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For the love of quality, I have to share my obsession with the classic Cincinnati midcentury bathroom.  I am in my 14th year of selling real estate, and I can say I have seen literally thousands of Cincinnati bathrooms.  I am also a faithful reader of RetroRenovation, a very popular blog and FB page celebrating/sharing/sourcing vintage homes and details.  I’m going to go out on a limb here, but the craftsmanship, design and details of midcentury baths here in Cincinnati are the best of the best.  For the most part, midcentury baths have held up way better than midcentury kitchens, both functionally and condition wise.  But when a buyer or agent walks through one of our listings with a *prisitine*  midcentury bath and says that the bathrooms ‘need updating,’ I just want to scream.  And kick them out.  Seriously!   

So what exactly  about these bathrooms is ‘dated’ and needs updating?  Let’s look at the mechanicals.  These baths are usually outfitted with thick ceramic tiled walls (set in concrete no less), American Standard or Crane fixtures, and Formica counters.  The plumbing is copper.  The vanities are custom made for the space and often have canted fronts.  Everything works and looks like the day it was built.  And to top that off, each and every one is similar but different, a unique work of art.   

So step away from HGTV and the sledgehammer, and think about it.  Demo it all and put in a Home Depot special (*insert expletive here*)?  Or go for something more sleek and modern a la Dwell Magazine and make your midcentury bath look like “today.”  But why?!  With the most perfectly preserved time capsule of all time right there and ready for your business!   

Time to address the elephant in the room.  The crazy midcentury color palate is what people are referring to when the say dated.  Is it really that hard to embrace the pink, yellow, blue, green, gray and beige (in a staggering number of combos)?  And some wild Formica patterns?  Think of these colors like cool vintage cars.  For the most part, our car color palate now has been distilled to black, silver, white and the occasional blue or red.  But who doesn’t love a cool classic car in an Easter egg hue?  

So before you write that vintage bath off as dated,  embrace the quality, uniqueness and craftsmanship of yesteryear and give it a chance.  I bet you grow to love it.   

Please enjoy this slideshow of vintage Cincinnati baths from homes we have shown or sold over the past 14 years.  I even threw in a few Rookwood baths from the 1930’s that managed to survive.   Did your house make the slideshow?  

and p.s. - QUALITY baths are the ones worth keeping.  Crappy is always worth replacing ๐Ÿ˜œ



calling all architecture geeks! 

David and Susan have been busy these past few weeks working on the architecture exhibit for the 20th Century Cincinnati Show this weekend (Feb. 25 & 26).  Be sure to stop by and see all 3 of us at ths show, either at the cincinnatimodern table or at the cf3 exhibit.  We're there all weekend and it's gonna be great!!



the little things

Eileen Pressler in her (our) laundry room circa 1967. Love the barkcloth curtains which were long gone by the time we bought the house!

They say it’s the little things that make a house a home.  And then there are the things that make a home so very livable.  For me, as lame as it sounds, it is our laundry room.  Every time I think about downsizing, I realize that I would have a very difficult time giving up this important transition space located between our kitchen and garage.  Back in the 1950’s when our house was built, the first floor laundry room was a brand new concept.  For the first time, homes were being designed to make life easier for the homemaker.  I must admit, architect Fred Pressler hit a home run with this one that he designed for his wife Eileen!  We did a quick refresh when we bought the house in 1997, and a more major upgrade (lighting, flooring, cabinetry) last winter, but the basic format has remained the same since 1956.  And after living here for almost 20 years, I still enjoy doing laundry :)

Replacing track lighting and a large fluorescent fixture with hanging globes with LED bulbs added a retro AND progressive touch. And way better light!

The center peninsula two sided cabinet/coat closet is a genius original detail. We added an Ikea cabinet on the end for even more storage. The room formerly had indoor/outdoor carpet which we replaced with hardwood in the hall area and solid vinyl tile in the laundry area. Love a white floor!!

This part of the room has seen the most changes. We added the sewing table and cabinetry (all from Ikea) and the kelly green Eames chair from Modernica. Hard wired LED under cabinet lights also added much needed task lighting.

A built in wine rack from Ikea filled the odd sized space next to the sink cabinet. And we just happened to have enough Daltile tile from our kitchen to do a matching backsplash here. The faucet is a larger sized copy of the Arne Jacobsen Vola faucet purchased for a fraction of the price on Amazon.

A new Ikea sink with built in drainboard is very functional for a laundry room!

The back side of the built in peninsula is a great place to showcase our prized Charley Harper "Wren" print from the Ford Times series.

This compact and well utilized space also houses a powder room and kitchen pantry!



a look back as we look forward

Happy New Year!  We have lots to celebrate as we begin the 14th YEAR OF CINCINNATIMODERN!  It’s hard to believe what started as a whim and a passion in December of 2003 has turned into the most popular real estate agent website in Cincinnati.  For that we are humbled and grateful.  We have a loyal following with a combined love of modern and architecture.  What could be better?   But looking back on the past 13 years, I can’t help but notice how much the real estate industry has progressed.  Reminisce with me how much has changed:

  •  I started cincinnatimodern as a newly licensed solo agent, with the tagline cincinnati: modern where you’d least expect it.  At that time, there was NO local market for modern architecture, and the names of the local MCM architects were largely unknown to the public, as was the term “MCM,”  Agents routinely ‘covered up’ the fact that listings were ‘contemporary,’ thinking it made them unsaleable.  
  •  The public had to search for MLS listings on local company websites.  There was no Zillow, Trulia, etc.  Open houses were published in the Saturday print newspaper. 
  •  Contracts were hand written on triplicate paper and hand delivered.  Or faxed.  Dotloop, a worldwide company with Cincinnati roots has changed all that!  We were early adopters and for the past 8 years, all of our contracts are paperless with online signing and instantaneous delivery.  Luckily, the days of illegible 3rd generation contracts are over!!
  •  Now we can ‘sign’ dotloop contracts on our phones.  In 2003, there were no smartphones.  Now we use our phones to open electronic lockboxes (keeping our sellers homes safe and secure, because we know the exact minute an agent opens a lockbox and who it is), set appointments via Showingtime (in 2003 we had to call each office to schedule every appointment), and access the MLS.  Sellers now OK showing appointments via text, instead of recieving calls.  And feedback is sent out to sellers immediately on their phones.  No more calling agents and waiting for feedback.  
  •  Digital photography has progressed tremendously in the last 13 years, and the MLS has gone from 6 listing photos to 25.  A click through an online listing has replaced many first showings.  
  •  Charley Harper, our longtime friend and hero, has become a household name.  Not exatcly RE related, but I just had to throw it in because I am so proud of his legacy :)
  • “Flipping,” once a derogatory term, is now an aspiration of many (thanks to HGTV).
  • cf3, cincinnati’s modern architecture advocacy group that I co-founded with Chris Magee in 2005, has educated hundreds about Cincinnati modern architects and the ‘care and feeding’ of aging modern homes, making owning one of these marvels a little less daunting. 
  • While the appreciation for Midcentury Modern has grown, and mass merchandizers such as Ikea and Target have jumped on the bandwagon with new retro inspired design (with no end in sight), the appreciation for vintage MCM has grown, too.  Homes that have been though ‘remodels’ in the 80’s and 90’s are a cautionary tale.  People are now much more likely to appreciate original quality features in midcentury homes, and work to save or restore them.  
  • I cannot overlook the fact that my life has changed a lot, too.  When I started the business, I had a first grader.  As the business grew, I took on a partner, who also happened to be my husband, Arlen (because it’s easer to teach real estate to someone than to teach modern).  And as we continued to grow the business, we took on another modern expert, David Smith.  Arlen and I are now empty nesters, and are beyond blessed that cincinnatimodern is one of the top real estate teams in the Cincinnati market!  
  • Part of what makes our team so successful is that we have fabulous housing stock to sell in Cincinnati.  And after 13 years in the business, we have a tremendous amount of invaluable experience.  Been there, done it, seen it.  We know how to get the job done, and done right.  Honesty, integrity and disclosure are our core team values.  

But of course, none of this would be possible without YOU, our valued clients, fellow modern aficionados and architecture geeks.  THANK YOU for believing in me in the beginning, enabling us to create this modern market, and grow a business and clientele that we love and are so proud of.  Onward!!





cincinnatimodern's favorite things, part VI

our daughters performing their surprise version of the 'sisters number' from white christmas on christmas morning, 2014. best gift ever!

Holiday season is upon us, so it's time once again for our annual installment of our favorite things - gift ideas for modern design lovers! 

jonathan adler luggage from target  and

custom luggage tags


I am a Jonathan Adler junkie, so when I happened upon this luggage on the Target website (not sold in stores), and saw the green.......well, I just couldn't resist.  Good quality, great details.  And the price is unbeatable with Target specials and much of it on clearance right now.  Some coordinating custom luggage tags from Shutterfly (the conbinations are endless on their webiste if you are creative) and the price for these is unbeatable, too! 



interior/exterior sconce lighting 

Modern bling.  It's like jewelry for your house. An inexpensive facelift.  We just put one of these over our front door, and have another one on our 'wishlist' for our screened porch! Use LED bulbs, and save energy and $$, too! 

five crowns

My parents introduced us to this game a couple of years ago.  Fun group game and great way to spend time with friends and family.  It's fast paced, yet super easy.  Even my mom likes playing and she hates games.  And our kids always ask to play when they are home.  How cool is that?! 

harper pillow

This Charley Harper raccoon pillow is from kids' retailer Land of Nod (a division of Crate and Barrel), believe it or not!  Looks great on our living room couch.  Even our cat, Harper, approves!  Beautiful quality and craftsmanship and an absolute bargain (especially with one of their frequent promos like 15% off and or free shipping!).  The rest of the Land of Nod Harper collection is pretty amazing, too.  Check it out!  

hydro flask water bottle

We take cold water bottles very seriously in our house!  This one is great.  Keeps water ice cold in a hot car. Looks good sitting on the counter, too :)  I can't imagine anyone wouldn't like this! 

simplehuman LED mirror

I treated myself to one of these for my birthday this year and WOW!  Beautiful design and hands free LED lighting.  A charge seems to last forever, too.  Looks great on our vintage bath vanity.  It's available all over, but I found Container Store with their frequent coupons and promos to be the best deal.  Expensive, but a nice luxury item.  

cuban coffee maker 

We got hooked on Cuban coffee when our daughter moved to Miami.  It's everywhere down there, and it's good and cheap.  The actual coffee (Cafe Bustelo) is available locally for ~$3.50 a brick at Meijer and Kroger.  There are many versions of this simple device (which is actually a stove top espresso maker), like the Bialetti available at Crate and Barrel or this cooler looking one from the IMA.  But with the cheap form follows function one from Amazon (which we have and works great), you can make up a Cuban Coffee gift basket for the coffee lover on your list for under $15! 

modern ornament tree

I picked this up years ago at Crate and Barrel's after Christmas sale.  It's the perfect way to display our heirloom signed Harper ornaments which are too precious to risk hanging on a tree!  It's back at C&B by popular demand.  And available in two sizes and now in copper, too!  

snapPower guidelights 

I first saw this gadget on a facebook sponsored post, and ordered them on a whim.  Great subtle and modern nightlights.  Super easy to install.  Modern and simple.  A great gift, because no one knows that they need these until you give them to them! 

fused glass tray

Our friend Amy is an incredible glass artist and offers a plethora of quirky and fun gifts as well as custom orders like this small fused glass tray that I ordered for my bff Jenny.  Yes, that's us early in our sales careers, peddling bugs on her driveway.  How could you not want to immortalize this moment?! 

archidoodle book

Great gift for the doodler and wannabe architect in your life of any age.  Suitable for kids and adults to let their creativity flow and learn a few things while they are at it.  

That's it for this year!  check out our previous lists from 201120122013 ,2014, and 2015 for many more modern classics!

And don't forget to shop local: