Mitchell Sotka and Cynthia Deering of Mitchell Sotka Ltd. are helping a couple to design their dream home from the ground up in Ohio City.


Not too many families have the opportunity to design their dream home from the ground up. One Northeast Ohio couple is doing just that, in Ohio City.

“One of my clients has been shopping with us since our store opened in 2005. Over the years, we have developed a synergy that clicks,” explained Mitchell Sotka, owner of Mitchell Sotka, Ltd. in Rocky River. “I invited her and her husband to my Ohio City home and they fell in love with the neighborhood. It is important to them to have a walking community. When you meet someone who lives in Ohio City, they probably live within seven blocks of you. So, connections in the community are broader. That makes Ohio City a special place to live.”

“After my client and her husband became empty nesters, they sold their home in Bay Village. They are living in their third rental in Ohio City,” he noted. The couple recently decided that it was time to build their own Ohio City home. “They have always used our shop as a resource for artwork and gifts. So, our design team got invited into the fold to work on the project,” Sotka said.

The design team at Mitchell Sotka, Ltd. offers consultation and accessorizing services, but also tackles larger projects including full home makeovers.

“Architect Mike Caito of Payne and Payne Builders helped to build a home on my street. I introduced the couple to Mike. They interviewed other builders, and were impressed with Payne and Payne and their work,” he said.

Headquartered in Chardon since 1993, Payne and Payne Builders has an architecture and design team. They recently cut the ribbon on a new design studio and selection center housing samples of the latest interior and exterior materials and finishes.

“A lot of effort and angst have gone into the process of planning this home. It truly is a custom home,” Sotka added. “Working with Payne and Payne, we have a good shoulder to lean on. Working alongside a professional provides insight. We are not walking through this process blindly.”

The exterior framework of the house has been completed and interior work has begun. “The home has an exterior that meets the vernacular of Ohio City. It is a workman’s cottage, but on a larger scale,” he explained. “When you open that door, you find it to be very different. It blends contemporary style with the antique components of the neighborhood.” The first floor includes two bedrooms, a full bath, kitchen and dining room, laundry and storage and another half bath. Upstairs is a master suite, library and full bath. There is a three-car garage with a room above it and another full bath, according to Sotka.

“The walls are a warm white with a gray floor, contemporary and antique lighting and an open floor plan,” he said. “Furnishings will be in neutral shades with pops of color.”

“We all sat down with the client and talked about what they wanted and Mike Caito came up with the plan. We designed the lighting package, picked the right molding and custom windows with black stain finish,” he noted. “Our design team sees the project from the viewpoint of what the client has, how they live and what they will be buying for their new home. It strengthens the custom look. It’s been a fun journey.”

One of the most exciting rooms from the client’s point of view, Sotka said, is the half bath on the first floor. “We custom designed a lattice treatment to be applied to the walls. The custom cutout has a Moorish quality. The lattice is dark blue, applied to dark blue walls. The ceiling will be papered in dark metallic. The floor and sink are light marble,” he said. “It’s a really moody little half bath, entirely different from the open first floor. When you open the door to that room, you find this little jewel box that is dark.”