For the Upper Arlington husband-and-wife team of Justin and Allison Collamore, business is about bringing the homes of the past into the 21st century.

For the Upper Arlington husband-and-wife team of Justin and Allison Collamore, business is about bringing the homes of the past into the 21st century.

"It's like a huge, three-dimensional puzzle I get to do every day," Justin said.

The Collamores are the owners of Collamore Built, a residential remodeling company on Guilford Road they started 10 years ago.

"It's been a wild ride," Allison said.

"We've seen a lot of ups and downs," her husband added.

Collamore Built specializes in modernizing and updating homes built in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

These homes, common in places such as Upper Arlington and Clintonville, incorporated natural materials such as wood, stone and brick, were one story in height and were designed to flow into the surrounding landscape. In many cases, the original owners still live in them and are just beginning to sell for the first time, Justin Collamore said.

"It was kind of the first housing style to incorporate outdoor space," he said. "The style has sort of come back into vogue, and these houses were all very well built ... It's a fun style to work with."

While the basic shell of the house remains solid, Collamore Built modernizes them in a number of ways: expanding the kitchen, opening walls to increase living space and adding doors to the outside.

"If you have a good base, you can do a lot," Allison said. "It's the best of both worlds ... You don't lose the essence of the house."

The style has become desirable for people from all walks of life, the Collamores said, including baby boomers looking to scale back and younger families looking to invest in a new home. The homes are more manageable and are usually in walkable neighborhoods -- unlike "McMansions" 50 miles outside the city, Justin said.

Homeowners for a while did not typically do too much to make their individual homes unique because they were planning to sell, but in recent years, Allison said, people have been looking to remain in their homes longer.

"People would design for the next person," she said. "Now they're doing interesting things that let their personalities show ... There's no typical job."

The Collamores said their business has grown steadily in its decade of operation, although the economy of the last few years and its impact on real estate certainly were challenges.

Major renovations, Justin said, usually are done by people buying homes and looking to make them fit.

"2010 is not a year I want to repeat," Allison said. "It was stagnant ... Everybody was sitting home and worrying, including us."

The recession has left some lingering challenges, but the company has seen steady growth, hiring more carpenters and an interior designer, Justin Collamore said.

"Everyone's much more careful," he said.

The Collamores also found their skills complemented each other in running their own business. He handles sales and design work and project management while she works on public relations and marketing.

"Our roles are totally different," she said. "When we need the other one, we're there.

"Neither of us wanted to go back to the corporate world," she added. "We liked being our own boss."

"It works out," he said.

More information about Collamore Built is available at the company's website,