Best of the City 2008

Humanitarian Action

Every spa boasts about thoughtful customer service. But last fall, Woodhouse Day Spa—an elegant place with a reputation for Old World customer service—lived up to their claims. When the September wind storm knocked out power in much of the city, the spa was spared. So employees contacted customers and invited them to come in, charge their cell phones, and take hot showers. And after a week without electricity…ahhhhh. 9370 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, (513) 891-4772

Mr. Fix-It

Joe Wallace (a.k.a. “The House Guy”) and his crew have made a small industry of the domestic chores and “honey-do” tasks the rest of us would much rather, well, hire someone else to do. They have cleaned the home of a harried Clifton couple, power washed and sealed the deck of an absentee homeowner in Northside, mowed lawns and landscaped all over town, and will even tuck-point your chimney and paint your walls. They’ll become regulars if you need ’em. And let’s face it, most of us do. (513) 325-2052

Personal Stylist

Laurie Wilson of the L. Wilson Group is more Tim Gunn than Stacy London. “My gift is that I can look at someone, and after talking to them about their lifestyle, make some pretty good recommendations,” says Wilson. “If someone tries on a piece and it’s not right, I tell them. I’m not paid to lie, but I think there’s a gentle way to share information.” As well as shopping with clients, Wilson performs closet audits to challenge them to put things together a little differently. “We wear about 20 percent of what’s in our closets,” she notes, “and the rest is just there to keep it company.” Sad but true.

Diaper Service

When Amy and PJ Hruschak of Liberty Township learned they’d be welcoming a bundle of joy, they started looking for a local diaper service, only to discover there wasn’t one. And thus Good Natured Baby was born. Here’s how it works: Your first delivery is clean diapers (and yes, they’ll show you how to use them). After that, you put out the dirties every week, and they’re picked up and replaced with more clean diapers. The best news? Cloth-diapered babies potty-train earlier. That is definitely a load off. (513) 348-2727,

Homework Help

Book reports, science projects, the agony of pre-calculus…the Public Library of Cincinnati has it covered with Homework Central at the main branch: computers and printers, free school supplies, and tutors—many of them UC students—who run group sessions and offer one-on-one guidance for students K–6th grade. The idea is to give students “whatever they need” to succeed, says Homework Central manager Miriam McKenney. It’s open weekends, too, so there are no more dog-ate-my-homework Mondays. 800 Vine St., downtown, (513) 369-3121

Stained Glass Repair

The kids are horsing around and before you know it, your prized Tiffany floor lamp—the one your grandmother gave you—is in pieces. Fear not. Claiming to be the longest continually operating stained glass studio in the country, the BeauVerre/Riordan Studios restoration artists have been replacing damaged stained glass since 1838. Given up on a broken piece? BeauVerre/Riordan even sells creations of its own, like a door-sized replica of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. 1054 Central Ave., Middletown, (513) 425-7312,

Historic Home Restorer

Suffering from dry rot in your ornamental brackets? Hip roof sagging? Call Gus Thierry of ICS Building Restoration, a building contractor and craftsman whose mission is to preserve a home’s integrity and historical significance. (You can spot his work throughout the Clifton Gaslight district.) With more than 25 years of experience, Thierry is regarded by preservationists and home-owners alike as a real stud (OK, we’ll stop now). (513) 658-9485,

Shoe Shine

Bill Jones doesn’t twirl his shoe-buffing brush or flip his can of wax and catch it in his back pocket. He’s not that showy. And that doesn’t matter, because after he’s finished, your shoes will shine like glass. Jones is 64 years old and has been shining shoes since he was 12. He uses no synthetic sprays or cleaning fluids (“they dry the leather out,” he insists). The tools of his trade are water and Lincoln Stain Wax, the best there is—just like Jones. At Kings Court Hair Design, 44 E. Court St., downtown

Design Services

HighStreet is retail nirvana, but its design services—from art direction to interior and product design and consulting services—push it still higher. Forward-thinking businesses and residents feel the same way: The American Building, Procter & Gamble, Lofts on Broadway, and Pendleton Pilates, among others, have tapped into the seemingly unlimited resources (the five-member HighStreet Design team), luxe brands (Designers Guild), and the talent of local artists (Matt Kotlarczyk’s luminous chandeliers). 1401 Reading Rd., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 723-1901

Tattoo Artist

In a severely inked-up, testosterone-fueled field, ink-free Ryonen Ignatius is an anomaly. This gifted tattooist spends as much time prepping, including getting to know her canvas, as actually applying art. She brandishes her needles more as wands of cathartic body art than as the relentless electric jabs they become after two-plus hours of getting one of her famous memorial portraits. Her bartending background (listening calms the whiners) and DAAP fine arts degree (she mastered color theory, typography, and figure drawing) catapult Ignatius to queen among the Queen City’s tattooists. Many dabble in ink but few are artists. True Blue Tattoo, 2601 Vine St., Clifton, (513) 221-8783

Bikini Wax

There’s nothing particularly relaxing (or fun) about having unwanted hair ripped out with hot wax, especially when it’s in the oh-so-sensitive bikini area. So get it over with as quickly as possible. Alesia Buttrey, an esthetician educator who has 30 years experience in bikini waxing (her specialty is the take-it-all-off Brazilian), will get you beach ready in less than 15 minutes for less than $65 (most salons charge close to $80). Seriously. “I can charge less because I’m so fast,” she says. “Other salons book an hour, so they charge more. The most Brazilians I’ve done in one day is 26 and I’d like to beat that.” Shiver. Heavenly Bodies Skincare, 3608 Marburg Ave., East Hyde Park, (513) 321-8252

Car Storage

We know. Not everyone is going to need a place to store their car when they’re out of the country for a couple of years. But if you do, the Car Barn Garage can take care of your baby. They’ll keep the battery charged, the parts lubricated, the engine started, and they’ll move it around—responsibly, not like the garage guys in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—to make sure that everything’s still in working order when you return. All for $65 a month, six months and up. Beats shipping your ride to Dubai. 316 Kinsey Ave., Mt. Auburn, (513) 621-5507

Hair Stylists

Curly: Laura Hughes, Tanya’s Image & Wellness Salon

Hughes has a full head of tight ringlets herself, which means she can be trusted to trim yours with care. “Clients come to me desperate,” she says. And leave relieved. 2716 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 533-9400

Super Nice: Sam Hills, High Five Salon

In just two and a half years, Hills has already amassed a cult-like clientele who swear by his hip hairstyles and knack for genuine conversation sans catty gossip. 3098 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 502-5293,

Colorist: Brent Bauer, Salon Concepts

Fortunately, Bauer, an American Board Certified Colorist with 20 years’ experience, mixes color like a chemist and will bring you back to your roots, God-given or otherwise. 3235 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 871-4247

Short Cuts: Kristen Kuebler, Christopher George Salon

“I love the ways you can cut short hair to fit someone’s personality and face shape,” Kuebler says, “and right now I’ll do anything but the inverted bob—everyone has that style.” 1085 Ste. Rte. 28, Suite A, Milford, (513) 831-0508

Up-dos: Aubrey McDaniel, Taylor Jameson Hair Design

There’s a fine line between sophisticated and prom-gone-wrong. “I try to steer people away from anything too severe or stiff,” McDaniel says. Put down the Aqua Net. 4200 Hamilton Ave., Northside, (513) 541-3332

Please note that the information listed in this section was accurate at the time the issue went to print in 2008 and that addresses, menu items, company status, etc., may have changed. Please contact the companies to confirm details.

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