Knowing better than to argue with his mother, whom he describes as "a real-life, indefatigable Auntie Mame who definitely knows her mind," Cohler designed for keeps. Upstairs, he installed a kitchenette and an additional entrance, which opens to a hall with elevator service. "These changes will allow her to live on the top floor at some point, if she wants, without ever having to go down the stairs." Meanwhile, his addition of big pocket doors joining Jane's bedroom to a guest room-turned-library created master quarters she can relish right now.
After implementing the architectural changes, Cohler hired designer Jeffery McCullough to step in as project manager. "Jeffery was invaluable. He had worked with me before, and he knew my mother. I advise any designer working with family to always provide a buffer. Jeffery was mine." But he might as well have been family. "I'd been in and out of Mrs. Supino's home the two years I had worked for Eric, and she had become a friend," says McCullough. And a trusted one, at that.