This (Old) New House

Designers took their time sourcing architectural antiques from across the globe to make this Ft. Mitchell house a showstopper.

It’s not easy to make a new house look like it’s been around for decades. But this Ft. Mitchell home, built in the early 2010s, is deceptive like that. It took a whopping five years to take the property from empty lot to European-inspired fruition, in part, seller Maureen Gerner says, because it was purposely “built to look old.” To achieve that perfectly timeless appeal, the owners enlisted the help of Drawing Dept., a collaborative Oakley-based architectural practice.

The architects sourced antiques from across the world, shipping in eight-foot mahogany doors from a manor house in Italy, etched glass from France, and wrought iron from Argentina. And the authentic vintage details aren’t just for decoration. The solid-wood beams in the kitchen, for instance, actually hold up the house. Construction itself took two years, but all that hard work paid off. In 2012, the property took home a coveted Cincinnati Design Award for its outdoor living space.

Built with entertaining in mind, the home features a kitchen that takes “chef’s dream” to a whole new level with two spacious islands and not one, not two, but three Wolf ovens. Gathering space flows seamlessly from the inside out, spilling from the screened porch onto the terraced stone patio and then into the perfectly private backyard. It’s a Mediterranean-influenced dream of an outdoor living space, anchored by a waterfall-fed pool.

Entertaining might be the obvious next step in a house like this, but designers were careful to make sure the home felt cozy and livable. Walk out of the primary bedroom and onto a private, screened-in porch, enjoy a soak in the copper bathtub, and settle in for the evening in front of the wood-burning fireplace in the family room. Gerner didn’t spare the slightest detail in the two walk-in closets, which feature abundant built-in storage, dedicated shoe spaces, and a special sit-down vanity room with custom-made jewelry drawers. It’s a new(ish) house, sure. But it’s chock full of both old-world class and modern sensibilities.


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