Monday, January 12, 2015

Decorative Arts History for Sale

If you are a regular visitor to Historic properties .com then you already know this.
For only the third time in its history, the Nagele Merz house is offered for sale.

This was a most difficult decision on our part but the increasing demands of our consulting business and the opening of our new Historic Design Center in 2015 and the expansion of our antiques business, we simply do not have the time, and energy, to devote to its continued restoration.
 We have other properties in the neighborhood, under restoration as well and we feel the sale of Nagele Merz will bring more energy into the neighborhood, which has seen a great deal of restoration since we arrived.

The home was near extinction in late 2008 when we bought it and certainly had we not bought it, it would not be standing today and certainly its artistic treasure , the RARE Neo Grec Stenciling, would never have seen the light of day and the neighborhood around it would not be experiencing the rebirth it is enjoying. What restoration work has been done? Well as you can see from the above photo, a LOT! The 1920's siding has been completely removed. The overgrown landscaping has been removed.  Dozens of trees and scrub bushes and truckloads of weeds and honeysuckle were removed. The retaining wall was re-laid, thousands of hours spent to date getting the grounds back.

Excavation  of the sunken garden began with the re-creation of the pond.

Planting thousands of dollars worth of bulbs and plantings. The later addition side porch was removed and a new period appropriate front porch created.

Inside: all the old ductwork has been removed and rerun, Wiring has been carefully fished through existing plaster walls so the home can be upgraded to 200 amp service and be trouble free. New Pex plumbing has been run and is ready for connection to manifolds, The upstairs has been reconfigured to provide for a new master bath and a historic Claw foot tub located for it. The house is largely ready for HVAC installation.

Of course what Nagele-Merz is all about is its Decorative Stenciling. Thousand of hours of work went into removal of old paint layers in the formal parlor and restoration of the stenciled walls in the Parlor and Dining Room. The value of room restorations to date would be well over 20K. The parlor has a new patterned hardwood floor all custom cut and hand laid.  This work has been totally documents in detail on this Blog over the years

This parlor has a beautifully restored cast iron mantle and custom over-mantle.


There is also a matching valance which has custom period drapes included in the sale.

This room also has a 4 light period chandelier with globes and custom hand-painted ceiling medallion.

The Dining room stenciling is well underway and the new owner will be provided with room set stencils to complete the work. There is a gorgeous muraled  sky ceiling with another hand painted medallion and 5 Globe period Chandelier. the Dining room features a one of a kind cast iron custom faux painted mantle as well. Provided with sale is enough wood flooring to put down another period style floor or you can elect to refinish the wide fir floor.

Period stencil sets will be provided for the upstairs front bedroom due to the losses of plaster have required drywall be used.

The house is ready for an exterior paint touch up and some siding will need be done. The Roof is recent and in great condition. The house had replacement windows installed before we bought it but historic sashes are easy to find locally to go back to original 2 over 2's.

Our plan has been to remove part of rear structure added in 1900 and build a larger kitchen wing but one may elect to stay in the original footprint but some restructuring of the room used as the kitchen would be required. The house originally had a separate brick kitchen. The house sits on a double lot and property taxes on house and lot are less than 100.00 a year. There is more than enough room on the double lot for a new garage

The home is eligible for a 275K 10 year tax abatement offset against any work done that improves its value.

The home will have protective deed covenant essentially requiring all exterior work be done to historic preservation standards and that the front parlor stenciling may not be altered. The home is eligible for National Landmark based on its ownership and the rare decorative stenciling. There I extensive documentation of all restoration work done with over 4000 documentary photos taken during restoration to date.

This home restoration has been covered in detail over the years on the this blog and there have been article's in numerous publications including the Cincinnati Enquirer about the restoration. It has been featured in numerous preservation-based forums as well. The home was the centerpiece home of the Knox Hill Preservation Opportunity Home Tour in 2012.

This restoration, to date, has taken thousands of man hours and could not be duplicated for anywhere near our asking price. The home is offered at 47,500.00 to a preservation minded buyer ready to become the new steward of this historic home and continue its preservation and restoration. More info
If you are a preservation minded buyer who appreciates the historical significance of this home and wants to be part of the renaissance going on in the neighborhood Please contact me for complete information on what has been done to date and what remains to be done, and tell me why you want to be the next steward of the Nagele Merz house.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Antique of the Week: Set of Four Victorian Parlor Chairs

Its been a while since we have had a set of four open back Victorian Parlor Side chairs. This is for two reasons. One usually they are broken or have been sold off separately.

Finding FOUR matching chairs like these is a rare event these days. We recently got these end and have reupholstered them in a very elegant looking black upholster with gold paisley pattern. These will sparkle under gas lights or candle light

These have a very sophisticated look as a result and would be at home in your formal parlor or around the dinner table and would pair well with any settee you might already have.

Priced at 300.00 for the set, (special for Blog Readers), this is less than you might expect to pay for one nice Victorian chair these days. Pickup is available at our Indianapolis location and we are happy to work with your blanket shipper.

More information can be obtained by contacting us at

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thanks to our readers for great 2014!

2014 has been one our busiest years! It has been busy on the historic preservation front, working with clients on projects and trying to fit in a little bit of our own work in too. We also launched Rustbelt Preservationist which has far exceeded our expectations.

In 2015 we will be making many changes, some will be improvements to our blogs and we think you will like the changes as they are largely influenced by suggestions you have made.

At the same time we will be launching, finally, our historic design center and also thinning the herd by selling off some of our properties to make our life simpler. On a personal level, I plan on slowing down a bit and staying off ladders etc and delegating more projects. Maybe this year we can even fit in a small vacation, as we are long overdue for one.

Thank you for all your support and your interest in historic preservation and period historic design. Please share you favorite blog posts with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest as with over 1000 blogposts we have become ago to resource on Google for all things Victorian or preservation related.

Please have safe and sane New Years Eve and watch out for the police! Designated drivers insure 2015 will be prosperous year for you too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Postings

Hey all this is Hannaford the Housecat and the white dude is my personal assistant Snowflake.

Thanks for reading the blog this year, and its the holidays and you know the drill, everyone is busy so don't expect a lot of postings, but I encourage you to explore the blog because there is a ton  of stuff on  here.

Well gotta go , we have important stuff like sleeping to do.

Have a great Holiday

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Last chance looms near for FOUR Historic Cincinnati Properties

Four historic Cincinnati properties  have been offered on Historic,   and if no one comes forward to save them they will be lost along with most of South Fairmount for the MSD "glorified drainage ditch" program.

The MSD project has decimated the South Fairmount basin area and essentially results in one of the largest losses of historic property since Kenyan Barr. Between this project, and the proposed widening of Westwood Blvd an important and essential part of Cincinnati History is being decimated. with the loss of most of S Fairmount with the only remaining being some structures on the North side of Queen City and the Knox Hill neighborhood at the top of the hill . This is just the latest chapter in this city's ongoing attempt to destroy its historic fabric and heritage.

Thanks to efforts of preservationists and the Knox Hill Neighborhood Association, who requested 106 review and threatened action if it was not done, the county could not shirk its section 106 compliancy requirements and these properties have, at least a chance, but time is short and the logistics of moving these properties is complex. Ideally corporate entities could come forward and underwrite the saving of part of history on the larger structures the homes could be reasonably moved although interested individuals should try to contact nationally known movers who will change less than local concerns. These are historically significant structures (eligible for Landmark status) that most cities would consider important historical assets and every effort would be made to save them.

The properties are:

1786 Westwood: This excellent example of the Queen Anne style at 1786 Westwood Avenue was constructed circa 1897. The house is currently clad in replacement siding, but historic wood clapboard is present underneath. The building also retains historic wood windows, including a leaded-glass transom, and decorative wood detailing. The turret on the southeast corner of the house has a slate-tiled, conical roof. Other Queen Anne style features include an irregularly shaped roof, asymmetrical floor plan, and a three-bay oriel window on the first story. Brick chimneystacks are located on the west façade and on the peak of the hipped roof. A metal fire escape has been installed on the west façade.
Listing Link: 1786 Westwood

1806 Westwood Ave: This excellent example of an American Foursquare dwelling with very few changes was constructed circa 1915 and is currently located at 1806 Westwood Avenue. The building exhibits a rock-faced concrete block foundation, two-tone brick veneer walls, and historic, one-over-one wood windows. The front façade features a wood shingled pediment, brown brick quoins, a front window opening with a leaded glass transom, and a wood entry door with sidelights. The full-width porch on the primary façade features blond-brick columns with concrete block piers and concrete balustrades. American Foursquare characteristics of the building include a square floor plan, full-width front porch, overhanging eaves, and a dormer window. Research into the ownership history of this house showed that one family retained the house for 85 years, from 1921 – 2006.
Listing Link: 1806 Westwood

1783 Queen City: This 1892, four-story building is an excellent example of Queen Anne Style as applied to a mixed-use building. It has a stone foundation, brick walls with brick lintel and corbelling details, and historic one-over-one and two-over-two window sash. The front façade storefront retains the original metal supports and sign board. The original cornice is elaborately detailed with decorative brackets, dentil molding, and pediments topped with finials. Ghosting of various advertisements is evident on the west wall. Building is currently located at 1783 Queen City Avenue.
Research shows the upper stories of the building were used as multi-unit rental space with at least four apartments and the storefront area housed various commercial enterprises, including a saloon and grocery store.
Listing Link: 1783 Queen City

1789 Queen City: This three-and-a-half-story, Mission style building was constructed between 1922 and 1923 as the convent for the Sister of St. Francis, who taught in the St. Bonaventure School located across Queen City Avenue. The building is currently located at 1789 Queen City Avenue. The building exhibits poured concrete foundation, blonde brick veneer walls, and an asphalt-shingled hipped roof. A central projection on the front façade features a scrolled parapet and a Palladian-type window. An extant two-story brick porch and roof garden are present at the rear of the building.
The convent was designed by John F. Sheblessy, who was educated at the Chicago Art Institute and the Armour Institute of Technology. He practiced in Chicago and Louisville before moving to Cincinnati in 1907. Sheblessy designed several Roman Catholic churches and other institutional buildings in Cincinnati and its surrounding vicinity. After the St. Bonaventure School closed in 1980, the building was soon divided into 12 apartments by its new owner.
Listing Link: 1789 Queen City

Interested parties should know that: The buildings will likely be sold at auction. Interest in purchasing and moving the building must be expressed no later than May 1, 2015, and the building must be moved from the site no later than August 1, 2015. The buyer will assume all responsibility for the relocation arrangements of the building, and ongoing coordination with the Metropolitan Sewer District will be necessary.

Interested persons should contact: Jennifer Burden, Principal Investigator, Gray & Pape, Inc.
513-287-7700 ext. 152

Time is of the essence

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Antique of the Week: A great Victorian Chandelier

Just in: This great Victorian Chandelier with cranberry glass shades!!!!

We rarely if ever get these in anymore and they are quickly snapped up by people restoring their homes. This one has current wiring and light sockets. It does have the gas jet screw attachment so if your old pipes are gone you will need the typical adapter to go to a regular light box which you can get from any lighting store. If you have very high ceilings there are extension pipes available that sell by the foot to bring this down to more useable height over a dining table.

The shades have the cranberry color on the edges and look very pretty when lite. Because these shades are fragile, I would not ship this, but the local shipper we often use to probably package this.. Contact me for details.

This could probably use some polishing and some work but these are just getting so hard to fin. Priced at 225.00 Firm. Contact me at .

Monday, December 15, 2014

Victorian "restyling" Can you spot the original?

 One of the things about my work as a restoration consultant is I travel quite a bit and often come across old homes subject to restyling's done in the Victorian era that often make me wonder what they were they thinking? Few realize that the Victorians were very much about keeping up with the Jones's

I had to do a double take as I spied this one . A huge house that I spotted first due to its color and of course, hoping it represents some restoration and not further remuddling as its had more than its share. Do you see the original home? I have outlined the original in this photo to guide you.

The 'Big Victorian" was actually a second empire cottage that  was restyled to be a big Victorian
 2 1/2story. Add year of other changes made to turn it into apartments and only a keen eye will spot what was originally there. So next time you look at that Victorian and something doesn't seem quite right, maybe that Queen Anne isn't a Queen Ann after all.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Antique-of-the-Week: Parlor Grade Walnut Table

Tables, that haven't been shorted to make coffee tables (or painted in 'chippy" paint) are getting harder to find so we are happy to offer the very nice Walnut Eastlake influenced Formal Parlor Grade table.

We especially like the top design with its stepped back edges and the legs show the real spirit of the Victorian design ethic. While still delicate this table has a substantial feel and would work especially well in a formal parlor or gentleman's smoking room.

Priced at 250.00 this table is ready to use. We are not offering shipping but this item can be picked up in person or we can work with your blanket shipper on delivery. More info contact me at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Antique of the Week: A Great Stained Glass Window

We just have a hard time getting in stained glass. In part because its hard to find and two because we only buy it from trusted sources.  So today we have a special treat.

Top Sash
This is a huge stained glass window, that came from Central Illinois. Actually two sashes/one window overall although they could be used separately depending on your application. The bottom sash is 39x40 and has two condition issues. One pane has BB hole in it, and one pane needs to be refitted in its cane.  The top sash is 39 x 39 and is in good condition. In a functional frame with weights this would work out to a 39x78 size (Because of the way the windows come together for the locking mechanism) . AND it still has the window lock on it.

Bottom sash
Building a window frame unit is not that difficult and a number of window sash rebuilders can actually build you a functional frame. This would be ideal in a tower or maybe a landing and of course these could be hung in front of an existing regular window.

Specially priced to Blog readers at 425.00 (Cash Paypal, Major credit cards) This will be going on Ebay soon (where it will bring a much higher price) So if you need a window for your home, hurry! Contact me at As always you can pick this up or we can work with blanket shippers of your choice.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

City DRIVES OUT homeowner/restorer in Price Hill..CALL CITY HALL!

Everyone knows this happens every day in this city. People come to Cincinnati to restore a house and live in it and make a difference and the city inspection services makes their life a living hell and they just give up. On Ebay, right now, someone has thrown in the towel and is selling their home at a loss BECAUSE of city inspections. The owner will lose tens of thousands of dollars and this property will likely be picked up by some slumlord who will NOT do the right thing . Ebay listing here

What makes this SAD and makes me OUTRAGED is this is DRIVING AWAY someone trying to do the right thing. I feel his hurt, his anguish, and his sense of frustration, as someone still in a battle to save my community. I want you to CALL CITY HALL, email the city council. Raise hell, call the Enquirer to investigate, and support this man who is trying to do the right thing but his like is being destroyed by city inspections. The City of Cincinnati should be ASHAMED of the way this man is being treated! You cannot grow a city with a city government who is driving people away. Maybe , just maybe, we can stop this from happening

I urge you to read what he says in this listing and put yourself in his shoes:

"I'm throwing in the towel -going back to a cardboard box in the woods Here is my dream house -cute bungalow , that still needs work , hardwood floors , new roof, lots of new remodeling ,solid ,but still needs a handyman -I bought the house last year from a bank ,paid cash $20,000 +, I started getting it ready for me to move in and city started fining me for old civil issues from previous owners ,requested a hearing because the issues didn't even exist, trashy yard, dangerous/dilapidated garage etc , -there is no garage by the way. People were living there previously,but hadn't been paying the bills and let the house completely run down . I had removed all the old roofs ,rebuilt the decking ,and installed new 30 yr roof, put in attic stairs , enlarged the bathroom, rebuilt kitchen and bath floors , replumbed ,and was making most other repairs ,but city just kept doubling and tripling civil fines. Still had work to do to make a nice house . I refuse to pay for crimes I didn't commit. Taxes are fully paid , and I doubt I can sell this house for a 10th of what the city claims it is worth ,I put a copy of the tax bill on here so you can see all the crap your taxes pay for, I just paid about $1700 for the tax bill also .I would have to quit work and devote a month to get it reduced ,or pay a lawyer. there are no bills due whatsoever on the property, I own free and clear and will convey such ,may not be long before I start getting liens as I am not paying civil fines .Please review crime statistics for Price hill area ,if you like city life -this is for you . Only about 1 in 10 people are victims in this area.. how bad can it be . Most of the murders and stuff have been on other streets . You do have a few nice neighbors, I regret just giving up , with $35,000 cash invested , but I can't keep chasing a dead horse. You would think when a man with no criminal record goes into a neighborhood , hires the unemployed to work , starts fixing up property ,trying to be a good neighbor, and making a home . Local government would want to do everything possible to assist , not fine -fee -and harass . . By the time I would be able to move in , I would have paid the city the cost of the house . I'm gone -joining the ranks of homeless criminals ."