a funny thing happened on the way to a swim meet

by Apr 7, 2011ModTourism0 comments


I’m pretty good at beating the odds.  What are the chances that an ordinary person would name a Crayola crayon?  Evidently it’s one in two million.  Next time you pick up a fresh box of 64, look for the quintessential 90’s pink color.  Yep, that’s mine – ‘mauvelous.’  Cut me some slack.  It was a big contest for Crayola’s 90th Birthday and it was, well, 1993.  That is just one in a string of lucky events and coincidences that has defined my life since I won 100 pieces of bubble gum in a raffle in the 7th grade.

My brother thinks I live a charmed life, but I’m just one of those people that (mostly good, but sometimes odd or strange) things tend to happen to.  I have learned to expect the unexpected, and as my modern real estate life has flourished in these recent years, the interesting events and coincidences seem to be mounting.

I mean, what are the chances that my childhood BFF, Jenny Geiger, would be the Director of Retail Services for the Indianapolis Museum of Art and in charge of merchandise for (my all time favorite) the Miller House?  Or that a spur of the moment letter to the editor of Modernism Magazine my first year in the business would launch me into a blitz of media exposure, including quotes in the Wall Street Journal, appearances on HGTV, and our house being published in the upcoming Atomic Ranch II book.  Crazy!

yep – that’s jenny and me circa 1969. I’m the one in the stylish saddle shoes.

But this most recent coincidence was so amazing that I just had to share it with you.  As many of you know, we spend several weekends, year-round, attending our daughters’ swim meets.  For those who don’t know, swim meets are all encompassing 2-3 day marathon spectator events.  It’s also a way of life.  Arlen makes time pass by actually watching all of the kids swim.  I, on the other hand, pull out my laptop and either write blog entries or update our website or search the MLS, looking up just in time to actually see my child swim for 26 seconds.  It’s a crazy way of life, but it’s our life, and I know that one day I will miss it.

A recent high level championship meet took us to the far away land of Columbus, Ohio.  We were so proud of Tenley for qualifying for this meet and really looked forward to checking out the new natatorium facility at Ohio State.  Being the architecture junkies that we are, we decided a while ago that these travel meets need to be ‘dual purpose’ and include something business/architecture/modern related.  On our way to YMCA Nationals in Washington, D.C. two summers ago, we took a detour through Pennsylvania and got to see (finally) Falling Water.  Amazing!

me at falling water. no, this image is NOT photoshopped – we were actually in the woods at the overlook area and arlen snapped this cool shot.

So our trip to Columbus (Ohio) was going to be our chance to see the mystical Rush Creek Village at last.  I have heard people casually mention it for years, but didn’t know much about it.  The only address I could find on the internet led us to the center of the hipster village of Worthington, OH – clearly not a woodsy 50 year old Frank Lloyd Wright inspired community.  But Arlen used his modern ‘spidey sense’ and somehow led us right to it (if you want to find it, enter the intersection of South and Morning Streets in your gps).  What we found is a wonderfully diverse collection of 49 modest sized FLW inspired organic modern homes, a ‘community within a community.’  It was a nice day and lots of folks were out walking, riding bikes, and working in their yards.  Kind of a modern version of ‘Pleasantville.’

I was perfectly content to sit in the car, sneakily checking out each house and taking photos out the window (click through this ‘passenger seat’ gallery above).  It felt a little intrusive, but safe.  But Arlen, being the sales person that he is, thought we should park the car and get out and talk to someone in the neighborhood.  I reluctantly agreed and we approached a nice looking guy doing some spring yard cleaning near the street.  When we introduced ourselves as Realtors from Cincinnati, he immediately said he was originally from Cincy.  Turns out, his brother lives right here in Amberley Village in the Rosen House by Dick Calef– a house I sold to him!  I have to say it – SMALL WORLD!   What are the chances we would pick that guy (whose name, by the way, is Steve Guy) to talk to?  Modern kismet, I guess.

Steve Guy’s ‘nonconforming’ house in Rush Creek Village

Steve was friendly and gracious and showed us all around his beautiful yard which borders the Rush Creek.  He told us that his house, although geographically right in the middle of the neighborhood, was not technically part of the neighborhood because it was built later in a non-conforming style.  His house actually bears a striking resemblance to a John Garber designed house in Mt. Washington that sold last year.  But I agree, it was the one house in the neighborhood that seemed ‘different.’  Still, it was in perfect context with the other unique moderns.

steve guy’s house from the back

The neighborhood was conceived in 1946 by Martha and Richard Wakefield.  Legend has it she was visiting Taliesin West when Frank Lloyd Wright approached her and said, “Go home, buy a Jeep and build a house for yourself. Then build a house for your next-door neighbor.” Richard Wakefield acted as developer and Theodore van Fossen defined all of the sites and either designed the homes or approved their plans.  The first home, the Wakefield’s, was built in 1956.  To this day, the historic integrity of the homes and neighborhood are protected by deed restrictions and a neighborhood association.  Too bad more MCM homes don’t have at least some level of protection!

Enjoy our ‘out the window’ photo gallery of Rush Creek Village.   And please, share your own ‘modern coincidences’ with us here – I have a feeling I am not the only one these things happen to!


Submit a Comment

featured publications




research + articles






modern books



some of our listings