Photograph courtesy Kathy Kelley
With its softly curving eyebrow dormers, overflowing flower boxes and stone-and-stucco exterior, this 100-year-old East Walnut Hills cottage looks like it was lifted straight from a storybook. Thanks to tons of recent interior updates, it looks more like new construction.
Not much is known about the five bedroom, four bath home’s distant past. Other homes on Beechcrest Lane read like a who’s who of Cincinnati history. The Wurlitzer family—peddlers of movie theater organs, pianos, and jukeboxes—allegedly owned the original estate at the end of the street (Beechcrest is officially part of the “Wurlitzer Subdivision,” per the Hamilton County Auditor); later, Henry Pogue, of Pogue’s Department Store, built 9 Beechcrest. Rumor has it the founder of what would eventually become the Totes umbrella company once lived on the street as well.
The most recent inhabitants of this home—Beth and Joe Bissmeyer—gutted and overhauled the whole place starting in 2013. With help from architect Tom Warner and contractor Crapsey & Gilles, the couple flip-flopped the living and dining rooms, reconfigured the kitchen, converted a second floor elevator shaft into a master closet and laundry room, and even extended the main staircase up to the third floor, which was finished to create a family room, bedroom, and full bath. Outside, the team overhauled the backyard too, installing an expansive stone patio complete with an outdoor fireplace and kitchen and bar that’s wired for cable.
The day the seven-month-long rehab was complete, a massive tree fell on the back half of the house, destroying much of the recent work. After a second round of renovations, the Bissmeyers lived here incident-free for three years before learning they’d be moving out of town. But the good news about storybooks (and their homes) is they always have nice endings; this one was on the market for just over two months before a buyer snapped it up. Here’s hoping everyone lives happily ever after.