featured listings

last man standing

 original hand drawn rendering of the hamer house by richard lakeman circa 1960. image courtesy of brendan morrissey

Is he really the last of the great MCM architects who made a profound impact on the Cincinnati built environment?  It’s quite possible.   I spent a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day morning at The Hamer House (currently owned by Brendan Morrissey), designed by architect Richard Lakeman and built along Congress Run Creek in 1961.  The previous owner of the home, Bob North, tracked Mr. Lakeman down to his current architecture practice with his son Mark in Portland, OR.  Brendan continued Bob’s correspondence and when Mr. Lakeman and his family planned a trip to Cincy to visit relatives, it seemed the perfect opportunity to reunite the man with his work.  I was lucky enough to be invited along, as was Phil Armstrong, managing editor of cincinnatirefined.com (watch for his upcoming story and photos). 

me, brendan morrissey, richard lakeman, mark lakeman and family. photo by phil armstrong, cincinnatirefined.com

After a frustrating day visiting his childhood homes that were in states of disrepair, Mr. Lakeman, a spry 89 years old, was visibly moved to see one of his earliest projects - designed when he was just a student of architecture at the University of Cincinnati - in magazine worthy condition.  He told us of taking over “Mike Graves” desk at the office of Carl Strauss & Ray Roush and interning there for a year.  Yes - it was that Michael Graves, just one of many who made their way through that office and blessed Cincinnati and beyond with their “Harvard Box” Bauhaus inspired designs.  Mr. Lakeman himself designed 3 homes in Cincinnati (two along Congress Run Creek), and worked on several Strauss & Roush projects including the gorgeous (RIP) aquarium building at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, and designing a bomb shelter under the swimming pool of a private residence (?!) before leaving town to start his own very successful practice.   

richard lakeman taking in the view while talking to homeowner brendan morrissey

His recall of this house, the setting and its construction were as if it were built last year.  He designed the simple 885 sq ft. post and beam house for Jean Hamer, rare books curator at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Ms. Hamer was on a strict budget and the student architect was eager to please and incorporate the modern solar design he was - and still is - passionate about.  Nancy and George Fanady saw this home under construction and liked what they saw so much that they hired Lakeman to design their house on the creek, too.  The terrain along this creek is so challenging that creative modern architects were required to even consider it buildable. This exclusive enclave of 14 MCM homes became a veritable “who’s who” of Cincinnati architecture with homes by Lakeman, Benjamin Dombar (including his own home), Richard Peacock (his own home), Robert Dayton (his own home), Abrom Dombar, Richard Wheeler, Rudy Hermes, and Ray Roush.   

brendan morrissey, phil armstrong and richard lakeman on the deck overlooking congress run creek.  

The Fanadys loved their Lakeman house so much, they had him design their next house in Sausalito, CA.  I know Bob North is looking forward to building his new version of a Lakeman house one day when he returns to Cincinnati.  And Brendan has already stated that he plans to live in this house forever.   

As for me, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to work with these wonderful homes and get to know their owners and their stories.  And today’s trip down memory lane was better than a trip to Disneyland in my book.  


see westward ho - associated blog post from 2011

link to listing when we SOLD this house last year


we found the 'Wright' buyer!


#theBOULTERhouse by Frank Lloyd Wright sold in 1 day for $55,000 over asking price. Sale price was $750,000.


cincy modernism weekend

Cincinnati's version of MODERNISM WEEK  is the annual 20th Century Cincinnati Show Weekend.  It is a pilgrimage of sorts where people from all over the midwest and dealers from all over the country to converge at the Sharonville Convention Center the last weekend of February.  Not only is this year the 25th anniversary of the show, it is our 15th year as show participants.  In true Cincinnati February style, we can recall weekends when it has been in the 70’s and weekends when it’s been below zero.  We have even driven through snow emergencies to get there.  It is always the weekend of the year!  It’s a reunion of sorts where we get to see friends and past clients, and hopefully buy some cool stuff.  It’s also a connection point where we have met many of our clients for the first time.  If you are cincinnatimodern fans, we hope you stop by our booth and say hi!  We'd love to talk architecture with you.  

This year is even more special with the Saturday after party co-hosted  by Wild Things Antiques and cf3.  So party on, modsters!  See you there!  



frank lloyd wright's mark on the 'nati

the boulter house - 1 rawson woods circle

sale pending! 

BIG NEWS in Cincinnati this week with our **coming soon** listing of #theBOULTERhouse by the master of 20th Century architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright.  But Wright's influence on the Cincinnati built environment goes far beyond the 3 local homes that bear his signature (The Boulter House in Clifton, The Tonkens House in Amberley Village, and The Boswell House in Indian Hill).  Cincinnatimodern favorites Abrom and Benjamin Dombar lived with and studied with 'the master' for years and came back to their hometown ready, willing and able to spread Wright's principles of organic architecture.  Even when we tour a Dombar home that is more traditionally styled, there is always a little bit of Wright that we can spot - corner windows, indirect lighting, radiant heat, passive solar...the list goes on.  

Our colleagues and friends at the University of Cincinnati, professor emeritus Patrick Snadon and head DAAP librarian Elizabeth Meyer have put together a fabulous new website, Modernnati.com, to document the history of modernism in Cincinnati. Their first spotlight just so happens to be on Wright's influence in the Queen City.  Click here to get their expert take on this chapter in architectural history.  

click here for visual tour & history of #theBOULTERhouse

click here to see all wright homes on the market


cincinnatimodern's favorite things - part VIII

we not only love The Modern Christmas Tree company and their modern trees (especially the small 'jubilee' tree with saarinen inspired base), but these promotional photos (by photographer jc buck) of their modern trees in the Farnsworth house are killer - you can even buy the photos as holiday cards on their website!

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

We hope you have the time to sit back this holiday season, relax with loved ones, and reflect on what truly makes you happy.  One thing that makes us happy in this crazy world is good design that is simple, pleasing to the eye and useful.  Here is our annual list of new favorites we discovered this year mixed in with tried and true items.  We hope you or someone on your gift list will enjoy these items like we do!  


Pilea Peperomioides   Once one of the rarest plants in the world, this ‘sharing’ plant has offshoots you can pass along to others.  It looks super modern, and is fun to watch grow.  A great host/hostess gift.  Available locally at Fern in College Hill.  


Charley Harper Rainbow Ladybug Pillow  We are a sucker for Harper pillows, and the ones from Crate&Kids (formerly Land of Nod - with influence from our friend Todd Oldham) has just the right amount of embellishment. And they are not just for kids!  This pillow is based on Charley's print 'Harper Harper Harper' from a 1977 art show feautring the work of Charley, Edie and Brett Harper.  


 Implosion Memoir of an Architect's Daughter by Elizabeth Garber   A real page turner about one of Cincinnati's great modern architects, Woodie Garber.  The architecture and Cincinnati references -  woven in a story of sadness, madness, abuse and awakening -  is riveting.  If you attended one of Elizabeth's talks this year, went to UC, or have spent time in the Cincinnati main library, this is a must read.  But really, read it anyway.  Anyone who likes midcentury modern architecture would enjoy the historical framework of this book.  


Modernica Case Study Medium Bowls with Tri Stand  This planter has been on my personal wish list forever.  A touch of Palm Springs wherever you are.  I think it would look fabulous on our new patio!  Available locally at Fern in College Hill.


Alpine Tiki Fountain with LED lights   Speaking of our new patio, this easy water feature adds just the right amount of tiki ambiance by the bar!  We give it πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ


Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe  This coffee maker is our new jam!  Not only do we love the retro styling and the convenience of the thermal carafe, but it puts real science behind a better cup of coffee.  Bonus, the Williams Sonoma at Tanger Outlets in Jeffersonville often has them in stock at a significant (worth the hour drive) discount!  And you will be a real hero if you include some Deeper Roots locally roasted coffee with the gift ;)


Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Silicone Scrubber  This colorful and useful stocking stuffer will remind your gift recipients that good design makes daily chores less mundane.  They have these and many, many more fun and colorful kitchen gadgets at one of our favorite stores, Artichoke at Findlay Market.  

Anova Sous Vide If you’ve ever had the sous vide Egg Bites from Starbucks, you will know what the fuss is all about.  This immersion heater cooks food at a low and constant temperature in a water bath.  Sounds weird, but it has amazing results with egg dishes, meat, fish and more!  With bluetooth or wifi technology, it satisfies the tech obsessed people on your gift list.  Great gift for the person who has everything!  

Thunderdome Gift Cards   We love local cuisine and nothing can please every palette like Thunderdome - recipients can choose from any of their brands (Maplewood, Kruegers, Bakersfield, The Eagle, Currito and more).  There is not much better than breakfast at Maplewood on a cold winter’s day or a cozy beer pairing dinner (or one of their other pairing dinners) at Kruegers. 



Saving Fiona by Thane Maynard  Not ashamed to say that this sweet and educational book about our favorite hometown hero, Fiona the baby hippo, made me cry a little.  I have a feeling reading this to little ones would never get old.  The link is to Amazon, but I recommend buying yours at the Zoo- and you just might score an autographed copy!  


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats  Our holiday stamps last year commemorating this author reminded me of this wonderful children’s book that our kids loved - and we loved reading to them. First published in 1962, the illustrations have a wonderful simple midcentury styling and a lovely story.  I'm sure it could be purchased locally at Blue Manatee or Joseph Beth.  This book is absolutely one of my favorite things!  


Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: East Coast USA   You know we love architourism.  Finally, here is a road trip guide with editions available for different regions.  Clark Griswold would love this! 


Now House by Jonathan Adler for Amazon   One of our favorite designers has done a collaboration with Amazon (?!) to come up with a unique line of well priced good design for the home.  Here are a few items that caught my eye.  Looks like there are some great rugs, too.  I have a paticular soft spot for the little white vase.  And the terrazzo elephant.  


Charley Harper 'Catnip' Motawi Tile   Wouldn't this look great framed and hanging in a vintage gray or pink tile midcentury bath?  This and many more art based gifts are available from our friends at Newfields Museum & Garden Shop (formerly Indianapolis Museum of Art).  Looking do do something different this year?  Take a short drive to Indy to experience Winterlights on the grounds of the historic Lilly estate, 5-9 p.m. daily through Jan. 6.

That's it for this year!  check out our previous lists from 201120122013 ,20142015, 2016, and 2017 for many more modern classics!

And don't forget to shop local:

  • City Flea Holiday Market  - Saturday, December 15 from 4:00 – 9:00 at Washington Park
  • Crafty Supermarket - Saturday, December 1, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. in the Music Hall Ballroom
  • Hunky Dory Studio - available online or at Crafty Supermarket
  • Fern - the source for modern plants and planters
  • MiCA 12/v – corner of 12th and Vine in OTR 
  • Leftcoast Modern – 1202-1204 Main Street in OTR
  • Mainly Art – 3711 Madison Road, Oakley
  • Modern Art Jewelry – 8316 Plainfield Road, Deer Park
  • Fabulous Frames and Art – the definitive source for all things Charley, Edie, and Brett Harper.  Several locations around town including Montgomery, Kenwood, Tri County and Downtown.  Don't miss their Annual Harper Holiday Show on Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Montgomery location.  
  • Cincinnati Zoo - memberships and gift items that support conservation and our local treasure
Thank you all for a wonderful 2018 and wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019!  And we hope you stay tuned for the new and improved cincinnatimodern.com website coming in 2019.