darker contrast
color) creates a contemporary feel.
"You need to respect the
origin of the home, and you can't make the interior space feel foreign
to what the home is," Ragusa explains.
That called for
contemporary furnishings, too-a mix of vintage and new, some of which
the Del Montes had custom made by local artisans. Their overall plan was
to source local products and services as much as they could. Mike
Souers, who works out of Scottsville, built the dark wood kitchen
cabinets; Leonard Urso, whose studio is in Rochester, made paintings
that hang on the walls; Rochester glass artist Elizabeth Lyons created
the sculpture tucked in one corner.
The couple chose an
engineered wood floor and a manmade Silestone countertop. "Granite would
have been too busy and traditional for the space," says Ragusa. "Manmade
products are equally as durable and [with the countertop] you can cut
the pieces any size you want and don't have to worry about the seam. We
wanted clean, stark and at the same time warm."
from Rocky Mountain Hardware (based in Colorado) are hand-cast and
pitted and have a substantial feel to them. "They're nice to juxtapose
against a clean, contemporary kitchen," Ragusa notes. The Del
Montes are honorary chairs for the Boys and Girls Club, are very
involved with the Rochester City Ballet and sit on the medical board at
Strong Hospital, and they love to entertain and hold charity events in
their loft. Recently they held an open house for Bivona Child Advocacy
But before their vision could be realized, it took
another creative eye to transform the building itself. The Capron Street
Lofts are the brainchild of Patrick Duffon, a former Rochester
Knighthawks and Rattlers lacrosse player who had worked in equities and
investing in New York City and Chicago and also gotten involved in real
Duffon had seen loft spaces in other cities and wanted to
return to Rochester but couldn't find the kind of home he wanted to live
in. Then he discovered the Capron building, constructed around 1900 as a
cold storage warehouse along the canal. It had undergone various
incarnations, housing a furniture manufacturer, jewelry exchange and
printing company. Duffon partnered with Belmont Properties to develop
the lofts-which opened for residents in early 2011-and Nikko restaurant,
which anchors the first floor. Duffon has other conversion projects in
the works, as well, such as the Searle Building on St. Paul Street. "I
hope to have a big impact on downtown," he says.
The Del Montes,
too, are excited about the growth downtown and their role in it. As
empty-nesters, their vision includes a turnkey lifestyle so they can
continue their adventures.
They own a home in Jackson Hole,
Wyoming, where they ski. They also love to hike, climb and camp. In
their new kitchen hangs a large photo taken on one of their Antarctica
trips by a fellow traveler, photographer Keoki Flagg: a regal penguin
marching across the snow. It's one of the first things a visitor sees
when entering the loft, and it's Elaine's favorite piece. She says it
reminds them that one reason they moved here is so they could do the
things that feed their souls.
"The bucket list is huge," she
explains. John is already planning a trip to Iceland in May. In the
meantime, they've got their good view right here in Rochester.