A Local Developer Makes New Homes Look Old Again in the Best Way Possible

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Photograph by Rick Finn, Coldwell Banker West Shell

Photograph by Ean Siemer

A quick scan of MLS house listings in Cincinnati’s hottest walkable neighborhoods shows a major residential design trend: developers buying older properties, then gutting and rebuilding them inside so they feel brand new. It’s kind of a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too proposition; the structures still maintain all their historic charm, outside and in, but are totally on-trend, too, featuring state-of-the-art kitchens, open floorplans, glamour baths, and more.

Trouble is, as with any new construction, the homes can end up looking kind of generic inside. ES Properties founder Ean Siemer has a great way to address that problem, as seen in this Mount Lookout home, which just went sale pending last week. By incorporating a select few salvaged or historic-feeling elements into his renovated properties—a single Rookwood tile in the shower, a reclaimed 150-year-old metal fire door on the back of a kitchen island, a mudroom bench made from old Mount Auburn church beams—Siemer includes a “little hint of Cincinnati” in each of his rehabbed homes.

Siemer collects many of the pieces as he finds them, with an eye for texture and color, and then stores them until the right renovation project comes along. Bottom line? “I love when clean lines meet a little bit of a rustic touch,” he says. “It makes the design look less sterile and gives it some depth. It’s like the cherry on top.”

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