Re-user Friendly: Sylvan Lake Bungalow

A homeowner’s appetite for repurposed and recycled objects takes him well beyond the kitchen


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As a man who wears many creative hats, Ross Yedinak knows a little something about reuse. The 40-year-old Grand Haven native earns his keep by developing recipes for private clients and restaurants, styling food for photo shoots, filming instructional-cooking videos, catering private events, and constructing faux bois-style furniture. And this is Yedinak at his most focused.

“That’s been my whole problem through college,” he says. “Just figuring out exactly what I wanted to do.”

Evidence of his varied background is scattered throughout the 950-square-foot Sylvan Lake bungalow that he shares with his girlfriend, Libby Shaw, and a wire-haired pointing griffon named Norman. A ginkgo-leaf bistro table and chairs in the French faux-bois (false-wood) style that Yedinak crafted for the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids occupy the covered porch. Visitors entering through his front door are greeted by an enameled-steel sign that reads “Eat Up.”

“ ‘Eat up’ is what I say when I throw the food on the table,” Yedinak says with a chuckle.

One need only take a few steps inside Yedinak’s home for his varied abilities to introduce themselves. Scavenged industrial fixtures are reborn with practical residential uses. “The whole house is repurposed stuff, recycled stuff, or stuff you wouldn’t normally use [in a home],” Yedinak says, as he points out two auto-body plant lights that illuminate the dining room. In the bedroom, industrial heat lamps hang from the ceiling above the bed, in their new roles as reading lights.

Yedinak purchased the 1919-built, two-bedroom home in 2005, when it was “not in the best shape.”

“I bought it because the house had a really bad bathroom and a bad kitchen,” he says. “Both of them needed remodeling, and the house was in a great location.”

He set about doing all the improvements himself — a process that took more than three months, working mostly at night after his job and on weekends.

In addition to holding a culinary degree from the New England Culinary Institute, Yedinak also studied construction science and management at Clemson University and is a generally handy guy.

In the bathroom, he moved a toilet, removed a claw-foot tub, tore out a closet, and built a shower. But the 9-by 9-foot galley kitchen was the most challenging space, Yedinak says. “If you look at it, there’s no room for anything else. It was down to the inch.”

His efforts were rewarded with a utilitarian space that doesn’t sacrifice style. Garage-style rolling tool carts serve as kitchen cabinetry, storing cutlery, utensils, kitchen gadgets, and spices. Except for these (bought from Costco), Yedinak thinks décor outside of the big-box stores. Customized deep-fryer baskets attached to the kitchen wall contain fruit and coffee. Most appliances — an under-counter refrigerator, 90-second cycle dishwasher, and commercial sink in his basement prep kitchen — are used restaurant equipment.

“I wasn’t ecstatic about the size of the kitchen,” Yedinak says. But, like the trained cook that he is, he made the most of his available ingredients.

Resources:

1 | Salvaged, vintage, and reclaimed goods: Marisa Gaggino, HeritageCo{2}, Royal Oak; 248-547-0670, heritageco2.com; also flea markets, commercial auctions, and scavenger hunts through abandoned factories.
2 | Used commercial appliances: Capital Equipment Sales, Oak Park; 248-542-4800.
3 | Living terrariums: Goldner Walsh Garden & Home, Pontiac; 248-332-6430, goldnerwalsh.com.
4 | Yedinak’s furniture: Goldner Walsh Garden & Home, Pontiac; 248-332-6430, goldnerwalsh.com; Planterra, West Bloomfield Township; 248-661-1515, planterra.com; and walnutonline.net.
5 | Custom fabrication, design, and consultation, historic preservation, and restoration: Richard Gage Design Studio, Hazel Park; 248-547-1114, richardgagedesignstudio.com.


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