By Erin Kilberg & Ali Chidester
This Italianate Victorian style house was once a farmhouse, with more than 50 acres of land. The house was built in 1867 for A. C. Neave, who is listed in the 1878 Cincinnati Directory as a part-owner of Neave, Ward and Co. “Importers and Dealers in Saddlery Hardware and Carriage Trimmings” at 37-39 Main Street downtown. The second known owners were members of the Rawson family. Cincinnati Victorian architect James McLaughlin recorded in his account book in 1898 designing a porch–undoubtedly the current porch–for Edward Rawson. Sisters Marion and Dorothy Rawson then lived in the house for the entirety of their lives. Marion was a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, which she attended to receive an architecture degree; she later pursued a career in archeology and both sisters worked with famous UC archaeologist Carl Blegen. Marion especially, was a pioneering, woman archaeologist who taught in the Classics Department at the University of Cincinnati. Se left the estate to the University in her will when she died in 1980. Jack Brand Development bought the property from the University, and the land was divided. The current owners purchased the house, with .5 acres, in 2012. Though extensive renovations are being done, many of the original elements of this historic home remain intact and are being preserved.
While the house was built in the later 1860s, additions and updates to the interior spanned the next 30 years. The original architect is unknown. The house is set far back from Clifton Avenue and the current owners have removed hedges and greenery that was once there to open up the farmhouse to the street. The house has a cruciform plan. Typical of the Italianate style, the front façade features an outset gable, shallow roofs, bracketed eaves, a bay window, and a bulls-eye window. The Victorian spindle-style porch is a handsome addition to the house dating, as mentioned previously, to the late 1890s. Both the cream yellow and dark green paint are traditional colors for this style home.
The entrance is defined by grand, original double doors that lead into a front vestibule. Once inside, the Victorian, cantilevered stair commands attention with its spindle balusters and octagonal newel post. The newel post is composed of walnut and rosewood. Under the stair is an 1848-49 Cincinnati safe. Left of the entryway is the parlor. It exhibits a variety of different window types including a walk-out window, a bay window, and a smaller, Tudor Revival window. The walk-out window contains a double hung sash that reaches to the floor to allow air flow and passage to the porch. Additional daylight enters the space through the large bay window. The smaller, Tudor revival window with diamond leading is set higher in the wall, which allows for space under it for furniture. The Tudor-style window is not original to the house and probably dates to c. 1910-1920. On axis with the bay window, on the interior wall, is a fireplace and original over mantle mirror. Dating back to the 1870’s or 1880’s, the mirror contains Neo-Grec classical motifs with gilded ornamentation, an elaborate cornice, and a central cartouche. The fireplace is cast iron with a coal burning grate. The shallow firebox and coal grate support the theory that the fireplace was updated in the 1870’s. In the center of the room on the ceiling is an original plaster medallion. The current owners have gilded it. Around the ceiling is a simple cornice; it has a picture rail where art would have been hung.
Adjacent to the parlor is what the current owners are using as a breakfast nook. This space is adjacent to a fully updated kitchen. Originally this space could have served a number of different functions, potentially as a servants’ space or a pantry.
Beyond the kitchen, is a second space with an unclear history. It is now an informal living room. The room has an original chimney with a wooden mantle that has been moved from one of the upstairs bedrooms.
The next space on the tour is a small closet nestled under the stairs that the current owners are updating into a half-bath. Directly across from the stair is the original dining space. Similar to the parlor, the space is ornamented with a fireplace and an original ceiling medallion. The fireplace has also been updated in succession from wood burning to coal burning, and most recently gas, but the original firedogs remain. The tile surround is a variegated, blue Rookwood tile. The ceiling medallion indicates the original location of a chandelier. The medallion depicts corn and fruit, appropriate for a dining room. Mimicking the parlor, there is a double-hung sash walkout window to allow access to the porch. All the doors in the house, including those in the dining room, are original, six-panel Italianate style dating from the 1860s.
The current owners have made substantial additions, including a utility room, a three-car garage, a water closet, and a secondary living space. Though the additions were considerable, the new portions are to the rear of the house and echo the original character of the house. The house has seen many technological advances and has been adapted to accommodate new standards of modern living.
House on Evening Star Lane
This handsome, Mid-Century-Modern house was designed in 1957 by architect Walter F. Sheblessy for himself. Sheblessy developed Evening Star Lane on the gardens of the Samuel Taft estate; his own house was the first to be built. He designed five of the other Modernist houses on the street. Evening Star Lane forms a rare, Modernist enclave within the predominately traditional architectural context of Clifton.
Sheblessy (1910-95, with architecture degrees from UC and MIT) designed the house very specifically to accommodate itself to the topography and views, and to the garden features of the earlier Taft estate. The entrance front of the house to the north is more closed and private, while the garden front to the south is far more open and overlooks the lovely remains of the Taft gardens, with stepped stone terraces, concrete columns from an old Taft pergola, and spectacular views of the Mill Creek Valley. The exterior composition of the house, characteristic of Modernism, is long and low; the public spaces are in the center, while diagonally to the left is an open carport that terminates in a detached, studio-guestroom wing. To the right is the bedroom wing. The exterior composition expresses the multiple levels and functions of the spaces within. The central block, containing the public rooms, has shallow, sloped roofs resting on exposed beams; the carport / studio wing has flat roofs, while the bedroom wing is higher and has shallow, curved roofs, also with exposed beams. The exterior walls have elegant, patterned brick veneers; the brickwork of the house was originally a pinkish-salmon color that the current owners have painted in subtle, monochrome grays.
One moves through the entry foyer into the grand, open-plan, public spaces of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Floor-to-ceiling windows, with wrap-around, butt-joined corners like those of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, offer spectacular views toward the southern slope of the gardens. The ceilings are high and beamed, with beautiful, exposed wood decking. The public spaces are in the diagonal juncture of the plan, with several angled walls. The living area is focussed around a giant, brick chimney and fireplace. Window-doors in both the living and dining areas open out onto expansive wooden decks, effectively blurring the lines between inside and out. The current owners have done extensive work on both the house and gardens with assistance from architect Fritz Kuhlmann and landscape designer John DeVore. Adjacent to the entry, they removed a small, triangular study and added a skylight which serves both to light the interiors and open them more to the kitchen, which was sympathetically remodeled. The public spaces originally had wood-paneled walls which the owners removed in order to further lighten the interiors.
The right-hand wing is split-level, with the bedrooms up a few steps, while down a few steps is a basement recreation room that the Riches have finished; it opens directly into the gardens. The bedroom wing above, has curving, wood ceilings and exposed, wood laminate beams. The current owners combined two smaller bedrooms to create a master suite with a lovely, remodeled bath. A cantilevered balcony, also recalling Frank Lloyd Wright, juts from the end of the wing. All walls stop short of the curving ceilings to allow continuous views and a sense of Modernist open planning to permeate even the bedrooms.
The current owners have furnished the house with appropriate Modernist furniture and art. The dining furniture is Scandinavian Modern; the living room furniture is in an elegant and understated modern idiom with a small glass and chrome table by Modernist designer Eileen Gray. On walls shared by the living and dining areas are Higgins glass “rondelets” by artist Brenda Tarbell and a modern painting by artist Kay Hurley. In the hallway of the bedroom wing are prints by contemporary artist Shepard Fairey and prints by popular, Mid-Century Cincinnati artist Charlie Harper. The house, with its gardens, furnishings and artworks, creates a beautiful and highly consistent Modernist environment.
House on Woolper
By Laura Kageorge and Jared Powell
This grand, 20th-century English Tudor Revival house sits prominently above the street. Detailed with medieval vernacular elements, the exterior of the lower story is clad in red brick while the upper stories are of medieval heavy timber with off-white infill. The house has two projecting gables; both have centered quatrefoil motifs. The gable to the left contains an oriel window; the entry porch is between the two. Medieval canted chimneys with beautiful brick detailing emerge from the roof.
The exact date of this house is somewhat unclear, but it probably dates between 1898 and 1907. A house existed in this block in 1898, but perhaps not the current house. The property was owned by Samuel M. Richardson, chief financial officer of the Westwood Brick Company, which was owned by James N. Gamble (of Procter and Gamble). In 1907, Cincinnati architect James Gilmore (1875-1962) designed a house for Richardson in this block that cost $7,000, a large sum of money for that date. The current house resembles other documented houses by Gilmore in East Walnut Hills and elsewhere; he seems often to have employed similar compositions with twin gables and de-emphasized centers. Stylistically, the 1907 date seems more likely for the house than the earlier date of 1898. [Information in this paragraph from: notes from the current owners conveyed in the 2015 Clifton House Tour informational emails; and notes from the digital Cincinnati Architecture Database of architectural historian Walter E. Langsam. For additional information on architect James Gilmore, see Langsam’s Biographical Dictionary of Cincinnati Architects (on line; maintained on the website of the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati)].
Entry to the house brings one through the front porch into a small vestibule that then opens into a grand entry hall. A “U”-shaped oak staircase anchors the entry; it has square columns and spindles that act as a screen. The walls are of plaster, painted gold. To the left of the stairs is a majestic, 19th century grandfather clock with elaborate ornamentation. Opposite the stairs is a quaint alcove with a bench.
Through double pocket doors to the right is a parlor with a collection of neoclassical furnishings. Behind a column screen, an inglenook with small alcoves on either side contains a fireplace with a Georgian style mantelpiece. White Tuscan columns on simple bases support molded soffits in the coffered ceiling above. Two leather-upholstered sofas center the room. These rest upon an oriental rug, one of many throughout the house. On the right stands a Steinway baby grand piano. Leaded, diamond-paned windows bring light into the room from behind. To the left is a prominent, Elizabethan-style desk beneath a window overlooking the back yard. Classical, symmetrical cabinets housing the owner’s collection of Rookwood pottery are located on either side of the entry to the parlor.
In the upstairs hall hangs a large brass chandelier. The newels of the stair railing are ornamented with wooden urns. Early 20th-century, mother of pearl, push button light switches are located in the upper hall as well as an antique speaking tube and blown glass doorknobs.
The master bedroom contains Victorian, Chesterfield style sofas and a late Victorian wardrobe with a cherry finish and beveled glass. Opposite the bed is a built-in window alcove with a bench, to the left of which is a recessed fireplace alcove with a shallow arch and turned wooden corner guards. The second bedroom contains a chair, grand wardrobe, and bed, all in late Victorian, Eastlake style. The chair is upholstered in the original horse-hair and the bed is made of burled walnut.
The third bedroom has been converted into a family room with an elaborate, 20th-century, medieval style brass chandelier and a prominent fireplace. Recessed in a shallow alcove, the fireplace is adorned with wood columns and built-in bookshelves with decorative glass. Studded metal plates protect the floor in front of the hearth. The room also holds some of the owner’s personal collection of John Rettig paintings.
The fourth bedroom is furnished with a Victorian, half tester bed, an Eastlake chair, and a dresser with a mirror supported by two obelisks.
In the hall is a decorative metal light. The bathroom contains a marble tub and shower, black and white mosaic tiles, and a marble sink. The tight, winding back stairs lead from the upstairs hall to the first floor hallway and open into the kitchen and service area. Here is the receiving end of the antique speaking tube as well as an antique telephone. The kitchen ceiling is of painted tin that was added by a previous owner. The kitchen is separated from the dining room by a pantry with a door to keep the kitchen smells and serving staff hidden from the dining room. Along the back is built-in pine shelving with glass-paned doors. Perpendicular to the shelving is a built-in wooden counter with an early copper sink.
The dining room has a deep, beamed ceiling and oak wainscoting. Views to the front yard are seen through the oriel window. Opposite the window is a grand, burled pine firebox surrounded by brick, forming a shallow arch that is ornamented with foliate brackets and Tudor Roses. Built-in shelves have glass doors with a leaded circle pattern. A large, Cincinnati-built, medieval style sideboard with custom brass studded hinges, a beveled mirror, and baluster-supported shelving add a medieval touch to the room. A Jacobean style table and chairs, upholstered in English Arts and Crafts “Strawberry Thief” fabric designed by William Morris add a mix of textiles to the room, which also contains one of the many oriental rugs.
This posting contains a write up and a single photo of another house on the Clifton House Tour. We’re not giving the address away, but you get a lot of interesting reading below.
Read more general info about the tour and buy tickets here.
The first reveal can be found at this article.
By Jin Hyun Lee, Katherine Dunton
This house was built in the late 1960s by SCHOLZ HOMES Incorporated. The architectural style is Midcentury Modern, which is characterized by horizontal compositions, large glass windows, open plans, simplicity, and integration with nature. The original owners were the Encrot family. Steven and Mary Martin are the present owners, having purchased the house in 2003. This house is located on a portion of the old Samuel Taft estate; the area around this house was near the greenhouse and the outdoor gardens, within which the current owners have created a pond. This house, as with others on the street, was designed for expansive views. The exterior of the house has a low profile and symmetrical layout, with a gabled entryway and diagonal wings on each side. The front door is set within two, square, stained glass windows. The house also has a deep roof overhang and exposed beams that run front to back in the central pavilion. The exterior is clad in brick and stone. Scholz Homes was founded in 1946 by Donald J. Scholz of Toledo, Ohio. The company specialized in luxury residential designs and grew to become one of America’s largest home-builders in the 1950s and 1960s. Scholz specialized in luxury residential design because soldiers were returning from WWII and wanted elegant homes. Donald Scholz was influenced by both Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. This, combined with his appreciation of nature, drove the design of his California-style, contemporary ranch homes. Key features of Scholz homes included strong horizontal lines, vibrant colors for the interiors, spacious open plans, cathedral ceilings, ample windows, rear patios partially covered by overhanging roofs, sleek and modern kitchens, and high-end appliances. This house possesses many of these features including horizontal lines, an open plan, ample windows, and a covered rear patio. A fieldstone entry transitions into hardwood floors throughout the first level, installed by the current owners to replace wall-to-wall shag carpeting. Exposed beams accent the ceilings. In the central portion of the house is a formal living and dining room. The living area is sunken, indicating a change of function within the open plan. Down the hall to the right one observes a bedroom/office space, then the bathroom, which occupies the angle formed by the diagonal wing, creating a unique room shape. A second bedroom is on the right. At the end of the hall is the master bedroom. The current owners combined two bedrooms to create a master suite with a large bathroom and walk-in closet. In the left wing is the kitchen. Walking through the dining room to the kitchen the wood flooring changes direction to echo the diagonals of the floor plan. The current owners completely updated the kitchen, including adding a skylight. Beyond the kitchen is an informal family room and the stairs leading to the basement. The basement was finished by the current owner and functions as a workout space in one area and a more formal office space in the other. The basement office opens into the backyard at ground level. This elegant house features prominently amongst its modernist neighbors on the Lane.
On April 12 at 4pm, Clifton will celebrate the dedication of the Probasco Fountain in it’s new location. The fountain has been cleaned, refurbished, and is now adorned with new lighting and a new water feature on top. The effort to pick a new location for the fountain was the work of a CTM Committee comprised of Trustees, members, and representatives from the City of Cincinnati. They did an outstanding job. Please join in the festivities on April 12 at the fountain. Henry Probasco is making a return appearance for the ceremony.
In order to gather information from the Clifton community that allows response to developers with a clear and unified voice, Ludlow 21 Working Group published a survey online at Survey Monkey in January 2015. Running for a month, the survey collected responses from over 310 participants and formed a picture of the preferences we share for a revitalized and enduring neighborhood and business district. Click Ludlow 21 Citizens Survey to view the survey results as presented on February 17, 2015, at the Ludlow 21 Working Group public meeting at Clifton Recreation Center.”
Clifton resident Paul Buckley volunteered his time to do the analysis of the survey results. This is notable because Paul is an expert in this area. Paul is a retired survey research professional who has worked in the following capacities:
Senior Scientist at National Opinion Research Center at U. of Chicago
Director of Operations at Abt Associates, a commercial survey firm
Research for Dept of Education, Dept of Justice, Centers for Disease Control, Business and Non-profits.
On January 20, 2015, various people from Clifton got together to have a third round of discussions on the Ludlow 21 report. The discussion included a presentation from Eye Candy on how to do branding – a key recommendation from the Ludlow 21 report. Eye Candy has awarded the The Ludlow 21 Working Group 40 hours of work towards branding the Clifton Business District. You can read Eye Candy’s press release on the award. The notes from the public forum can be found at Link to January Notes from Wall.
The Ludlow 21 Working Group is made up of members of the community including CPBA, CTM Trustees, and Uptown Consortium. You can click on Ludlow 21 Report to read the report. Community feedback is welcomed. Please send it to CTM and put Ludlow 21 Feedback in the subject line.
The Working Group has also created a survey and requested a response from all community members. Click here to go to the survey.
The next public discussion on the Ludlow 21 report will be February 17.
Clifton Town Meeting has joined the social media world of Twitter. You can follow us @CliftonTownMeet or press the button in this posting.
The CRC which has been undergoing significant renovations will have a grand reopening event on Jan 27th. Details can be found at the CRC Website.
During the January meeting, Clifton Town Meeting Trustees elected a new set of Officers that will be the Executive Committee for 2015. The new Officers are as follows:
President – Tony Sizemore
Vice President – Adam Hyland
Vice President – Joyce Rich
Treasurer – Michael Moran
Secretary – Kevin Marsh
Officers are allowed to serve in the same capacity only for two consecutive years before they are term limited.
During the January CTM meeting, Trustees agreed to form the following Committees lead by the noted Chairpersons:
|Housing and Zoning
|Clifton Plaza LLC
||Tony Sizemore & Michael Moran
In addition, two “Ad Hoc” Committees were formed:
|Ad Hoc Committees
|Evaluation of trash cans on Ludlow
Some of the Committee are new for 2015 as Clifton Town Meeting seeks to focus more on specific areas in the Community. All Committees can include participation by residents. If you want to join in, please send an email to Clifton Town Meeting expressing your interests. We will get you connected.
Zoning Code Changing in Clifton – How It Will Affect You – and What You Can Still Do About It
10 Second Summary
The City is rewriting the zoning code which will have a major effect on everyone who lives, works, or owns property in Cincinnati. You can learn how the proposed rules will affect Clifton and specifically your own property or residence. You can read the draft version and suggest changes before it becomes law. Clifton Town Meeting (CTM), your neighborhood community council, is conducting its own review, but also relies on all residents to educate themselves and provide thoughtful comments both to its Housing and Zoning Committee and to the City Planning Department.
What does the code do and why should I care?
The City is in the middle of rewriting the zoning code, which governs most of what shapes the look and feel of a community. The “code” protects residents from incompatible uses of property, as, for example, preventing your next door neighbor from opening a bar with outdoor seating under your bedroom window. It also tells your neighbor where in the city she may expect to set up her new business without hindrance from nearby property owners (typically permissible in an established business district).
In addition to controlling usage, the code influences the look and feel of a community by establishing parameters for the architectural elements of a structure and where it is located vis-a-vis the boundaries of the lot where it is located and the characteristics of other structures nearby. For example, you can build a large apartment building in a zone which is designated for high-density residential use, but not among people’s homes in a single-family housing zone. Even though both kinds of buildings have the same use, i.e., residential housing, the scale and weight of each type is quite different.
You can thank the code’s regulatory structure for balancing the various needs a community has for the land within its borders. The zoning code provides, perhaps more than any other factor, the control over the look and feel of the environment that makes Clifton the delightful neighborhood we share and love. If you own real estate, the code has a major role in determining its desirability and thus protecting its value as an investment.
How can I learn what the new code says?
The City has posted the current draft, called Revision Two of the Land Development Code. You will also find links to maps and charts summarizing the changes and even a search box that will guide you to the details affecting any street address. Here is the current Zoning Code so that you may read what’s there before any proposed changes are included.
How can I influence the final version?
The site includes a form for comments and a number to call for help finding the information you are seeking. CTM would like to know if you plan to submit a suggested change and will consider incorporating it its review for submission to the City. Please email your suggested changes to the Housing and Zoning Committee.
What’s the timeline?
January 30 is the date by which the City has asked for all comments to be submitted for consideration in the next revision. The City will publish the next revision (3rd Draft) will later this year for public comments.