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It's Spring!

Oh my gosh!  The spring market has certainly sprung in Cincinnati!  New listings are popping up all over and buyers are out in force.  It’s so nice to see so much activity after a particularly long winter (yes, I know that winter is not over yet, but I am the eternal optimist).   We were so busy listing and selling last week that we did not get a chance to thank everyone who stopped by our booth at the 20th Century Cincinnati Show the weekend before last.  What a great weekend it was – record attendance for the show and as a particular treat, Arlen and I hosted a cf3 party for some bloggers from Atlanta and Indianapolis who came to town for the show.  

It was so interesting to talk to Midcentury Mod folks from other parts of the country and learn about the similarities and differences of our experiences with our MCM homes.  Inevitably, any MCM conversation turns to roof issues and fixes, where to find good reproduction hardware and the hot topic issue: original bathrooms vs. remodels.  Luckily, these folks were purists and totally ‘got’ our vintage bathrooms.  One day, maybe everyone will get it and we will drive the Home Depot bath department out of business……but I digress…

Many thanks to Chris Magee ( www.cincinnatimodernation.blogspot.com ), Baz from www.atomicindy.com, and the folks at www.homesweetsplitlevel.blogspot.com  in Atlanta for the much more detailed write-ups of the weekend’s adventures on their blogs.  Check them out! 

Meanwhile, back in the real estate market, we added 10 new listings to our modern link over the past week.  A couple of these listings are worth noting here.  First is a sweet mod in need of a total renovation/restoration/exorcism (I’m not sure which) in Mt. Lookout of all places.  It’s a short sale, listed @ $189,900 (could be worth $400,000+ with the right transformation).  If you are ready and able to buy, want to live on an awesome cul-de-sac with a view in one of the city’s most sought after neighborhoods, and have a little time to wait (short sales can take a while to close), CALL US SOON @ 513.886.7841!  They will not accept any contingencies on a short sale property – so don’t even think about it if you need to sell to buy, unfortunately. 

rare MCM in Mt. Lookout - has WOW factor 

The next house of note is a George Nelson for Pease home in Fairfield (yes, that’s THE George Nelson).  We saw this home a couple of years ago when it was a foreclosure and it was rough….. it has now been completely renovated, has a pool, and is listed @ $149,900 - CONTACT US TO SEE IT!  We have not seen it since the renovation – but it looks like they did a good job – with help from our friends at Ikea.  These houses have a great floor plan and awesome design.  Below is a photo of one I sold in Highland Heights a couple of years ago.  If you use a keen eye, you can spot these high quality ‘kit’ type houses all over the greater Cincinnati area.  We even spotted one in Athens, Ohio while visiting our son at school.  

 George Nelson for Pease home in Highland Heights, KY

living room of Nelson home with original mahogany wallanother view of living room

Cincinnati is so full of surprises.  Keep watching this site for new and exciting listings – coming soon to a neighborhood near you!




the big show

The older I get, the more I hate Winter.  I actually like the snow (I am, after all, from the north), but the endless grey days are what really get to me.   But every year there is a bright spot that I actually look forward to in Winter -  the 20th Century Cincinnati Show –and it’s next weekend (Feb. 27 & 28) at the Sharonville Convention Center.  This is the 16th annual show and I have been a show sponsor for the past 6 years.  I don’t think I am alone in saying it is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  

A mere $7 admission ($25 for the Java Preview) gets you in for both days!  Anyone who is anyone in the modern community is at this show – you are sure to see someone you know.  It’s also a big regional draw with lots of folks attending from Dayton, Columbus, Louisville, Indianapolis, and Chicago.  In addition to lots of great booths with furniture (from local and distant dealers), there are vintage clothing booths (my daughters’ favorites), jewelry booths, plenty of tchotchkes and perhaps my favorite, the Harper Art Studio (the art of Charley, Edie and Brett Harper).  Special guest this year is the Higgins Glass Studio, who have been cranking out modern glass designs since 1948. 

As a show sponsor, I have a booth (ok, it’s more of a table…..) where you can do a little window shopping for some of Cincinnati’s great modern architecture.  I will also have complimentary copies of Atomic Ranch and Modernism Magazines to hand out (just made that $7 admission even more reasonable :) – so please stop by my booth and say ‘hi.’   Also, don’t miss the cf3 architecture exhibit, back by popular demand.  It’s a great opportunity to get an inside look at Cincinnati modern houses and the designers behind them. 

Another great thing is that the show goes on snow or shine -  so dust the snow of the SUV and make the trek out to the Sharonville Convention Center (plenty of free parking) and spend the day inside, in our own little time warp. 

-Susan Rissover

Check out my friend Chris’ blog about the show and  photos of his 20th Century Cincinnati Show finds (www.cincinnatimodernation.blogspot.com ).  Here are a few of our show purchases from years past……

bullet planter to right of fireplace was an inexpensive show findwe bought the large Saarinen table at the show about 11 years ago and it's lived on our porch the whole time - probably not the optimal environment for vintage furniture, but it looks awesome!the patio chairs were a great show find a couple of years ago - great for this small scale space off of our master bedroom. the matching loveseat was found at a house in n. avondale. i forget what these chairs are called - great design - does anyone know?

we bought these eames wire mesh chairs at the show the same time we bought the large saarinen table. they look great - but sure make your legs look strange if you are wearing shorts!some of the ceramic pieces on the mantle and the bullet planter to the rt. of the fireplace were show purchaseseames walnut lcm from the show

this shows part of our harper collection - but the teak tray on the nogucci table is actually one of my favorite finds from the show. it's the little things that turn a house into a midcentury home!

our daughter kirsten was SO excited to find this cool vintage dress at the show!


modern meat!

Slowly and surely, I have been adding content back into the cincinnatimodern site.  I have been living in a sort of technology haze these last few months - first I decided to listen to my son (and all of the designers I work with) and get a Mac.  BIG mistake for a realtor, but more about that later.  Then, I switched brokers and had to completely re-build my website from scratch using a webbuilder (suqarespace) that I was completely unfamiliar with.  

After nearly 6 months, I finally feel like I have mastered my technology!  Well, almost.  I still have to run a parallel Windows machine on my Mac to access some of the Realtor programs I have to use (argh!).  But the squarespace website is able to do what I could not do before within the confines of my broker's webbuilder.  I love that the home page of the site is now my blog (journal) - which keeps everything in one tidy place.  Please feel free to comment on any of the journal posts and add a RSS feed to get automatic updates.  

Check out some of the new content I have added in the last couple of weeks: 

  • a map of cincinnatimodern areas
  • a link to order the only book on cincinnatimodern architecture and the 411 on the midcentury architects.
  • info and a photo section on my house/my ongoing project
  • links to modern resources in town
  • links to other cool modern sites 

And of course, don't miss the links to the left to homes for sale in and around town - the spring season is almost here and more listings will be added soon.  I have also added (by popular request) links to MCM & modern houses that I have sold over the past few years, and some of my MCM visual tours.  Now that I am on a roll, please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for other content.  And as always, please feel free to link my website to yours.  We're all one big modern family!

-Susan Rissover


a great place to start

I often have clients looking for a ‘starter modern.’ You know, an inexpensive MCM that a first timer or design conscious budget minded buyer can live in and work on and let their creative juices flow.   But of course, it has to be in a good location and have room for an ‘upside’  once the work is done.   Usually my response is that these are few and far between – so get ready for a wait…. 

Well, a house just came on the market last week that would be an excellent candidate for such a transformation.  It’s about two minutes from Kenwood Towne Centre, is in Indian Hill Schools, and sits on about 2/3 of an acre.  The setting is very private and the yard is lovely.  It is a two bedroom (plus a study), one bath , two car carport little diamond in the rough.   It’s about as mod as they come (there is even a cute little mod shed/studio on the property), and it’s priced at $99,900. 

The catch?  Of course at this price there has to be one!  The  I-71 sound barrier wall is in the back yard!  Honestly, the noise level is not that bad and the wall does add a nice degree of privacy.  The house sits back pretty far from the street and has a circle drive.   It also needs a/c , paint, flooring, a kitchen, etc.  There is room to add on.  Take a look at these photos and let me know if you want to see it in person.   I think it would be an awesome opportunity for the right buyer.  Click here for a link to the listing.  Below are some more photos.

 -Susan Rissover




Speaking of the cart before the horse.......

It occurred to me after writing the previous entry about whether you shop for a home or sell your current home first that maybe there is another first to consider…FINANCING! With all the changes in the world of mortgage lending in this new economy you should probably make that talk with a lender the first thing you do. A lender can give you a pretty good indication of your likelihood of getting a loan and for how much and what percentage of the purchase price if you’ll share with them your income, assets, debts and employment information and allow them to pull your credit. It’s free and most lenders are more than happy to help you get pre-qualified.

Keep in mind however, even after YOU are pre-qualified, property value as determined by the appraisal and reviewed by the lender may still become an issue but YOU will be a qualified borrower and buyer. Please feel free to work with the lender of your choice. If you don’t have an established relationship with any local lenders I have several I can recommend from my 15 years in the mortgage industry. The most important thing a lender can do for you and for us is to maintain communication. Simple yes, but you’d be surprised at how many lenders start ducking you/us as soon as anything negative happens. It is important to deliver good news fast and bad news faster but human nature for many is to avoid confrontation so they avoid delivering the bad news. The lenders below are just a few I know who have demonstrated the kind of professionalism that gets deals done:

  • Mike Burroughs, owner Mortgage House of America, 513-794-7812 mikeb@mtghouseofamerica.com
  • Greg Updegrove, Mortgage House of America, 513-794-7805 gregu@mtghouseofamerica.com
  • Dick Engel, Summit Home Loans, 513-266-3160 loans@dickengle.com
  • Kathy Lamb, Union Savings Bank, 513-310-3301 klamb@usavingsbank.com
  • Shawn Huss, First Place Bank, 513-232-0800

-Arlen Rissover