Tiny Row House, Big Renovation

An 1845 row house in Over-the-Rhine holds on to its history with a modern twist.
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The fully refurbished living room decorated with historical and custom pieces.

Photographs courtesy Sarah Crabtree / Coldwell Banker Realty

Margy Waller, the former property owner and lead renovator of this two-bedroom, one-bath, teal-painted beauty, wanted to recreate the home’s original look from the inside out. “The historic front door was recreated to resemble more historic doors on other Magnolia Street rowhouses,” she says. “The paint color was painstakingly chosen and after 10 coats of various blues, we think it’s right.”

Photographs courtesy Sarah Crabtree / Coldwell Banker Realty

Picking the paint color wasn’t the only part of the renovation process that was long and involved. “When I bought the house in 2013, it had been empty for a few years and had some water damage,” she says. “We spent a year working with a contractor specializing in historic renovations [8K Construction] and a group of local artists.”

The team committed to a few rules during the project. First, and most important, save the history. During the process, everyone would reuse or salvage materials, or work with local artisans and makers to rebuild what could not be saved. Failing that, the team pledged to find American makers and buy local as much as possible. And of course, no IKEA.

Photographs courtesy Sarah Crabtree / Coldwell Banker Realty

Almost anything in the house that is not from the original 1840s building has been custom made. Much of the wood is either original or salvaged from other buildings in Over-the-Rhine that were built between the 1840s and 1860s.

Tile art, featured in the kitchen and bathroom, was commissioned from Rick Wolf of Wolf Custom Tile & Design. The bathroom features a quilted mosaic made of salvaged tile and recycled glass. Even more impressive is the whimsical kitchen backsplash, which is an 1842 map of the city with places like Findlay Market, Music Hall, and Fountain Square highlighted with special colorful tiles.

Photographs courtesy Sarah Crabtree / Coldwell Banker Realty

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