Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando scores big with his family’s home renovation.
By Val Rasmussen, Photos by Scot Zimmerman
Nick Rimando is everyone’s favorite homeboy, so say T-shirts worn by fervent Utah soccer fans. Makes sense. During the past year alone, Real Salt Lake’s star goalkeeper—aka Wall of the Wasatch—has achieved the MLS record for shutouts, a spot on the U.S. National Team and a trip to the World Cup, just to name a few.
So what happens when Nick isn’t blocking black-and-white bullets launched at speeds up to 80 miles per hour? “After a game, I can’t wait to relax with my family,” he says. The celebrated athlete heads home to his two young kids and wife, Jacqui, whom he met when they both played professional soccer in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, when Nick was traded to RSL from D.C. United, he and Jacqui chose Salt Lake’s Harvard/Yale neighborhood for its city living and to be close to family. Fast-forward eight years, the couple’s active lifestyles, two growing kids and two large dogs forced a rethink of the family’s small 1945 cottage.
“We love to entertain,” says Jacqui who hosts guests as famous as RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman and as unknown as 5- and 7-year-old play mates for their kids, Jett and Benny. Among the home’s challenges, as Jacqui explains, was that the only way to access the backyard was through a narrow side driveway entry, and the interior entry and main hallway were much too tight. “They just didn’t flow,” she says. What’s more, bedrooms were on both the main floor and basement level—a common older-home dilemma for young families.
Trades are common in professional sports, yet instead of trading in their 1,900-square-foot ranch for a larger, cookie-cutter build near Rio Tinto Stadium, Nick and Jacqui opted to expand the house in their beloved neighborhood. By adding a mere 10 feet to the home’s footprint in back and by adding a third floor, the couple created a whole new game for life at home.
Today, a widened entry and expanded hallway usher guests to a bright and spacious family room in the rear of the home. Opening to the backyard in three directions, this new space flaunts a double-sided fireplace, a cocktail area, lounge seating, a big screen TV, a wet bar and a kids’ arts and crafts space. Because the two main-floor bedrooms were sacrificed to make way for this new hub of activity, three new bedrooms—plus a master bath, a kids’ bathroom, an office nook and a laundry room—were created in the upstairs addition.
Together, Nick and Jacqui orchestrated the remodel’s finishing touches. “Months before we broke ground, we picked the hardwood floors,” says Jacqui, who knew wood needed to acclimate before installation. The wide-plank wood floors flowing seamlessly throughout the main floor prompted a rustic, industrial style for the interior. Exposed brick, unfussy light fixtures and bohemian furnishings mix it up to create a casual, eclectic retreat for the world-traveling athlete and his busy bunch.
“My favorite spot in the house is right here,” says Nick, lounging in a cozy corner of the new family room. “I have a bird’s eye view of the kids playing as well as the fireplace, TV, bar and patio.” As Nick sits in prime position to tend his family domain, it seems right that he and Jacqui kept and revived the house rather than trading it for something new. Once again, it’s “Rimando for the save!”