Photograph courtesy of Payne & Payne Builders, Inc.
This farmhouse is a restoration and add-on to an old farmhouse in Chesterland.


Whether it’s Shaker Heights, Hudson or Chagrin Falls, Cleveland’s suburbs have a rich architectural legacy. And more than ever, homeowners are bringing historical touches to both new home construction and home renovations throughout Northeast Ohio.

“We’re blessed in Northeast Ohio to have so much great historic architecture,” said Mike Caito, architect for Payne & Payne Builders Inc. “And it’s become much more fashionable to preserve that architecture than to just knock it down. People feel more of a responsibility now…when you buy or renovate a home you become the shepherd of it to take it into the future.”

Since 1993, Payne & Payne has been a full-service design and build firm specializing in new custom home construction and renovations. With offices in Chardon and Chesterland, the firm provides design, interior and construction services. “I love the challenge of taking a home and resurrecting it,” said Caito. “I enjoy designing a home with all the amenities of a new house but with the charm of an older house.”

A recent Payne & Payne project in Ohio City involved a couple who built a new home, but wanted it to have a look that would seamlessly fit in with the neighborhood. The design was influenced by other homes in the Clinton Avenue neighborhood but had its own modern flair as well.

Caito often works with Rocky River antiques expert Mitchell Sotka to complement a home’s historical accents. “I like working with Mitch because he has a knack for style and design,” said Caito. “If I have a client looking for a particular item or feel, I know Mitch will have it.”

Payne & Payne recently did a new home in Shaker Heights where the owners ended up knocking down the old house and built a new structure in its place. “I remember the cable guy coming over and saying what an amazing renovation job we had done,” laughed Caito. “He told me that it almost looked new.”

Many of the homes Payne & Payne have worked on in Northeast Ohio come with their architectural integrity intact. “There is something charming and comfortable about tradition,” said Caito. “But homeowners also want a cool, modern-looking kitchen or a new addition to the back of the house. Some of our clients want to go back to the time period when the house was originally built, others want a new look and others are looking for something in between.”

Whether it’s a window design, architectural trim or door designs to the most visible parts of a home, new construction or renovation ultimately comes down to how much a homeowner wishes to replicate an older, more historical look.

“I love the challenge of doing a renovation that will stand the test of time,” said Caito. “It can be a fun design but I want it to be something that will still look good 100 years from now.”

Payne & Payne frequently works with design and architectural review boards in communities throughout the region. Caito, a University Heights resident, is a member of his community’s architectural review board. “Anything relating to the exterior of the home is reviewed,” he said. “It’s about making sure each home is compatible with its neighborhood.”

The challenge of bringing together historical architecture and modern-day amenities brings satisfaction to Caito each day. “I get excited for each new project,” he said. “I like seeing a design come together as much as the clients do.”

For more information on Payne & Payne Builders, visit