“The greenest house is the one which is already built.” This quote by former American Institute of Architects President Carl Elefante inspired longtime Cincinnati resident Staci Willenbrink to tackle the monumental project of renovating eight 139-year-old townhomes on St. James Avenue in Walnut Hills. Fans as we are of every type of home, new and old alike, we have to admit we’re on board with both Elefante and Willenbrink’s lines of thinking; whenever an older home can be rescued and revived instead of torn down, it’s feels like a win-win, especially where the environment is concerned.
The only caveat, though, is that such projects don’t come cheap. The $795,000 price tag on this three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath unit—the first of the eight that Willenbrink has completed—is more likely to attract established professionals and empty nesters than first-time buyers or young families. The good news is those buyers will get major bang for their buck, thanks to high-end finishes (think honed granite, rift-sawn oak, quartz, and walnut) and premium extras like custom European-style cabinetry, wool carpeting, and an Italian professional gas range in the kitchen. The property is eligible for a 10-year tax abatement, too.
What we like best is the townhome’s location, just steps from Eden Park. We know downtown living is hot these days, but this location seems to offer the best of both worlds—quick and easy access to the city in a quiet neighborhood with mature trees, sidewalks, and one of Cincinnati’s most prized parks.