A 1920s Mt. Lookout Bungalow Gets an Overhaul Fit for 2020

Classic charm meets today’s upgrades in this renovated and expanded east-side home.

2944 Van Dyke Dr., Mt. Lookout

Photograph Courtesy of Elizabeth Sberna

One of the things that makes the city of Cincinnati special is the fact that it’s divided into so many different neighborhoods; within those neighborhoods are even smaller pockets, almost like sub-neighborhoods, each with their own distinct feel. This home rests in one such pocket of Mt. Lookout, a steeply sloped, densely populated area north of Linwood and east of Delta, filled with charming 1920s-era homes.

Houses here are so close together and the streets are so narrow that some longtime residents hoped it might be immune to large-scale renovation and redevelopment. But where there’s a will (and consumer demand), there’s a way, and slowly, these homes are starting to be purchased, gutted, fitted with sizable additions and upgrades, then placed back on the market again at a higher price point.

Photograph Courtesy of Elizabeth Sberna

Photograph Courtesy of Elizabeth Sberna

This home is one such property; after massive renovations, it’s nearly doubled in size (from 1,472 square feet to 2,912) and is ready for 21st century living. In fact, its openness, light, and reconfigured floor plan remind us of HGTV’s Urban Oasis house in Oakley, minus the over-the-top decor. The original living and dining rooms remain fully intact (including built-in corner china cupboards), but the kitchen, once merely functional, is now bright, white, and wide open to a brand new family room. Above it, there’s a sizable new master suite, too, with cool LED-backlit mirrors in the master bath.

The place “lives large,” says listing agent Ann Rigling, who notes that current owners and former Cincinnatians Sonsoles Gonzalez and Emilio Fernandez, the husband-and-wife team who transformed this home (alongside local architect Shannon Roush and contractor Nick Holscher), renovate houses worldwide and find Cincinnati “a comfortable place to work.” Their trademark style, she adds, is “very upscale and European,” and their main goal on projects is “retaining style and charm” while simultaneously making the place feel “like a brand new house.” Word is they’re already hard at work renovating another home on nearby Bellecrest; we’re looking forward to seeing how it turns out, too.

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