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Two Slick Homes High Above the Ohio Seven Kitchens That Sizzle We’re Hopped Up On Charley Harper

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Greater Cincinnati

a letter from the editor

I don’t think there was


resistance to the way

I simplified things.


—Artist Charley Harper

I’ve been spending a lot of time these past few months, cleaning out my closets. I have three semi-permanent bags in my dining room: one labeled “Goodwill,” one “Quinlivans” (hand-me-downs for cousins) and one “Garage Sale” (most of this bag will eventually end up at Goodwill when visitors decide my goods aren’t worth a quarter). I seem to get a bit frantic about this process of streamlining our home and our lives every year right about now. And as I write this letter, it just dawned on me that maybe it’s no coincidence that this timing corresponds with the contemporary issue of Housetrends. Maybe I’m not the only one who longs for a clutter-free kitchen counter this time of year. You too might see that there’s something quite appealing about the clean lines and understated elegance of the spaces we feature inside these pages. We have lots of great kitchens, a striking bath, and two homes above the Ohio River which all focus on function while managing to have style to spare. We’re especially proud to invite you inside one particular mid-century modern home in Finneytown. Until very recently, this space was the residence and studio for Charley and Edie Harper. An American Modernist artist known for a style he called “minimal realism,” Charley Harper managed to transform a limited number of visual elements into creations that somehow captured the essence of his subjects. After spending a chunk of time perusing both Harpers’ works, along with several other prominent artists with Cincinnati roots (see pages 29 and 83), I have decided to clean out the basement, have a garage sale, then spend my found money on art for my walls. It’s a winwin situation. Have fun looking!

Karen Bradner and the Housetrends staff

Publisher Linda Bacher Editor Karen Bradner Contributing Writers Kelly Z. Clark, Sarah J. Dills, Phyllis Gricus, Christina Kleiner, Stephanie Aurora Lewis Contributing Photographers Chris Bucher, Daniel Feldkamp, Robin Victor Goetz, John Magor, Craig Thompson, Joe Traina, Ross Van Pelt Senior Sales Consultants Michele Roth Kerley, Amy Whisenhunt Sales Consultants Ron Friedman, Sandy McDonald, Florence Murphy For advertising information call 513-794-4103 E-mail: Write us at Housetrends Magazine c/o Karen Bradner, E-mail: Housetrends magazine is published by Buzz Publications, LLC in conjunction with Reach Publishing, LLC Visit, your destination for inspiration™

Corporate Corporate Managing Partners Robert J. Slattery, Kevin Slattery Senior Director of Graphic Services Gary Boys Creative Director Nina Kieffer Editorial Manager Karen Bradner Senior Graphic Designer Tara Burchfield Quality Control Deborah Bolig Color Technicians Elvis Lim, Melisande Weidner Production Coordinator Andrea Rozzi Sales Production Mary Burdett VP of Interactive Media Ric Welker Print Production Dawn Deems Website Development and Prepress Systems Sandy Sinex Advertising Designer Gina Miller Advertising Production Ryan Adamson, Will Brewer, Connie Kimsey, Thom Miller Quality Control Supervisor Sandy Whalen Quality Control Team Lisa Cavin, Heather Fox Founder/Executive Publisher Sam Wilder

Photo courtesy of the Charley Harper estate

Published in conjunction with Buzz Publications, LLC and reach publishing llc. © 2011 Reach Publishing, LLC Housetrends magazine is produced by Reach Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. All logos and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. We assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any inconsistency herein. Housetrends makes no warranties, representations or endorsements regarding any of the services and/or the advertisers, builders, designers or any third parties appearing in the magazine. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of Reach Publishing, LLC except where prohibited by law. Reach Publishing, LLC reserves the right to edit, alter, or omit any advertiser. Back issues are available upon request for $5.00 per copy, including shipping. (Subject to availability.) To have your name removed from our mailing list, Please recycle or send a letter to Housetrends, Name Removal, pass this magazine on 4601 Malsbary Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. to another reader

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features 29 HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS Visit three local homes that have played host to the creative genius of their occupants 44 CARVING OUT A NICHE A couple of empty nesters build a contemporary perch high above the river 73 THICK AND HEARTY Flavorful one-pot meals chase away the winter blues 78 ART INSPIRED Designer creates cohesive balance between art and life 89 GREEN AT HEART Improve five core systems in your home for better energy efficiency and savings will flow 44 ON THE COVER Contemporary pieces of furniture blend beautifully with a vibrant art collection for a couple who designed their East Walnut Hills nest with understated style. Photo by Ross Van Pelt

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BATHROOM TRENDS A Welcome Surprise Sharonville couple enjoys the process as their new master bath unfolds

12 FRESH FINDS The latest finds in furniture, flooring and lighting


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KITCHEN TRENDS Unadorned A look at Housetrends’ favorite contemporary kitchens that focus on function

96 service DIRECTORY 98 HOUSETRENDS.COM Bonus articles, photos, projects, resources and inspiration!

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Despite the fact that Sheila Kuhn really wanted a contemporary home, she and her husband John purchased their traditional two-story because they loved the neighborhood, its proximity to their workplaces and the layout of the interior. The couple was inspired by the challenge of transforming this home’s traditional interior to reflect the clean lines and modern style they preferred. They

e Surprise

decided to begin redefining the style of the home by converting their master bathroom into a contemporary retreat.

continued >

Sharonville couple enjoys the process as their new master bath unfolds By Kelly Z. Clark | Photos by Robin Victor Goetz/RVGP Inc.

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Can’t you just see it now? While Sheila was confident that she knew what she liked, she needed someone to help bring her vision to fruition. The couple enlisted the help of designer, Gwen Fowler, of Bath Inspirations. Fowler appreciated that the master bathroom needed to accommodate John and Sheila’s combined tastes, so she began by having each of them describe their favorite places and environments, and where they felt most relaxed. For Sheila, the ocean was most relaxing, but for John a trip to the mountains would provide the best kick-back-and-relax spa environment. Other criteria for the finished space included a two-person shower, vessel sinks and a soaking tub. Fowler’s approach to designing the bathroom then, was to fuse together the two natural environments using a mix of materials that bespoke a contemporary, earthy, seaside retreat. Fowler also considered the couple’s bedroom furniture with its rich wood tones and simple lines. OPENING SPREAD: A tower in the shower area provides striking display spaces on one side and houses plumbing fixtures on the other. The door with frosted glass panels, is a slider which opens to stay out of the way of traffic. Inside the bath space, another glass paneled door leads to a closet. ABOVE: The designer matched finishes from the master bedroom to create a seamless flow to the bath. RIGHT: One of the towers stores towels within easy reach of the Japanese soaking tub. OPPOSITE: A doorless entry and plenty of glass make the shower space feel anything but cramped.

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continued >

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bathroomtrends Surprise! Rather than hiding the Kuhns’ beautiful new spa-inspired bath behind the door leading into it, Fowler designed the wall with a sliding barn door style entry. She describes the door with its frosted glass panels as “playing on your sense of discovery while drawing you into the passageway that leads to a relaxing retreat hidden behind.” The Kuhns had never considered the possibility of incorporating the bedroom into the new design for the bath, so Fowler’s sliding door concept was a welcomed surprise. The wood tone and finish of the door and horizontal beam above it, as well as the custom cabinetry in the bathroom, mimic the Kuhns’ bedroom furniture. Custom oak hardwood flooring installed in a herringbone design also begins in the bedroom and continues into the bathroom around the double-sided vanities. Clear glass vessel sinks give an impression of fluidity sitting atop a foundation of bold, black soapstone countertops. By utilizing a back-to-back orientation for the “his and her” vanities, Fowler gave John and Sheila each their own individual space for getting ready each day.

Practical + pretty = perfect

ABOVE: The brushed stainless steel tub is deep enough to offer up-tothe-shoulder soaks. OPPOSITE: Identical back-to-back vanities create separate but mirror-image prep spaces.

Directly behind the vanities is one of two floor-to-ceiling “towers” featured in the bathroom. The towers are important to the design both functionally and aesthetically. Functionally one of the towers provides storage space for towels and creates a sense of privacy for the stainless steel Japanese soaking tub, while the other tower is the actual shower wall that houses the shower system. Besides their practical applications, the towers bring a sense of simple seaside opulence. Each tower is finished with small opalescent tiles and a custom paint finish on Venetian plaster inside the niches matches the tiles. The Japanese soaking tub is perfectly positioned to benefit from the scene-setting ambience of the custom fabricated Shoji screens on the two surrounding windows. “Any other type of window treatment or covering would have disrupted the simplicity we had established,” says Fowler. The Shoji screens were consistent with the design and allowed a soothing, natural soft light to imbue the space. Electric lighting is provided by the beautifully sculpted pendant lights which, along with the towers, happen to be Sheila’s favorite elements of the bathroom. For John, the two-person curbless shower simply cannot be beat with its multishower tile heads and heated floor.

Looking back… Now that the Kuhns’ master bath is complete, is there any sage advice from the designer? “Good execution of the design is always important, but particularly so in a contemporary project where lines are simple and mistakes are easy to see, so work with a contractor who can provide excellent finish work,” says Fowler.

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Sheila also has some positive words of wisdom for anyone embarking on big home improvement projects. First, find someone who can articulate your vision. You may know what you like, but you need a professional with whom you can relate to bring it to light. Second, she says, “The process should be fun, not intimidating, so don’t be afraid to speak up and let your preferences and tastes be heard.” And finally, once you have the right team to work with, relax and enjoy the experience of watching your project become reality. As a result, Sheila says, “It was like Christmas every time they arrived to install new things in our bathroom!”



Project designer: Gwen Fowler; Contractor: Bath Inspirations, LLC; Cabinetry: Designed by Gwen Fowler, constructed by Chiaramonte Custom Furniture; Flooring: Custom oak hardwood; Tile: Lastricato Surbo by Ragno on shower walls; United States Ceramic Tile from The Roca Tile Group on shower and tub area floor; Oceanside Glass tile on towers; Tub: Stainless steel Japanese bath by Diamond Spas; Countertops: Soapstone; Sinks and faucets: Aquabrass; Shower system: Hansgrohe Axor, and Kohler; Lighting: Hubbardton Forge; Window treatments: Custom fabricated Shoji screens; Accessories: Cindy Johnston

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Home is where the


Most of us abandon our homes every weekday to ply our trades, but for a creative few, the magic happens hearthside.

By Nina Kieffer CINCINNATI HAS A RICH ARTISTIC HERITAGE. In the 19th century, the city was a rapidly growing manufacturing center and a gateway to the west. An interest in developing Cincinnati into an urbane and sophisticated metropolis led to the birth of enterprises such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, Music Hall, Rookwood Pottery, McMicken University (later the University of Cincinnati), and the McMicken School of Drawing and Design (later the Art Academy of Cincinnati). The growth of a wealthy elite and a prosperous middle class created the demand for quality art. Artists flocked to Cincinnati to fill that demand, and for many years, the Queen City was considered an important art center, producing a stellar cast of prominent artists. | Over the years, numerous homes in Cincinnati have housed the studios of working artists, and we visit three of them, as well as their current occupants and caretakers, in these pages. The homes of Charley and Edie Harper, Herman and Bessie Wessel, and John Hauser—all artists linked by a common thread to the Art Academy of Cincinnati—still exist today. What also exists is the legacy these artists have left us—their lingering personalities in the homes where they followed their muses, and the art that was born of their inspiration.

continued >

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A bird in the hand: CHARLEY HARPER

BORN IN 1922, CHARLEY HARPER started out life on a family farm in West Virginia. Farming was not his bailiwick, but his love of nature was established there, and he spent hours avoiding chores by observing bugs, crayfish and the like. After a year of art courses at West Virginia Wesleyan College, he decided to focus seriously on art and transferred to the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he met his future wife, artist Edie McKee. After two years in Cincinnati, he was drafted and spent the last couple years of World War II as a scout in a recon platoon. He continued to draw while stationed in Europe—portraits of fellow soldiers that they sent home to loved ones and of towns his platoon passed through. Returning to Cincinnati at the end of the war, he finished school, married Edie in 1947 and the two of them honeymooned by camping across the country on a traveling scholarship Charley won. He and Edie settled in Roselawn and his first job, at Schaten Studios, taught him the craft of commercial art—color separation, using typography. His flat, hard-edged illustrations lent themselves to the silk screening process, which a co-worker taught him. Although realism was the prevalent painting style he learned at the Art Academy, he began to realize that the style would reveal “nothing about the subject that nature had not done better.” His work became more distilled, minimal, architectural, abstracted, more about shapes and colors. He said there were “some who want to count all the feathers in the wings and then others who never think about counting the feathers, like me.” He is perceived by the art world as a modernist and called his own work “minimal realism.” Although his main focus was the animal kingdom, some of his most charming works illustrate humans going about their business. In 1958 the Harpers built a mid-century modern home in the middle of the woods in Finneytown. Cutting edge by the day’s standards, lean and spare like his artwork, the home was a laboratory in nature, the perfect setting for Charley’s observations and

research. In the International Style, the home is opened to the natural world by a twostory wall of windows. A small studio is connected to the house by a wooden walkway. Art here was a family affair. Edie, Charley and their son Brett all participated in the creative processes of drawing, painting, photography, printing. Brett was recruited at


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The 50-plus years in the “lady bug” house were prolific. Chip Doyle, the curator of the Harper Estate and close family friend, has spent the years since Charley passed away in 2007 caretaking the Harper home, organizing the vast output of Charley and Edie’s careers. He works closely with Brett Harper and others he calls “Team Harper” on multiple projects: preserving the core collection of Harper art, developing curricula with the art for schoolchildren, planning Harper exhibitions (a show in Hamburg, Germany is currently in the works) and publishing Harper products like posters, cards and calendars. He feeds the winged ones who are surely the descendants of the subjects of so many of Charley’s endeavors. There is reverence in his voice when he speaks of Charley and his contributions to the world, noting the untold legions of us who “grew up on Charley Harper.” He strives daily at the house in the “enchanted beech forest” to foster awareness of and exposure to Charley’s art and feels “a grand sense of accomplishment finding good homes for original works whether they be museums or private collections, knowing the work will be looked after and cherished for generations to come.”

an early age to produce the family Christmas cards. Charley worked mainly out of his studio for the rest of his life, although he spent many years as a part-time instructor at the Art Academy. Charley also devoted untold hours visiting schools and interacting with children about the natural world.

continued >

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In a career spanning over 60 years, Charley’s wit, whimsy and unique style entertained, educated and beguiled multiple generations. From Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cookbook, Golden Books’ Giant Golden Book of Biology and The Animal Kingdom, Ford Motor Company’s Ford Times magazine (1945-1985), and Birds and Words, to countless advertising promotions, paintings, prints and posters, Charley gave us all a priceless gift: his very particular and singular view of the natural world. Editor’s note: You can see and purchase original works of art by both Charley and Edie Harper at the 15th annual 20th Century Cincinnati, a show of vintage modern art, furnishings and fashion, February 26-27, 2011 at the Sharonville Convention Center. For more information, visit


ABOVE LEFT: An antique hobby horse floats in front of the two-story window facing the beech forest. ABOVE RIGHT: The Harpers collected hundreds of art books. BOTTOM: Chip Doyle, Harper estate curator, with Snowy, one of the Harpers’ two cats.

“ T he


House has a calm and magical vibe filled

Charley Harper, An Illustrated Life by Todd Oldham;;

with love and

Photos of the Harper home and Chip Doyle by Ross Van Pelt Images of Charley Harper art and Charley and Edie Harper courtesy of the Charley Harper estate

connection to

a sense of nature. ”

—Chip Doyle, Curator, Charley Harper Estate

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A Brush with Greatness: HERMAN AND BESSIE WESSEL

IN 1895, AT THE AGE OF 17, Herman Wessel left his hometown of Vincennes, Indiana, for the art mecca of Cincinnati. The flourishing art community revolved around an all-star cast of artists and the Art Academy boasted a faculty of high-profile talents led by Frank Duveneck. Duveneck, a native of Covington, Kentucky, studied in Munich, Germany and brought back to America an innovative style of painting—bold, painterly, nature-based. He was an exceptional teacher and through him Herman developed his artistic principles and knowledge that he would draw upon his entire life. After eight years of rigorous studies at the Art Academy, Herman set sail for Europe, following in Duveneck’s footsteps to Munich, and then to Paris to further his studies. Six years later, Herman returned to Cincinnati to take up a post as instructor of anatomy at the Art Academy, once again emulating his revered mentor. Herman himself became a beloved teacher, spending nearly 40 years at the academy, where he met the love of his life, Bessie Hoover. Bessie, also originally from Indiana, and a distant relative of Herbert Hoover, was encouraged by her father to further her artistic tendencies. In 1906, she enrolled at the Art Academy, studying under both Herman and Duveneck until 1915. She taught at the academy for two years, getting to know Herman on a personal level. They were married in 1917. The loss of Duveneck in 1919 stunned them both and they vowed at his memorial service to uphold and pass on his ideals. Bessie and Herman proceeded to have a rich and fulfilled artistic and married life. They painted prolifically and through the Art Club of Cincinnati (men only until 1979) and the Women’s Art Club they exhibited their works and contributed their time and expertise to the art community. Herman served as Curator of Painting at the Cincinnati Art Museum for 13 years and became renowned for his large-scale murals as well. In 1927, Herman and Bessie purchased a Queen Anne style home on Alpine Place, within walking distance to the Art Academy. Built in 1887, it showcased beautiful Cincinnati artcarved fireplaces and front door and old-world craftsmanship. However, it was already 40 years old and ripe for upgrade. The Wessels undertook significant renovations to update the home with more natural light and modern plumbing, and in 1930 added a large studio to the back of the house, painting it the same chocolate brown Duveneck painted his. The house became a lively center for the art crowd, the Wessels hosting boisterous and large art-themed parties such as “Modern Art Nights” where the past, present and future of art was the focus of the repartee. Even though cataracts impaired his eyesight, Herman continued to paint with joyful, colorful optimism through his eighty-ninth year, and passed away in 1969 at the age of 91. Bessie, who was well known and admired for her portraiture, continued to work after Herman’s death, producing a series of portraits of Native American Indians. Bessie worried about how they would be received, but her audience was devoted and the show nearly sold out. A short four years later, in 1973, Bessie died.

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The house on Alpine that had seen so much artistic endeavor was cleared out of personal effects by Herman and Bessie’s son Robert and daughter-in-law Helen. It was rented to students for the next 20 years, until another artist became enamored of its possibilities. One evening in 1995, Carl Samson, an artist and Curator of the Art Club collection, was digging through old membership rosters. He was a self-professed studio nut, with a keen interest in the working environs of Cincinnati artists. He discovered that the Wessel address was nearby, and drove over to see if the house was still standing. It was, and one thing led to



another. First he and his wife rented the property from Robert and Helen Wessel, and then bought it outright in 2000. The Samsons developed a friendship with Herman and Bessie’s daughter-inlaw, and she was very supportive of the Art Club’s plan to dedicate its exhibition gallery to Herman and Bessie, and to pull together an exhibit of their works, which took place in 1997. Carl’s wife, Carol Cyran, an art historian, authored the exhibit’s catalog, “Herman and Bessie Wessel, at Home and Abroad.” The spacious studio with north facing windows was a huge draw for Carl. His training as a painter is somewhat unusual in the modern era. Rather than attend university, he studied in the “atelier” system as an apprentice for 10 years with three well-known artists of the Boston school, known for its devotion to academic training, plein air painting, and a strong sense of form blended with Impressionistic technique. He then traveled to Washington D.C. and Europe to research and study the old masters, channeling Duveneck, Wessel and countless others in their quest for a classical art education. Carl considers nature to be the “ultimate source of inspiration” where he can “pick and choose from nature’s infinite storehouse of shapes and colors.” He feels that his mission as an artist is to remind people to enjoy the beauty and poetry of nature. Since owning the house on Alpine Place, the Samsons have made many structural

and other improvements: shoring up the studio that was pulling away from the house, replacing siding and windows, adding insulation, refinishing the floors and the front door, and much more. Although the house now functions mainly as Carl’s studio, the upstairs is a tribute to the Wessels, and many of their works line the walls. Carl notes that artists tend to be hoarders, saving all manner of objects and tchotchkes for inspiration and subject matter, and there was a treasure trove of Wessel paraphernalia in the attic that is now spread throughout the house. The spirit of the Wessels permeates the abode, and Carl comments that others have felt that presence as well. One of Carl’s fondest memories of the house is sitting in a rocking chair on the second floor, his newborn twins in his arms, watching the sun set outside the window, infused with a sense of peace. Ultimately, Carl’s goal is to turn the house into an artist house/museum and center for American Art Studies, insuring the legacy of the Wessels’ art lives on.


Herman and Bessie Wessel, at Home and Abroad, by Carol Cyran; Cincinnati Report: Herman Wessel, by Carl Samson and Carol Cyran;; Photos of the Wessel home and Carl Samson by Robin Victor Goetz/RVGP Inc. Photos of Herman and Bessie Wessel courtesy of Carl Samson

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TOP ROW: 1. Bessie and Herman Wessel in their studio, examining a painting. 2. By Bessie Hoover Wessel, Still Life, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Wessel in memory of the artist, 1988.261. Courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum. 3. By Herman H. Wessel, Mount Adams from Eden Park, Gift of The Procter & Gamble Company, 2003.118. Courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum. 4. By Carl Samson, Padme Resplendent with Naboo Mandala, STAR WARS ART: VISIONS. 5. Carl Samson in his studio. OPPOSITE BOTTOM: The entry hall of the Wessel home. ABOVE: The Wessel living room showcases Carl’s work and the Wessels’ collection of props.

continued >

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A Straight White Shield: John Hauser

On a quiet residential side street in Clifton sits an architectural curiosity. A stucco house with the air of a Spanish Mission sits amidst the sensible brick foursquares and stately Tudors as odd as a missionary among the natives. The builder of this home was a Cincinnati-born artist who did live among the natives, documenting the agonizing disintegration of Indian culture in the onslaught of the American expansion west. John Hauser was born in Over-the-Rhine in 1859, the child of German immigrants. He was a product of the Cincinnati schools and the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute, eventually enrolling at the McMicken School of Design. He worked his way through art school as a framemaker, fresco painter and safe decorator, painting ornate scenes on the doors of safes produced by the Hall Safe and Lock Company. He scrimped to save enough to fund a trip to Munich to train at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, like so many of his fellow art students. Returning after a year, he taught drawing in the public schools and took trips to Europe to broaden his art education, one with Joseph Henry Sharp, another Cincinnati artist who would become famous for his focus on Native American culture. After joining the Cincinnati Art Club in 1891, he met Henry Farny, whose success documenting Native American life inspired him to head west that year. Another trip with Sharp, this time in 1893 to various reservations, cemented his life-long focus on Native Americans, documenting daily life in a story-telling fashion, creating what is known as “genre paintings.” He also painted Indians against the grandeur of the western landscape, but his signature work became the portraits he painted, usually of Indian chiefs. In 1896 John married Wilhelmine (Minnie) Boltz, a fellow art teacher. Minnie had gumption and supported her husband’s interest in the West. They generally spent half of every year studying the Indian culture on reservations, and were adopted by the Sioux Nation, given the Indian monikers of “Straight White Shield” (John) and “Bring Us Sweets” (Minnie). In 1904 they built their Spanish mission home, naming it “Pine Ridge” in honor of their Sioux friends on the Pine Ridge Reservation. An enormous window on the north side of the second floor created optimum light for John’s studio. Not only did John paint in the studio, but according to Howard Jacobs, a nephew of Minnie’s, he decorated the entire house with murals, including a saloon-style nude floating directly above the bathtub. John died at the young age of 54, Minnie surviving only two more years after that. Because they had no children, many artifacts of their lives (correspondence, family bibles, photos, etc.) have disappeared into the ether. TOP LEFT: By John Hauser, Guard of continued >

the Estufa, Bequest of Tillie Baenninger, 1952.184. Courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum. BOTTOM LEFT: By John Hauser, Chief Irontail, Gift of The Procter & Gamble Company, 2003.68. Courtesy of the Cincinnati Art Museum. MIDDLE: Pine Ridge today. ABOVE: John Hauser in his studio

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In 1970, Pine Ridge was in shambles, as was much of the surrounding neighborhood. A young Germanic languages professor and his wife were intrigued by its “good bones and interesting features,” especially an enormous north facing window on the second floor. Not long after purchasing the house, E.P. and Marilyn Harris learned that its original owner was the artist John Hauser (explaining that unusual window). They found no information readily available about him and set about restoring the home. In one of those inexplicable coincidences of life, E.P. and Marilyn rescued a stray kitten, and when they couldn’t find its

TOP: Hauser’s studio as it exists today. ABOVE: E.P. Harris

owner, decided that it was the spirit of John Hauser and should stay with them. Ever the German scholar, E.P. could not resist naming the feline John Mauser (German for mouser!) and off they went to a vet recommended by a co-worker of E.P.’s. Almost unbelievably, the vet, Harold Jacobs, turned out to be the grand-nephew of Minnie Hauser. He introduced the Harrises to his uncle, Howard Jacobs, who had many stories to tell about the Hausers and their home in Clifton. Forty years of restoration later, patiently focusing on one room at a time, the Harrises have a lovely home. The house had been converted to a two-family at some point after the Hausers were gone, and in an unusual move, the Harrises decided to use the upstairs as the public area of the house, since the second-floor kitchen was more modernized than the one downstairs. They’ve added a window-lined breakfast room on the second floor that overlooks the yard. It’s E.P.’s favorite room. In the summer it’s like sitting in a tree house, surrounded by towering green trees, and in the winter it has an expansive view of western Cincinnati. The garden below is a labor of love, and is filled with perennials,

a Japanese style pond and pagoda. And though the Harrises don’t believe in ghosts, the mysterious appearance of a kitten leading them to the best source of information they could ever have found about John Hauser, was at least a gift. Since retiring from the University of Cincinnati, E.P. has made scholarship about John Hauser his focus. While Hauser’s work faded into obscurity, his compatriots Farny and Sharp have become better known and respected. E.P. aims to give Hauser his due. An illustrated book, Straight White Shield: A Life and Works of John Hauser is in progress, slated for publication this fall.


White Wings: Preliminary Sketches for a Life of John Hauser (1859-1913) by Edward P. Harris and Jerry Glenn,, Photos of the Hauser home and E.P. Harris by Robin Victor Goetz/RVGP Inc. Photo of John Hauser courtesy of E.P. Harris

To see more photos of these homes, visit Search: Home is where the art is

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Carving Out a A couple of empty nesters build a contemporary perch high above the river

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a Niche By Karen Bradner | Photos by Ross Van Pelt

After spending 38 years, raising four children, and celebrating the birth of several grandchildren in a big old house in the charming Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming, Martha and Lee were ready to make their move to a new home—one that would be created specifically for their wants and needs.

It was time to think about doing something else.


somewhere else. Creating what I call a more adult lifestyle, says Martha. Fortunately, due to healthy habits and lots of regular exercise, both husband and wife are in good shape and wanted to make the move, as Martha says, “before the kids needed to move us.�

continued >

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We needed to move the


off center to create wall space for the painting.

Smooth transition The couple knew they were ready for a condominium, but didn’t see themselves in a hi-rise, multi-unit building complete with a doorman. Instead they selected a small, three-unit building in East Walnut Hills complete with sweeping river views. It was over four years ago, before the structure was even built, when the two committed to buy. The developers had a proposed floor plan, but Martha and Lee brought Randy Basselman, senior designer with Evolo-Design, on board to make several adjustments in order to get exactly what they wanted. “I gave him a concept,” Martha says. “I wanted it very comfortable and very understated. Nothing formal. Nothing fancy. He took it from there. Randy is fabulous.”

Home again Their new place, Martha says, feels like a house in a lot of ways. The two-level floorplan is spacious, with 825 square feet of living space on the lower level, where the couple keeps a treadmill and a multi-station exercise machine, and 2,625 on the main floor. Right now they both take the steps from one floor to the next, but an elevator is there, should the need arise. While quite practical, the couple’s new place is also full of perks. There are plenty of fresh-air options: the ground level opens to a small patio area where Martha has positioned a few plantings and bird feeders; and the upper floor has an oversized balcony that’s perfect for entertaining. When the homeowner is asked if she misses yardwork, she is quick to answer “No. No. No.” continued >

OPPOSITE: The artwork that started the evolution hangs in its custom-built home near the piano. ABOVE: The open floor plan has lots of flexibility during large gatherings. LEFT: A slider door conceals a flat screen television above the fireplace and is opened by remote control.

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TOP LEFT: The homeowners’ art collection adds fun splashes of color throughout the space. TOP RIGHT: A green glass tiled wall serves as a backdrop to the powder bath’s vessel sink. ABOVE: A print by Picasso hangs next to an abstract by Serge Poliakoff, an important artist from the modernist period. RIGHT: A painting by Cincinnati artist Cole Carothers hangs above a floating shelf in the dining room. OPPOSITE LEFT: Basselman designed a his-and-her set of medicine cabinets that are recessed into the maple cabinetry and slide out when needed. OPPOSITE MIDDLE: Niches between dining room and living room display a beautiful tree sculpture by Harry Bertoia on top and a silver bowl made by Martha’s father on the bottom shelf. OPPOSITE RIGHT: When it’s just the two of them, the couple prefers to eat meals in this more casual setting.

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Though more contemporary than their old place, many of the couple’s furnishings made the move with them. The hardest to miss is a grand piano that originally belonged to Martha’s grandmother. None of couple’s children wanted to take it so Basselman figured a way to make it work in the family room. The original drawings had the fireplace centered with built-ins on both sides. But since the couple have a large art collection, including one especially large painting, and not a lot of places to hang their collection due to the wall of windows facing the river, Basselman came up with an idea to meet that challenge. “It got me thinking,” he says. “We needed to move the fireplace off center to create wall space for the painting. This in turn created a niche for the piano and a better seating group around the fireplace. As a result the room was more successful and there was no piano in the windows. It was sort of an evolution.” “Nobody really plays it,” Martha says referring to the piano. Although it does get a workout every now and then. Lee has been taking lessons recently and tinkers around with it a bit. Also, the couple belongs to a house concert group in which members take turns hosting a musical performance which may include artists from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra or the College-Conservatory of Music. The couple has hosted as many as 50 people in their home for this event.

A hop, skip and a jump A major perk is that the couple is close to almost everything they like or need to do on a regular basis. Though they both are retired, they tend to keep themselves rather busy. Martha serves on the board for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Cincinnati (, a continuing education program for active adults over fifty. In addition to a couple games of tennis each week, Lee volunteers as a tutor for Power Inspires Progress (, a local non-profit organization that provides training and support to inner city residents who face barriers to employment. The two regularly attend shows at Playhouse in the Park and CSO concerts.

I wanted it very

comfortable and very

understated. Nothing formal. Nothing fancy. He took it from there. Randy is

fabulous. —Martha

continued >

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I living in town, and the

urban feel. We love the

lifestyle. —Martha

“My husband says we’ve cut our driving in half,” says Martha. When they’re not on the move in nearby neighborhoods, the couple enjoys frequent visits from their children and eleven grandchildren. Two sons and their families live in town. The others come for more extended visits. The home has been laid out and furnishings have been carefully selected to accommodate a crowd. The dining room table expands to seat ten and a table near the kitchen can seat eight. There’s a guest room and full bath with plenty of privacy on the lower level. Upstairs are the main rooms of the house, the master suite, a study, a third bedroom, the kitchen, and the living areas. The whole space has a contemporary feel to match up with the location. “I love living in town, and the urban feel,” says Martha. “We love the lifestyle.” Although much of the furniture made the move as well, this home is decidedly more contemporary than their place in Wyoming. That house was decorated mostly in primary colors, something Martha really wanted to change. Although a more neutral color palette was chosen for the new place, Basselman used a large abstract painting, which now hangs behind the piano in the living room, to inspire little splashes of color which are found throughout the home. The homeowners also sing high praise for Basselman’s design of the living room’s mantle and fireplace. In addition to shifting it to accommodate the piano, he designed a step-down niche to create a striking platform for a piece of sculpture by Etienne Hajdu, which the couple inherited from Lee’s mother. “We needed to create a spot for it that had some style,” the designer says. “We wanted to make it important and integrate it into the design of the fireplace.” To further incorporate the art with the built-in, Basselman placed strips of stainless steel between the large irregular sections of tile on the facade to give the whole structure a more contemporary look.

As visually rich as Martha and Lee’s home is, it’s often hard for the interior to compete with what’s happening outside a bank of French doors off the living room. By opening up the doors, the large deck becomes an extension of the home, perfect for quiet meals or elegant entertaining. From here guests can enjoy a calming view upriver and the excitement of city lights downtown. It’s the icing on the cake for these newly converted urban dwellers. Martha sums up the result of the couple’s effort to focus on themselves with this home when she says, “We just think it’s fun to be here.”


Design: Randy Basselman, EvoloDesign; Cabinetry: Custom designed by Randy Basselman, Evolo-Design, built by Profiles in Design; KITCHEN: Countertops: Glacier White Corian, Profiles in Design; Appliances: Custom Distributors; Plumbing fixtures: Keidel Plumbing; Island light: Becker Electric; Cabinet hardware: Bona; Cork flooring: Schumacher Wood Flooring; LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM: Fireplace surround tile: Mees Distributors; Flooring: Schumacher Wood Flooring; Furniture: Evolo-Design; Living room rug: UCL Carpets; Dining room rug: Weave-Tuft Carpets; Casual eating area chairs: Elite from Bova; MASTER BATHROOM Countertops: Cultured Marble; Plumbing fixtures: Keidel Plumbing; Cabinet hardware: Bona Hardware; POWDER ROOM: Countertops: Arcobaleno Blue granite from Mees Distributors; Vessel sink: Bona Hardware; Glass tile: Mees Distributors; Mirror: Evolo-Design; Light: Becker Electric

web bonus

To see more photos of this project visit Search: Carving Out a Niche OppOsite: A sculpture by Jesus Moroles greets guests as they arrive via the elevator. ABOVe: the kitchen cabinets were custom made in quarter-sawn eucalyptus.

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landscape TRENDS Doubloons Crabapple flower (Malus ‘Doubloons’)

Fever Spring

Color and perfume your landscaping with the beauty and fragrance of spring-blooming trees By Phyllis Gricus | Photos courtesy of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.

Whenever I walk through the park near my home, I pause to commune with a treasured trio of crab-

apples. The three catch the eye anytime of year. But in spring, ah, sweet-scented spring, I always linger. I close my eyes, inhale the aroma of the pinky white blooms, and experience a joined sensation—as if I were smelling the color of spring. continued >

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landscape trends

Spring Flurry® Serviceberry tree

Golden Raindrops® Crabapple

Louisa Crabapple flower

Louisa Crabapple tree

(Amelanchier laevis)

(Malus ‘Louisa’)

Crabapples also work wonderfully in a sunny location in the home landscape. They are among the showiest of spring bloomers and they display beautiful fruit from fall into winter.

Serviceberry A spectacular tree that is a relative of the apple is the serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea). An upright, small, multistemmed tree, it bears showy clear white flowers that hang in elegant clusters. The slightly fragrant blooms will last for a

(Malus ‘Schmidtcutleaf’)

(Malus ‘Louisa’) week or two in cool weather, less so if it’s a warm spring. Flowers give way to edible berries, which turn from green to magenta to blueberry purple in June. The small, apple-like fruit that ripens in June (the tree is sometimes also called Juneberry) is delicious to both people and wildlife. If you’re lucky enough to discover the fruit before the birds do, you’ll find the sweet, blueberry-like flavor tasty when eaten fresh, or baked in pies. Serviceberries are commonly found along stream banks and bordering wood-

lands. They prefer well-drained soil but tolerate a wide variety of conditions and thrive in full sun to dense shade. (When growing them for fruit, plant them in full sun.) Serviceberry also develops glowing fall color. The leaves range from purple to orange, red, or yellow, depending on the variety. In winter the smooth gray bark and artistic branching patterns are an attractive feature, especially when planted in the foreground of evergreens.

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Forest Pansy Redbud leaves

Lavender Twist® Redbud

Red Jewel™ Crabapple flower

Fringe Tree flower

(Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’)

(Malus ‘Jewelcole’)

(Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’)

(Chionanthus virginicus)

Redbud As the white serviceberry blossoms fade, another spectacular tree, the redbud (Cercis canadensis) steps forward in the bloom sequence. The magenta pink blooms are an impressive sight in the woods where it grows well in fairly dense shade but blooms more prolifically in sunny locations with adequate moisture. Redbud needs a well-drained spot and grows equally well in acidic or basic soils. The pea-like flowers of redbud are visited for nectar by many early-season butterflies. The heart-shaped leaves are reddish

when they emerge and then turn green. In fall, the leaves of the species turn bright yellow. In a small garden, this ornamental tree with its striking floral display is best planted as a focal specimen near an entryway or patio. A small grouping is especially attractive in a naturalized setting or larger garden.

Fringe tree At the sight of the spectacular cloudlike effect of a fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) in bloom, you will be positively

smitten. In peak bloom, it’s especially luminous at twilight. Place it where it can be viewed from inside your home, light it well, and your garden in nighttime will be aglow. Any one of these spring-bloomers will add welcome beauty to the landscape, and provide an important food source for wildlife. Editor’s note: For more information on these trees and many more visit J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. on the web at

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Unad rn e A look at Housetrends’ favorite contemporary kitchens that focus on function By Karen Bradner

In the essay “Ornament and Crime,” Adolf Loos writes that ornamentation contributes to objects becoming out of style and eventually obsolete. This doctrine became a foundation of the Modernist movement that was popular in the U.S. after World War II. Homes, kitchens and furniture from this time period are often referred to as “mid-century modern.” After the 1970s, the look transformed slightly to what is now called “contemporary,” but the two concepts share a minimalistic, clean-line conviction. ● In cooking up a contemporary kitchen, the primary ingredients are: an open floor plan; efficient space planning; modern appliances and a minimalist design. Take a look at some of these spaces that have recently caught our eye and why.

“The evolution of culture marches with the elimination


ornament from useful objects.” —Austrian architect Adolf Loos, 1908

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n ed


Cabinetry and countertop lines are clean and simple.



continued >

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Natural elements and textures mix to create a distinct look.

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kitchentrends Flat cabinet fronts

have little or no decoration.


Recessed cans or striking, hanging pendants are perfect lighting solutions. continued >

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Windows are typically bare, unless their covering is functional.


Accessories are used to add splashes of color.


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Ornamentation and clutter should be absent or, at least, minimal.

continued >

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kitchentrends INDIANAPOLIS


Skillfully designed contemporary kitchens have a timeless appeal.



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and hearty Flavorful one-pot meals chase away the winter blues By Christina Kleiner

There’s nothing quite like a hearty bowl of soup or a crock of chili to take the chill out of the air on a frosty day. These one-pot meals are warm, filling and full of flavor. continued >

NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER Recipe on next page Recipe and photo courtesy of Family Features

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Recipe and photo courtesy of GE Appliances

Pinch of ground nutmeg Pinch of paprika

CROCK POT WHITE CHILI 4 cans (approximately 14 ounces each) navy beans 2 cups diced, cooked chicken 3 cups chicken broth 2 medium onions, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cans (approximately 4 ounces each) diced green chilies 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1½ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper ½ teaspoon pepper Salt to taste

Soup 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ¾ cup chopped white onions ¾ cup chopped carrots 2 tablespoons chopped garlic Salt and pepper to taste 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and halved 1 cup uncooked orzo 2 cups shredded kale Place ingredients for meatballs into a large bowl and use your hands to mix well. With damp hands, shape mixture into bite-size meatballs and transfer them to a large plate. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. For the soup, melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, and 2 cups water. Cover and cook 10 minutes over medium heat or until soup comes to a boil. Add meatballs and orzo to the boiling soup and stir to make sure they are fully submerged. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes over medium heat. Stir in kale. Test a meatball and a piece of orzo to ensure that they are fully cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

Place beans, chicken and chicken broth into crock pot. Saute chopped onion and garlic in oil until transparent. Add spices and green chiles to onion mixture, stir well and add to crock pot. Cook in crock pot on low for at least 2 hours. Garnish with sour cream, chopped green onions and Monterey Jack cheese if desired.

NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER 4 slices bacon, chopped 1 pound (about 3 medium) potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks ¼ cup chopped carrot ¼ cup chopped onion ¼ cup finely chopped celery 2 cans (12 fluid ounces each) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk ¼ cup all-purpose flour 2 cans (6.5 ounces each) chopped or minced clams, undrained ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper Cook bacon in medium saucepan until crisp; drain. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Return reserved bacon fat to saucepan. Add potatoes, carrot, onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for 6 to 7 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Combine evaporated milk and flour in small bowl until blended; add to potato mixture. Stir in clams with juice, salt, bacon, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes or until creamy and slightly thick.

web bonus

Go to to get the recipes for White Bean Soup and Root Vegetable Stew. Search: Thick and Hearty

Meatballs ½ pound ground beef ¼ pound ground pork ⅓ cup dried bread crumbs 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan 2 tablespoons chopped garlic 2 tablespoons chopped oregano ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 1 egg, beaten

Recipe and photo courtesy of Whole Foods


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UÊÊÊvœÀÌÞÊܓi̅ˆ˜}ÊVœÕ«iÊ>˜`Ê̅iˆÀÊÌܜÊV…ˆ`Ài˜\Ê nÊÞi>Àʜ`ÊܘÊ>˜`Ê>Ê£{ÊÞÀ°Êœ`Ê`>Õ}…ÌiÀ° UÊʺV̈Ûi»Êv>“ˆÞÊqÊi˜œÞÊLiˆ˜}ʜÕÌÈ`i]Ê>V̈ÛiÊëœÀÌÃÊ ­ÃœVViÀ]ÊۜiÞL>]ÊÃ܈““ˆ˜}® UÊÊ ˜ÌiÀÌ>ˆ˜Ê£x‡Óäʜ˜Ê>ÊÀi}Տ>ÀÊL>ÈÃ]Êܓï“iÃʅ>ÛiÊÎä‡{äÊ­ÓÝÊ>ÊÞi>À® UÊʈŽiÊ̜Ê}ÀˆÊ>˜`Êi˜ÌiÀÌ>ˆ˜ÊœÕÌÈ`i UÊʈŽiÊÀœœ“ÊvœÀÊܓiÊ̅i“iÊ}>À`i˜ˆ˜}\ÊÀœÃiÃ]ʅiÀLà UÊÊ7>˜ÌÊ>Ê«œœÊLÕÌÊÜ>˜ÌÊ̜ÊLiÊ>LiÊ̜ÊÕÃiÊ̅iÊ«>̈œÊ܅i˜Ê̅iÊ«œœÊˆÃÊ VœÃi`ʈ˜ÊëÀˆ˜}Ê>˜`Êv>

(standing at the back of the house facing the back property line)

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At Tinkerturf Lawn & Landscape our client consultation is the most valuable time in the design process, where the homeowner’s needs and desires drive the direction of the design. Above all we are good listeners and absorb all the nuances of the customer, respect the architecture of their home and analyze the “lay of the land”. With our technical expertise we can then guide them through a well thought out landscape design, that serves as the blueprint to their outdoor living space. Our goal is to provide additional complimentary space expanding their life with ease and function. Form definitely follows function, with this rustic architecturally inspired casual, textural, mountain lakeside inspired retreat. The homeowners step out from the kitchen directly into a new outdoor kitchen created in an L-shape configuration, providing counter space, outdoor grill and

refrigerator. This is nestled into the landscape with the use of fieldstone clad components and a cedar pergola roof. A herb garden is tucked strategically behind the outdoor kitchen wall for easy access to the aromas of basil, rosemary, thyme & parsley. With the kitchen in the hub of the entertaining space no ‘chef’ shall be left behind. The outdoor kitchen is just steps away from the heart of the entertaining space, the outdoor living room. Humans love the feeling of belonging in our spaces and creating comfort is key. We achieve this by creating ceilings, walls and floors in the outdoors. For instance, the purpose of the cedar Pergola is to provide much needed dappled shade from this south western exposure. Additionally, the ‘ceiling’ effect frames and defines the outdoor sitting area creating the main gathering space for extended family and friends who


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Elevation view provided by HousetrendsÂŽ

cannot resist the warmth and charm of the outdoor fireplace. The outdoor fireplace complete with mantlepiece and automatic ignition, adds warmth for extended entertaining into spring and fall. Additional patio space allows for those larger celebrations while not impeding the good views beyond. All the living spaces are surrounded by colorful low maintenance shrub roses, providing repeated blooms throughout the late spring, summer and fall. All of these main outdoor entertaining areas are gently removed from the splash and fun at the pool by a short curving sitting wall, serving as additional seating for larger gatherings. This subtle disguising of the lower pool area allows the teenagers and young at heart to enjoy the swimming pool, formed in a curvaceous, irregular

shape and colored in a dark blue as you would see in a mountain lake. The upper spa cascades like a waterfall into the pool. A rustic fire pit and sitting wall are tucked under the boughs of a luscious triple trunk River Birch, mimicking the strong but gentle features of the Aspen trees typically found in more mountainous regions. On a summer’s night, Smores are not far out of reach.

513.771.8873 | WWW.TINKERTURF.COM


Architectural rendering by Lynne Fraser, Landscape Designer


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Designer creates cohesive balance between art and life By Sarah J. Dills | Photos by Robin Victor Goetz, RVGP Inc.

SOME SAY GREAT ART SHOULD STAND ALONE—HUNG AGAINST AN INSIPID WALL. They say homeowners should not distract a residential collection with bright walls or flashy furnishings. Well, one Anderson Township homeowner and her interior designer were brave enough to ask, “Who are they, and what do they know about this house?”

continued >

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Life imitating art When the homeowner contacted Michael Crouch, an interior designer with Hoffman & Albers Interiors, to redesign her living and dining rooms, Crouch decided to use the homeowners’ art collection as a giant swatch for selecting the colors and textures for the space. He did not downplay the home to highlight the art. The result is a fresh burst of color that ties the rooms and art collection together making it look like the pieces were painted especially for the space. “Usually, designers bring the art in after a room is designed or they downplay the selections not to take away from the art,” Crouch explains. “But the homeowners really gave me free creative reign. I matched selections to the paintings.” This was extremely important to the homeowner who explains that her art philosophy is, “Art should not be purchased to go with the décor of a room. The other way around works much better. If you have your art, then you can decorate around it and know you’re going to love everything.” The homeowners decided it was time to redecorate after almost twenty years in their California contemporary home. Their art collection began shortly after they moved in, and it was serendipitous that the house lent itself to displaying art. “Our living room was very spacious, and the palette was soft and muted,” the homeowner says. “We had all this wall space, so it worked out well when we got our first paintings.” continued >

OVERLEAF: This chair, by Carter, has a twin on the other side of the fireplace. TOP LEFT: Crouch hung curtains on rods where they can be closed for privacy but opened to reveal the vast views of the Ohio River. BOTTOM LEFT: The homeowners’ existing dining room table was given a makeover with striped fabric on the seat cushions. OPPOSITE: A Paul Chidlaw painting hangs over the buffet table in the dining room.

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Don’t call us collectors “I wouldn’t exactly call us collectors,” the homeowner says with a chuckle. “A family member began taking art lessons from Jack Meanwell, and we fell in love with his work. There wasn’t a piece that we didn’t love. We loved his style, the contemporary colors. We purchased all three pieces at the same time.” The homeowner goes on to explain that the pieces hung beautifully in her home for several years. Meanwell got to see them displayed before he passed away in 2005. “He was humbled,” the homeowner describes. “He felt like he was in his own personal gallery. The paintings really stood out.” “The home always lent itself to paintings. It was just time to redecorate,” she adds of contacting Crouch. “We gave Michael free reign because he’d done work for my sister and brother-in-law. They said we’d be a good match with him.”

Palette plan Crouch says the homeowner’s primary goal was to display the art while making the rooms more comfortable. “I have huge swatches of color that I work with,” Crouch adds. “I spread them out on my desk, and the turquoises and oranges jumped out at me.” Crouch incorporated some of the homeowners’ existing furnishings back into the design giving them modern touches with new fabric and accessories. Aside from the artwork, the other main design element Crouch worked with was the expansive view of the Ohio River that stretches across the backside of the home. “I wanted to be able to see over and through everything,” Crouch says. “I didn’t want to block that view.” Crouch explains that when the project was completed, it was important that he hang the artwork differently. “The living room had a whole new look, so it was important for the art to move.”

TOP LEFT: Crouch designed the new rug for the entrance hall that ties the spaces together. BOTTOM LEFT: Jack Meanwell paintings are at the heart of this bright, airy living room.

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Job well done “What Michael did was remarkable,” the homeowner says. “The art, in my mind, is still showcased even though the colors and furnishings are so dramatic. It makes me smile and feel comfortable right away. He did a marvelous job. I never get tired of it.” It’s almost certain to assume that Meanwell would be pleased with the homeowner’s satisfaction. “Buy art that challenges you...” Meanwell is quoted as saying, “ you can grow with it. Art should add life to a room.” TOP LEFT: A hillside pool is the perfect place to soak up this sweeping view of the Ohio River. MIDDLE LEFT: A work by Jackie Frey hangs in the staircase leading to the lower level. MIDDLE RIGHT: An original architectural element of the house, the homeowners call this magnificent window their “porthole to the river.”

Area artists on display Jack Meanwell, 1919-2005, was a well-known artist in the Queen City. Born in Canada, Meanwell set up his studio in Ludlow, Kentucky and taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Paul Chidlaw, 1900-1989, was a native of Ohio before traveling the globe studying art. Meanwell studied under Chidlaw, according to the homeowner, which explains their similar styles and appeal to the homeowner. Jackie Frey is a current Cincinnati artist with work displayed in the homeowner’s collection. Frey studied under Meanwell and credits him as one of her inspirations. Her work can be enjoyed at the Pendleton Art Center or at

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green at heart Improve five core systems in your home for better energy efficiency and savings will flow By Stephanie Aurora Lewis, NCARB R.A., LEED AP










continued >

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Going green in your home can start with a task as tiny as recycling your cereal box. Slightly more ambitious folks may compost their yard waste or take cloth bags to the grocery store. But if you are looking for ways to save green while going green, take a look at these major systems inside your home for energy and cost saving opportunities.


At the very least, don’t forget to insulate the ductwork.


HVAC system The heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system in your home is unfortunately the mechanical system that is most likely inefficient; often heating one room too much while leaving another freezing cold. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) also states that the HVAC system is the weakest link in an energy-efficient building. Sometimes parts are put on backwards, sometimes the ductwork is not insulated, sometimes the system’s design simply has inlying errors. The solution: Work on this system first. Write down your grievances, find a building professional or HVAC contractor to help analyze the problem, then get quotes to fix the errors or work on the system yourself. At the very least, don’t forget to insulate the ductwork. Once solved, your home will be pleasantly cool in the summer and toasty in the winter without paying at a premium.

New energy-efficient lighting fixtures and perhaps even skylights could reduce your dependence on electricity.


Lighting system LED and fluorescent bulbs are 75% more efficient than specialty and incandescent bulbs, emit less heat, and often last as much as a couple dozen years. “If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Starqualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than three million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars,” according to the Department of Energy on its website, The solution: Begin taking an inventory of all the older, inefficient bulbs in your home. Furthermore, look for ideas to redesign part or all of the lighting system. New energy-efficient lighting fix­ tures and perhaps even skylights could reduce your dependence on electricity and add a thoughtfully-designed lighting ambiance throughout the home.

Plumbing system Some areas of the country, such as in Ohio, have more of an abundant water supply than other areas such as in Arizona. Nevertheless, as populations increase, the demand grows, causing municipalities to build larger and larger water treatment plants. Homeowners then pay more for the water they use and eventually clean water may become more of

The amount of water emitted from a low-flow faucet is one-third as much as a regular faucet.

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a scarcity. Furthermore, supplying and treating cold water requires a significant amount of energy. According to the Stanford University’s Earth System’s Program, letting your faucet run for 5 minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours. The solution: Begin in­stall­ ing new faucets, shower heads, and toilets with low-flow fixtures. The amount of water emitted from a low-flow faucet is one-third as much as that of a regular faucet; yet, it feels like the same amount when washing your hands. Replace fixtures that are used more often first.


Insulation system The average household spends over 40 percent of its annual energy budget on heating and cooling costs, making an efficient insulation system essential. The indoor temperature should not have large degree fluctuations such as a cold chill in the air just before the thermostat kicks on the furnace or walls that are cold to the touch in the winter. The solution: Begin with the most simple and inexpensive step by adding insulating shades and curtains to windows. Consider replacing 15to 20-year-old windows with new, efficient units. According to the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), 15 percent of the household energy costs can be reduced by replacing the windows. Plant deciduous trees on the

Fifteen percent of the household energy costs can be reduced by replacing the windows. —National Fenestration Rating Council south side of the home that will provide shade in the summer while allowing solar heat to penetrate through the bare branches in the winter. When replacing the roof or siding, ask your contractor to add enough additional insulation so that the roof system equals at least an R-value rating of 30 and the exterior walls equal an R-value of 22.


continued >

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Americans spend 90 percent of their time inside, yet according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Many people also suffer from poor ventilation, radon, lead paint, mold, unwanted microorganisms, and chemicals from building materials and cleaning supplies, etc. THE SOLUTION: When renovating and redecorating, choose materials, furniture, and paints that will not off-gas carcinogenic VOCs (volatile organic compounds that may contribute to cancer). Some indoor air quality problems require special kits that can be used by the homeowner and by professionals alike. If radon



and mold are detected, then there are special systems, equipment, and construction maintenance measures that can be done to remedy the air quality problems. It never hurts to run these tests, especially if someone in the home already has asthma or any other compromised breathing condition.

Indoor air pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally 100 times higher than outdoor levels.




Indoor air system

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Cut your energy bills. ClimateMaster geothermal systems tap the constant temperature of the earth to provide heating, cooling, and hot water. Your home stays comfortable year-round while trimming your energy use by up to 80%. And now with new federal tax credits, you will save an additional 30% on the total installation. Best of all, ClimateMaster systems are not only a good investment, they are a cleaner choice for the environment. To learn more about how the geothermal technology leader can help you cut your energy bills, call Durbin Heating & Cooling Today.

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Image of an actual kitchen design and installation by Howard’s Kitchen Studio

Waiting for a great price? Your time is now. There’s no better time than now to have the kitchen you’ve been waiting for. We’ve been working hard with our suppliers to bring you great pricing and our suppliers are offering specials that we’re passing on to you. Stop in and start planning your kitchen with one of our designers today. This special pricing ends March 31, 2011.

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HEATING & COOLING Durbin Heating & Cooling ........93

HOUSING/REAL ESTATE The Palisades of Mount Adams ........69

INTERIOR DESIGN Decorating Den ................................25 Evolodesign ......................................11 Hoffman & Albers Interiors ................9 RM-Interiors .....................................17 Simply Rearranged ............................17

JEWELER Welling & Co. Jewelers .......................3


No Limits Landscaping, Inc...............85 Perrino Landscape Inc. .....................59 Tinkerturf Lawn & Landscape . 76 & 77 Werbrich’s Landscaping ....................59

LIGHTING Switch ...............................................16

MARBLE RESTORATION Marblelife..........................................52

POOLS AND SPAS Superior Pools ..................................86

REMODELING Neal’s Design Remodel ....................43 Pendery Construction ......................75 Robert Lucke Group ........................70 Towne Remodeling ...........................39

RETAIL Renaissance Garden Ornament ........58


Krispin’s Contemporary Furnishings.15

Auer Kitchens ...................................53

Modern Wood Elements ..................13

Cooknee ...........................................91

Verbarg’s Furniture & Design .............2

Howard’s Kitchen Studio..................95

Champion .........................................94

Voltage Furniture ..............................13

Kelly Bros. Home & Design Center .13

Cincinnati Entry Point .........................7

Watson’s ...........................................61

Kitchen Solutions ..............................70


Metro Design Kitchen + Bath ..........17

AE Door & Window Co. ..................41

The Kitchen Design Studio ...............27

Apollo Draperies ..............................71


Please visit our advertisers and let them know you saw their ads in Housetrends. This directory is published as an added resource. The publisher does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions.


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