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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


The Chicken or the Egg?

Chicken or the Egg?  Cart before the Horse?  Buy/Sell or Sell/Buy? 

Ever wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg?  If you actually spend any time thinking about it, it is quite a conundrum.  Whichever it is though, doesn’t really matter at this point.  We have chickens and eggs in adequate supply so the order is just not that important.

Now, when it comes to putting the cart before the horse, I’ve seen it done once before with the expected poor result.  Ever see Fiddler on the Roof?  Remember in when Tevye’s horse came up lame and he had to put the yolk over his shoulder and pull the cart with the horse bringing up the rear?  Tevye found out the hard way that you definitely want the horse before the cart.

Now this third topic is in reference to the order in which people plan a move.  Like the Hermit Crab who carries his shell/home with him all the time, right up to the moment he finds a new larger, more attractive shell to move into, it is human nature to seek your next shelter while still inhabiting your current shelter.  Shelter after all is, is one of the core human needs right up there with food and water.  However, the Hermit Crab doesn’t require a mortgage to obtain a new shell.  Unfortunately, due to the cost of a desirable human home, most of us do. 

So we want to find the perfect home to move right into but we don’t want to give up the security of the home we are in now.  Here’s the rub, we can’t usually buy the house we’ve looked for and fallen in love with because without selling our current home and satisfying the existing mortgage, no lender will give us a mortgage and add to our debt load.  Even those who can qualify for 2 mortgages are usually petrified at the thought of having to pay on 2 mortgages for any period of time if the original home doesn’t sell right away.  What is the answer?  What should you do first? 

Fortunately we are living in the information age.  Everyone can do a little house hunting online and whet their appetite…get the juices flowing.  If you find something you really like and want to see it, by all means, CALL US!  We would be happy to show you the home(s).  However, if your home isn’t sold, listed or virtually ready to sell, you run the risk of falling in love only to end up with a broken heart!  It’s a common story really.  Boy/Girl meets home.  Boy/girl fall in love with home.  Boy/girl can’t purchase home.  Boy/girl loses home to other suitor who could get a mortgage. 

Sometimes you get lucky and write an offer contingent upon selling your home and it works out.   But make no mistake, your new love will continue to seek qualified suitors all the while and too often, you will have to settle for the next love of your life.

To sell before you buy and not risk losing a home you love you can start thinking about a temporary housing solution for the period between the sale of your home and the purchase of your next dream home.  Shacking up with a friend or family member can be economical and interesting.  Think about the experiences and stories you’ll acquire from that one.  Or, maybe a short term rental of a house, condo or apartment with most of your belongings in storage.  A little planning upfront could help you get mobilized and get your home sold so you can proceed with much greater clarity of your financial situation.  How much do you have to put down?  How much can you qualify to borrow?  How much do you want to borrow?  With this information you’ll be ready to pounce when you find THE ONE.

So buy/sell, sell/buy…it’s ultimately your call.  Are you lucky and like to take chances?  Do you like to take control of a situation when possible?  Either way, feel free to contact us for advice and consultation or to just start looking and get those juices flowing.

-Arlen Rissover