Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen home renovations hit the market including this Indian Hill flip inspired by the movies and a modern farmhouse-style in Wyoming. Kevin Geraci of Flipping Cincy adds to the list of impressive renos with this charming Oakley home featuring bold design and an open floor plan. We spoke with Geraci and Revival Designs’ Nicole Nichols, who helped renovate the home, to hear more about the property and the process of taking on a project that needed a little TLC.
Tell me about when you found this property. Why this house?
KG: I’m always monitoring the MLS to stay up to date on properties for my real estate clients, as well as potential flip opportunities. When this Victorian home hit the market, I knew I had to jump on it, so I made an offer right away. The house needed a lot of work. It definitely wasn’t move-in ready, but it had so much charm, in one of our favorite neighborhoods, and across from the Wasson Way Trail. The fact that you could have adventures right outside your door, walk to everything, and live in a home with so much history—it was a no brainer for us.
You said it wasn’t move-in ready, but what was the original state of the house?
KG: It wasn’t a total gut project, but there was a lot of work to be done. Since the house dated back to 1910, there were several elements that simply wouldn’t work in today’s market. There were parts of the home that had taken on damage from a previous water leak, so those areas necessitated a complete demo. We had to replace the wood floors in several spots throughout with reclaimed material from other homes because we wanted to maintain the integrity of the original design—it’s not easy finding wood that matches a 1910 home! It was an expensive update, but it was the right way to do it.
I love to keep as many of the details of these homes as possible, but sometimes things need to be replaced to meet the level of restoration we strive for. There were many everyday things you see in older homes that we update with all of our projects—opening up the floor plan by knocking down walls, removing old plaster, and completely gutting the bathrooms.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in the renovation process?
KG: Anytime you take on a renovation of this magnitude, there are sure to be challenges and setbacks. The primary challenge was the center of the home, which had settled over time and was further damaged from a previous water leak. She seemed to fight us at every juncture, but now stands proudly for others to see and it’s such a beautiful thing to see people stop and point from the newly constructed Wasson Way. Our whole team takes great pride in watching others get joy from the project.
What is your favorite room in the house?
NN: It’s so hard to pick a perfect room because each is so special and was purposefully designed. Our designer, Revival Designs, mentions how much she loves how well the house flows together as a whole and how those with bold colors make such a visual impact. Each room relates to the others yet still feels distinctive.
What drew you to Oakley?
KG: This will be our fifth flip in the Oakley neighborhood. We’ve always been drawn to the area because it’s so close to everything, you can walk or bike everywhere, the community is amazing, and it’s just a great market. If we see a flip opportunity here we know it’ll go fast so if it’s reasonable, we jump on it. This continues to be a neighborhood that’s in high demand. Even better—there’s so much original charm in the homes here.
What was it like tackling a massive project like this during a pandemic?
KG: Very challenging. Out of the gate, we were met with challenges with our subcontractors and suppliers. Our production was halted for more than a week due to subcontractors facing quarantine restrictions on two occasions. The demand on the construction supply chain was also heavily affected, with material pricing skyrocketing. Simple construction staples such as 2×4’s doubled—and tripled in some cases—in price, as compared to prices just last year. As an investor, we have to watch every penny in a normal market. [Luckily] we had a good team on this project—huge shoutout to Doug from Summit Construction Group!—which faced all of these obstacles head-on, despite setbacks and frustrations.
Love the bold colors! And the contrast with whites and brushed gold. What was your design inspo for this project?
NN: This home is a Victorian with soaring ceilings and beautiful trim details. So many “flips” are very neutral, and the people working on them are afraid to make bold color choices. I’m one of those people. Luckily, I work with a crew that I can trust! Dark and moody colors from floor and trim to ceiling are very on-trend right now in all kinds of styles of homes. Popping those colors into the bathroom to achieve a rich, distinctive look and in the dining room were fun ways to play with that trend without being too overwhelming. We always strive to create a home that doesn’t look like any other home you’ve seen on the market in Cincinnati. These dark tones feel appropriate for both modern and Victorian styles. The whole goal with this design was to blend the two seamlessly—rich tones do that so well!
The exposed brick is such a neat element to keep. Were there other original elements that were a must-keep?
NN: Definitely! The original staircase trim, railings, and spindles. The 8-inch baseboards and trims had to be matched in several rooms where trim was missing or rooms were added-slash-gutted. The original front door and screen door were beautiful! We chose the colors specifically to draw attention to the detailed work in both of those doors. The original hardwood floors added so much warmth and character and were refinished beautifully. The scalloped shingles on the front exterior were a must to keep and highlight with the contrasting paint color, and that shape was echoed in the scalloped, or fish scale, tile detail around the shower.