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Dr. Arezou Faraji didn’t want to move. 

Over the last decade, the University Hospitals radiologist and her podiatrist husband, Dr. Atta Asef, had completely renovated a five-bedroom, nine-bath Bentleyville abode, a place where they and their two daughters were comfortably ensconced. But Atta, who moonlights as a real estate agent, had found a house he wanted to buy.

“It wasn’t completely me,” Arezou recalls. “I didn’t want to go and start remodeling again. I said, ‘If you want me to move, the only way I [will] move is if I build my own home.’ ”

Arezou and Atta did just that. In 2014, they toured a 5-acre spread with a 750-square-foot ranch and two horse barns that had belonged to a beloved Bentleyville resident: the late Clarice “Sweetie” Roser. 

“This lady used to let kids come in and ride horses on weekends,” he says. 

The couple, captivated by the property’s lush greenery and privacy, decided to refurbish the ranch as a guesthouse and erect their dream home at the back of the lot. Completed in October 2016, the project required a variance from the village to build a primary structure behind a secondary one. 

“I wanted to keep a piece of that history,” Atta says. “Every time I talked to a friend, they said, ‘Did you buy Sweetie’s house?’ ”

Atta envisioned a modern main residence inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, one with lots of windows where exterior spaces were seamless extensions of the interiors. 

The couple required ample room for entertaining family and friends. They describe gatherings of up to a hundred people, from a country-western-flavored birthday party with a band and line-dancing lessons to a New Year’s Eve masquerade ball. 

Lakewood-based Dimit Architects designed a 6,977-square-foot cedar, stucco and stacked-stone showplace built in a U-shape around a 40-by-20-foot infinity-edge pool.

“We try to keep it open as long as we can, because it’s part of the house,” Atta says. “It’s not just something to jump in — it’s part of the architectural design.”

French doors in a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows open onto a pool deck of oversized tile that approximates the look of the gray-stained white oak used to floor most of the house. 

When lit, the linear fire pit at one end of the deck appears to be a 10-foot extension of the open-plan first floor’s focal point: a two-story, 20-foot-long fireplace finished in the same stacked stone used on the house’s exterior. 

The massive feature, built of concrete block, actually has its own foundation, explains Analia Dimit, Dimit Architects principal and director of interior architecture. “It’s almost like if you are building the shaft for an elevator,” she says of the construction. “It’s a structure.”

Four burners create a line of fire in a 16-foot-long firebox backed by glass that gives the illusion it is actually open on two sides. “You don’t feel a separation between inside and outside,” Atta says. “Everything’s more of a continuation.”

The living room, adjoining formal dining area and L-shaped kitchen are flanked by a two-story master suite on one side and an outdoor kitchen and cedar-finished dining pavilion on the other. Two doors — one in the pavilion, one off the pool deck — lead to an interior hall and full bath with sauna, shower and changing room. 

“If kids or people are coming from [the pool], they don’t have to come through this area [where] people are sitting,” Atta says. 

Other utilitarian features include a laundry room, mudroom and fully enclosed catering kitchen tucked behind the main one. “When entertaining, I hate pots and pans and mess all showing up,” Arezou says.

The master suite includes a bedroom overlooking the pool, an enormous walk-in closet, Atta’s home office and Arezou’s second-floor workout room and balcony. The suite’s bath features a freestanding Aquabrass tub resembling a perfectly halved eggshell and glass-enclosed double shower with his-and-hers rain heads and body sprays. 

“From every room, there’s access to outside,” Atta says. 

He points out doors flanking the built-in platform bed that allow both spouses to enter their designated side of the bathroom without crossing the bedroom and possibly disturbing the other.

“Both of them have the exact same square feet in the bath,” Dimit says. “They absolutely use half and half. They don’t share!” 

Atta even asked that a door to the hall be added on his side of the closet. “If I come in late to bed and I want to change, I don’t have to disturb my wife and go through the bedroom,” he says.

An open staircase with oak steps and glass-panel railings appears to float from the foyer to an open hall overlooking the living room. At one end is a guest room and full bath. At the other, a sitting area displays evidence of the couple’s Persian heritage with a pair of low platform beds, a Persian rug and a couple hookahs. 

Their daughters’ two-story bedrooms consist of a sleeping space, full bath, walk-in closet and balcony overlooking the backyard on the first floor, and a study loft and balcony overlooking the front yard on the second.

“The proportions of the house needed an extra story in that area,” Dimit says. “If not, it would have been too long and boring.” 

The Asian-style roof caps the structure. “That is [one] of the elements that came from modernism,” she says. “It has inspiration in the Asian architecture.”

Atta points out other notable features of the home built by Chardon-based Payne & Payne Builders. A cantilevered breakfast nook provides added architectural interest and allows more natural light to stream through horizontal windows on the ground floor — a level that holds a living, dining and kitchen area, wine cellar, theater, bedroom and full bath.

“Very, very early in the process, we started doing interior elevations, almost at the same time the house [was] getting designed on the exterior,” Dimit remembers. “That allowed us to [plan] out all of these little surprises.”

A 10-by-6-foot door sporting 16 coats of glossy gray paint pivots rather than hangs on hinges, welcoming visitors with an expanded view of the living area. Doors to the powder room and Atta’s office are actually pieces of distressed wood hung on sliding barn-door hardware, a nod to the barns razed to build the house. 

The waterfall countertop on the 16-foot-long kitchen island — a gathering spot at parties, Dimit says — is topped with a quarter-inch of porcelain manufactured to provide the luxe look of high-maintenance Calcutta marble. “I wanted the marble look, but I didn’t want the upkeep,” Arezou says. “I wanted to be able to spill things without worrying about staining.”

Most elements are repeated throughout the house. The walls are all white with quarter-inch-recess reveal baseboards, a painstakingly crafted detail that, like the absence of window and door frames, provides a sleeker, cleaner appearance. (Atta estimates that 90 to 95 percent of all interior doors are, in fact, pocket doors.) 

White lacquered cabinetry chosen for the kitchen, along with white Corian countertops and tile similar to that on the pool deck, continue in the bathrooms. 

The rectangular shape echoes in everything from the windows to smaller versions of the linear living-area fireplace in the master bedroom and family room off the kitchen. Almost every room, including bathrooms and walk-in closets, has a window or skylight. And round lighting fixtures abound.

“Everything is about unity,” Arezou says.

The proliferation of closets and white-lacquered built-ins — from the buffet in the breakfast nook to the TV stand in the family room — reduce the amount of furniture needed. 

Standouts are found in the living area, where a long, white linen-blend sofa is flanked by a pair of orange linen-blend chairs on one side and two ottomans on the other. In the formal dining area, a reclaimed-wood table with a concrete base comfortably seats 10.

The same design principles were used in renovating Sweetie’s former one-bedroom, one-bath home. 

Contractors gutted the interior down to the studs — only the frame, hardwood floor and bathtub were saved — and removed walls to make a contiguous living, dining and kitchen area. Outside, walls were removed to turn the garage into a carport. 

The exterior was then finished in the same cedar, stucco and stacked stone on the main house and topped with a similarly shaped metal roof. 

Atta says it was his plan to update the exterior that convinced the village planning and zoning committee to grant the variance and save the structure from being bulldozed.

“When I showed them what I wanted to do with the house, how I wanted to match and keep it, everybody goes, ‘Oh, Sweetie’s house looks so nice,’ ” he says.

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