At Home: History in Old Oaks
When Todd Popp was looking for a home about fourteen years ago, he had been looking for an older home in an established neighborhood in the 100k-120k range. That search originally had him looking around Westgate for the cute, older neighborhood feel and lasted about two years. During that time, he also met his partner Doug Motz, and together they found a home in the historic neighborhood of Old Oaks that they both loved. The 2300 square foot, 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath Queen Anne vernacular home had been built in 1898 by a seat salesman and had had some improvements and repairs and upkeep done to it, so it was not a total wreck. They adored the high ceilings, they loved that it was in a historic district, they found the big backyard especially appealing and they really enjoyed the flow and feel of the home. Since then, they have become very involved in their neighborhood civic association and have enjoyed seeing the neighborhood improve.
The neighborhood is located East of Downtown and South of I-70. From the website, it’s official boundaries are: “on the West by the homes on Ohio Avenue, on the East by the homes on Kimball Place, on the North by Mooberry Street, and on the South by Livingston Avenue.” “Old Oaks is the most intact of Columbus’ turn-of-the-century streetcar era neighborhoods that show the homes of the middle and upper classes.” It was the neighborhood that many of the South Siders working in German Village hoped to move to to escape the dirt, grime and cramped quarters of their neighborhood.
Todd and Doug’s home has four beautiful gas fireplaces, original pocket doors separating the living and dining rooms, and built in cabinets that house some of their collectibles. Once they moved in, they repainted all of the rooms, did a couple of upgrades such as the electric and HVAC, and replaced the sewer line. They also repainted the outside of the home. Currently they are working on their backyard.
When they were dating, the couple loved to go to antiquing. Now, antique stores and auctions, in addition to family heirlooms, are the main way they find furniture for their home. They have found some pieces at Mary Catherine’s in the Short North. Their favorite place to go is the Apple Tree Auction Center in Newark, Ohio. The last time they were there, they saw huge area rugs going for as little as $25 a piece. They also noticed seven piece dining sets going for $125. Not a bad way to furnish your home!
Probably one of the most important parts of a home in Old Oaks is the front porch. Almost every home has one. They are a great way to be a part of your neighborhood. Every Wednesday from May to September, the neighborhood has “Wednesdays on the Porch.” Originally, it was a way for neighbors who could not make the neighborhood association meetings to find out what happened. Then it evolved into neighbors sharing tips and information on contractors they used to repair their homes and such. Today, some of the information sharing is retained, but it has become more of a social gathering. The parties rotate to different homes throughout the season.
The couple has a large collection of local art hanging on the walls of their home. They combine today’s local artists such as Kat Brunnegraff, Adam Brouillette and Elizabeth Chrisman, with historical artists such as Billy Ireland and Emerson Burkhart. They are also involved with the local arts scene through their jewelry business, PoMo Galaxy. Their studio for PoMo Galaxy is located in a room on the second floor that has lots of beautiful natural light. It makes a great place to work on their business while spending time together.
If you would like to learn more about the Old Oaks Neighborhood and have a chance to tour some of the amazing homes in the area, the Columbus Historical Society is hosting an event to do just that! “History of the Boulevard – CHS Block Party in Old Oaks” is happening this Thursday, September 16, 2010 from 5:30-8pm. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. The tour will start at Doug and Todd’s home and progress through homes and gardens along Wilson Boulevard.