This Kennedy Heights Home Has Been Restored to Its Mid-Century Modern Glory

Nicole Nichols of Revival Design saw this house—and its indoor pool—as the perfect opportunity for preservation.
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If you’ve been following along our home posts for a while, you’ll probably recognize this home flipper. Revival Design’s Nicole Nichols isn’t new to the Cincinnati home renovation scene. In fact, back in 2020, we named her one of the seven local flippers you should know. Her Midcentury Modern design touches and renovated masterpieces are sprinkled throughout the city. And if you follow her on Instagram, she dishes daily updates when she’s in the midst of a reno or to share her own home projects. We’ve talked about her gutsy design choices like the paint choices in this home, but this Hedge Avenue charmer in Kennedy Heights needed someone like Nichols to preserve it.

Photography courtesy Nicole Nichols

When she was eyeing it, she said the indoor pool was deterring buyers (yes, we said indoor pool)! But the positives far outweighed the challenges. She’s always dreamed of renovating a true Mid-Century Modern home and when she walked into the space and saw the tall ceilings in person, she was hooked.

Photography courtesy Nicole Nichols

To add to the pressure of the extensive repairs, Mid-Century architecture draws a cult following and loyalists expect original features to be preserved. For Nichols? Challenge accepted. “I just had this feeling that if I didn’t make it my mission to save this house and design it in a stylistically appropriate way, it would be ruined by someone else who didn’t know better or wasn’t willing to spend the money to give it what it needed,” says Nichols. “It was a very involved, very expensive, and very risky renovation with a slim profit margin, but I just felt compelled to save this house and give it everything it deserved.”

Photography courtesy Nicole Nichols

In the process of learning more about the home, Nichols uncovered history about the original owners, Harvey and Cleota Wilbekin, who were both attorneys and trailblazers in the Black community. The home hadn’t been altered since they built the home.

Photography courtesy Nicole Nichols

As for the home’s new look, the thoughtfully planned layout added additional living space. The home, which previously featured three bedrooms and just one bathroom, was transformed into a four-bedroom, two-bath home. Nichols says that in the living room, the tongue-and-groove ceiling didn’t need much work and the wide open space was preserved. And that indoor pool? It was filled in with pea gravel, restructured, and turned into a primary bedroom with ensuite bathroom, a large walk-in closet, and a small entry-slash-mudroom space, plus a walkout patio.

Photography courtesy Nicole Nichols

In the primary bathroom, Nichols chose a tile pattern that looks straight out of the ‘60s (in a good way) and a paint color to match. The mod kitchen features simple, turquoise cabinets with funky gold hardware and wood details like the range hood. Subway tile tones down the color and makes the space clean and sleek.

Photography courtesy Nicole Nichols

On the second floor, you’ll find a sitting room that would make for a perfect kids hangout space and either another bedroom or home office. “This home had amazing bones to start with—it just needed some TLC and some love,” says Nichols. “It’s going to be a fabulous home for many years to come now and I am so glad I was able to save it and preserve it.”

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