A Charming 1935 Remodel in Ft. Thomas

The formula for a successful renovation? Keeping original details, then adding modern elements and a fresh style.

431 South Grand Avenue

Photograph courtesy of Neltner Realty

Built in 1935, this five-bedroom, five-bathroom American Foursquare is located in the heart of Ft. Thomas, a charming Northern Kentucky suburb with a walkable main drag. The home channels its own charm, too. A previous owner had split the house and made it a two-family, building a large addition at the rear, but owner Heather Neltner says, “When we purchased the home, we wanted to bring it back to its original glory.” That meant removing the second-story entrance and matching the brick to patch up the hole. But that was just the beginning. Neltner’s aim was to “update the style and function for the next owners,” and she started at the front door.

Photograph courtesy of Neltner Realty

Painted teal, it’s a focal point for an inviting front porch with lots of room for a swing and a couple of chairs. Inside, the entry is spacious, with original French doors that open up to the dining room, which features a tiled fireplace. While there’s no open floor plan here, the dining room and living room are connected by wide pocket door openings. The original hardwood floors continue into the living room, which features a beamed ceiling (yup, they’re original) and plenty of natural light. Neltner notes that part of preserving the original charm, all of the wood flooring was completely refinished and stained with a dark finish, pocket doors were cleaned and painted, and stained-glass windows were kept.

The kitchen sits at the back of the home and is the most evidently renovated room. “The kitchen was so small and dark before, but now it’s easily our favorite room in the house,” says Neltner. “We completely renovated the addition on the back and turned it into an oversized kitchen to really maximize the space.” Sleek cabinets with gold accents, lantern-style pendant lights, stainless appliances, and granite countertops make the kitchen a standout room in the home. “We wanted to keep the space bright and airy,” Neltner says. “So we went with light, neutral colors throughout.” The original kitchen was tiny, and barely functional, but it’s been given a new life as a bright, spacious laundry room, separated from the kitchen by a sliding glass-paneled barn door.

Photograph courtesy of Neltner Realty

Upstairs, on the second and third floors, are five bedrooms and bathrooms with crisp white cabinets, hexagon tile, and walk-in shower areas. In the master suite, a walk-in closet offers ample storage space. The third floor has a full bath as well as two bedrooms, making it a great option for a home office or family play space. In this case, reverting to the original plan (with a few updates) gives this home a new life.

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