Local home renovators Doug and Gretchen Kraus are used to taking on historic home projects in the Cincinnati area. But this time, the husband-and-wife duo found a particularly special home—an Avondale mansion that Gretchen Kraus says was once owned by Samuel and Ruth Aronoff, well-known art and antique dealers and owners of Aronoff Galleries in downtown Cincinnati, Hyde Park, and Madisonville.
At one point, it was also a rental home to 12 college guys. “[One day] we pulled up to find an older gentleman on the porch looking in the window. He told us he had rented a room in the house when he was in college in the ‘70s, and was hoping to see the place again,” says Kraus.
“Prior to that point, we had no idea that the home had been used as college rentals like many of its neighbors. Luckily the owners were very respectful of the integrity of the home and didn’t chop it up much at all to accommodate the renters.”
The home itself pops amid the greenery and it’s framed with a few large trees in the front yard. With six bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, it has clear historic roots with modern twists, like original trim and a gorgeous fireplace.
“We spoke with Kevin McCormick, owner of the Instagram account Cincinnati Revealed, and he suggested that the style of architecture is a little hard to pin down,” says Gretchen Kraus. “[It’s] most closely aligned with the Italian Renaissance style, with some Mediterranean and Craftsman aspects as well.”
The white exterior resembles the iconic stucco homes on the hillsides of Greece, but the clean white is contrasted with deep green trim. Inside the home, the floor plan is open and airy with large, arched doorways and high ceilings. On the first level, you’ll find original hardwood floors throughout. And in the living room, a set of arched built-ins are anchored on either side of the fireplace with room for storage and wood beams above that warm up the space.
Around the corner, the kitchen has several wow-factors, like the tile backsplash behind the range, but the star of the room is the 1900s pharmacy cabinet Kraus salvaged from the Lockland area and turned it into a pantry cabinet in the kitchen. It adds to the balance of old details with new, such as the white and gold appliances, open shelving, and marble tile.
“Our goal with these kinds of properties is always to maintain the historic integrity but make the home functional with a touch of luxury for today’s families,” says Kraus. “It was a huge undertaking, but we’re really pleased with the outcome.”