Finding this lot on Neil Avenue was a dream come true for Lisa Craig Morton and her husband Jeff. “We had been living in Upper Arlington and felt like we were paying for a neighborhood [in real estate taxes] that we weren’t fully utilizing. Everything is very kid and school focused there, and we don’t have kids, so we wanted to find a similar house in a downtown neighborhood.”
When they were searching for homes, they based their search on homes on Neil Avenue or very close to it. Lisa grew up in Upper Arlington and as an adult, worked downtown. She loved to head home on Neil Avenue and always loved its gorgeous canopy of trees with beautiful homes lining the sides of the road. The other things she was hoping to find in a home included a back staircase, a ‘Dorothy door’ for a cellar entrance and pocket doors.
After looking at about four homes, they saw this beautiful Queen Anne Victorian sitting right on Neil. The 2580 square foot home was in good condition and mostly original. Although it had once been a rooming house called the Neil Avenue Home for Guests, it had never been divided into separate residences. It remained as one residence and had all of the original wood trim and floors, lighting fixtures, 4 of the original mantels over the fireplaces and 3 of the fireplaces still had their tilework. However, the front, side and back yards were completely overgrown.
Dennis Karem of Environmental Management Inc designed the yard, put in the shrubs and trees and put in the brick pathways and patio. Lisa and Jeff enjoyed adding the pots and found objects throughout the space. They also did the flowerbeds, creating vignettes in each garden space. Some of their favorite sources for found objects include Mary Catherine’s Antiques, Grandview Mercantile, Columbus Architectural Salvage, The Short North Yard Sale, German Village Antique Mall. They have also enjoyed finding things at the Royal Society Antique & Garden Show in Mt. Vernon. They have sales in the fall and spring, the next one is May 4 and 5, 2012.
The couple decided that they would really like to have a carriage house at the rear of the property. They checked with the city and with the Victorian Village Society (now The Short North Civic Association) and got approvals to build. Aurora Industries was the builder they chose and the building was designed by Urban Order Architecture. The carriage house was 2000 square feet, with a garage on the first floor and an upstairs space that was a blank slate. At first they considered a home gym, but as Lisa’s career in the banking industry was changing, she thought more about making it a guest house. She’s been welcoming people to stay at the Victorian Village Guest House for several years and couldn’t be happier with how it has turned out.
They have also done some major work to the main house. The kitchen was completely redone and an addition was added to the back of the house to include a pantry, guest bath and a mud room. The 100 square foot addition makes the back of the home look ‘complete.’ John Wilson of Creations CRI Interiors helped Lisa with the window treatments. Originally, they wanted to expose the brick in the kitchen, but they discovered that previous owners had applied drywall to it with adhesive which made it a no go. They added a butler’s pantry (below, left) in the space between the kitchen and dining room. It is really handy for entertaining.
Luckily, they found the original front door being stored in the attic. They were able to take it to Carl Zipf Lock Shop to have new skeleton keys made for the lock. The claw foot tub was found in the basement and they refurbished it for use upstairs. The furniture in the main living room (below) has been in the family for years and it finally has a proper and fitting home again.
Much of the art found throughout their home are pieces found by local artists or in local galleries. Rick Borg is one of Lisa’s favorite artists. “The zebra painting was one of the first painting I ever bought. It was hanging on the fence outside of the Sharon Weiss Gallery.” For framing, Lisa loves to go to Hackman Frames.
Lisa and Jeff love living in the Short North. “It’s a good place to live,” said Lisa. “I feel so proud of what Columbus has become. I love the growth, the energy – the dog park, North Bank Park, Scioto Audubon, Columbus Commons – all built since we moved.” They are planning to stay here a long time.
Architects: Urban Order
Builders: Aurora Industries
Interior Design: Creations CRI Interiors
Landscaping: Environmental Management Inc
Framing: Hackman Frames
Tiles in bathroom and kitchen floor: Hamilton Parker
Bath/Sink/Toilets/Kitchen Fixtures: Carr Supply
At Home is a monthly column on Columbus Underground focused on urban home remodeling and style as well as older home renovations and unique homes in Columbus. If you would like to have your home featured in the At Home series, please send me an email at Anne@columbusunderground.com.
[At Home is sponsored by The Hamilton Parker Company. Located in Columbus, Delaware and Cincinnati. The Columbus Showroom, open to the public and located at I-670 and Leonard Avenue, features brick & stone, ceramic tiles, garage doors and fireplaces for your home and landscaping projects. Currently, there is a fall sale on Hardscape Retail and other promotions are Ragno Boardwalk and Calabria 13x13 Porcelain Tiles 20% off. Click here for current promotions or stop by their showroom. M-F 8-5pm, Sat 8-noon, Extended hours Tue & Thur 5-7pm]