Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cincinnati Time Capsule houses

I was going through photos yesterday and came across these. These photos were of a house we looked at last year in our quest for a home in Cincinnati. I wont disclose the location,Or show pictures of the exterior, in this blog as I assume it still sits in the same condition. Our realtor had lined this house up for us to look at as she understood we were "not afraid" of houses that needed "EVERYTHING". The house was overpriced for its condition and the work it would need but I decided to take a look anyway.

Basically the house has been closed up in the late 1960's/early 1970's and had sat for 40 years untouched. I didn't get the whole story but I suspect someone might have died and the family couldn't bear to get rid of it. Every old house has a story.
I have to tell you that most houses we look at have often suffered the indignities of countess remodels and many once grand homes look more like something out of HGTV that will be dated in a few years. Cincinnati probably has more time capsules like this one than anywhere else in the country.

We anguished over taking on a huge historic restoration and this house had one BIG drawback. A billboard on its roof with a pretty much iron clad contract for several years. Cincinnati is one of the FEW cities in the nation now that hasn't enacted Billboard legislation to remove these eyesores from historic areas But I will revisit that rant some other time.
You get an odd feeling when you see a house like this, untouched for decades. The homes Elaborate ceiling medallions and crown mouldings still intact. A grand staircase winding its way up three floors and a servants staircase at the back. Pocket doors everywhere! You can imagine the day when the "help" served dinner and then went upstairs to pull down the covers for the evening. Homes like this standing in their shabby elegance are a rare look back. Her inlayed banded floors once gleamed and her fireplaces once exuded warmth. You often wonder what life was like back then for those lucky enough to afford such a lifestyle.

The house "spoke' to me, much in the same way our Second Empire Cottage does. It whispered "save me, restore me to what I once was". After a few days of thought and serious number crunching we decided to make an offer. Only to learn that the seller had sold the house to the Billboard Company for far less than we would have gladly paid.

And so she sits a Grand Victorian Lady waiting for the day when......

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...the bulldozers come.

We missed buying a house like that by about two hours as another offer was excepted - for less by a wannabe remodeler. The house had been cut up into apartments. Everything was added on to or covered up or built around, the 1898 house was basically intact under it all. The new owner ripped out everything, all bathrooms - tile/fixtures, all fireplaces, all stained/leaded glass which had been boarded over in the 40's, did that awful textured ceiling over everything, removed a perfectly good slate roof (we had it inspected), painted the brick, put glass block windows in the curved tower windows where perfectly good curved windows were, filled in the adjoining lot with construction debris, got rid of the garage that contained all the parts of the house that had been removed when converted to apts. Then the guy had marital problems, sold the house and moved back with his father. Damage done. Too bad.

Thanks for the post/pictures.